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Types of Front Steps

By Janelle Bartels
Front steps can set the tone for the entire outer home decor.

The steps leading up to the front of the your house can come in a variety of materials and designs. The front steps of a home are important, and the material you choose can set the tone for the initial feel of the home. Time, budget and intended look can alter the material from which the steps are made.

Concrete

Traditionally, poured-concrete has been used as a basic slab form. However many decorative treatments can offer pleasing alternatives to a basic concrete step. Plain poured concrete may also give the clean and simple looked desired. Concrete can also come in precast slabs called pavers, affordable and available in many styles giving the look of stone, tile or brick to your front steps. On the more expensive end, pavers also come in interlocking versions that come together through joints and create a smooth and durable surface. One of the more affordable and durable materials for front steps, concrete can add practicality yet a decorative flair to the stairs.

Stone

Stone, ranging from granite to sandstone, is also a popular material for front steps. Available from most stone yards, flagstones can range from 1 to 4 inches thick, as well as a variety of colors and textures. Climate requirements may factor in the decision, as slates or quartzite may cause difficulty in wet or icy conditions. Set stones directly in sand or on top of soil for easy installation. You can also fill in the gaps with plants, sand, or gravel. Though very attractive, stone tends toward the more expensive side of front step options.

Brick

Cost effective and easy to assemble, brick can also be a great option for a natural look. While easy to assemble, some brick varieties can be less durable than concrete. Again climate can factor into the decision; warm climates do best with MX rated bricks, while SX bricks are more suitable for freezing temperatures. For a firm base on which to lay your bricks, install pavers on sand or gravel, or mortar bricks together on a concrete slab.

Outdoor Paving Tile

This option can lend an updated look to an existing base of concrete. Apply a layer of latex bonding agent to the concrete, add latex-reinforced mortar and finally add the tiles on top. Finally, press latex-reinforced sanded grout between the tiles and smooth to avoid any bumps. These tiles come in many styles and cost options. Cobblestones also offer decorative accents to your front steps on their own or on the sides in addition to another material.

 

About the Author

 

Janelle Bartels lives and works in New York City. After earning a B.A. from the University of Nebraska with a Regent's Scholarship, she moved to the Big Apple and received an M.A. in anthropology from Columbia University. Bartels has been writing academically for more than 10 years.