Concrete steps make for a good feature in structure primarily because of its durability. It’s durable, and can resist wear and tear, like water exposure, better than most other materials. It can look cold and drab, though, especially if you’re looking for a more visually-pleasing style.
Fortunately, concrete steps are versatile enough too, such that you can easily upgrade its looks. One easy way to do this is by replacing concrete steps with bricks. Hiring professional help for this task is always a good recommendation, but in case you’re interested to find out how it works, here are ways to finish your steps with mortared brick.
This is a fundamental step in improving your concrete steps. These measurements will not only give you an idea how much bricks you’ll need, but also what type. If you prefer to use thin bricks, you’ll need to make sure that it will fit the steps from front to back, between treads, and side to side.
It’s only when you’ve calculated the exact area for the work you’ll be doing that you can place your orders for enough bricks to cover the steps.
Using a mortar trowel, apply a thin, even coat on the concrete step, starting from the top, back corner. Make sure to follow the application instructions provided by the manufacturer. It’s best that you apply the mortar one, small section at a time so it doesn’t dry out before you are able to lay the brick.
When setting the brick paver, start from the back of the top step, and then flush it with the outer edge. Don’t forget to bring out the tile spacer, about a quarter of an inch in size, so you can better identify where to put the next paver. Even out the space between pavers by squaring it up and working it into the mortar by making side to side motions. Check if they are all squared up.
Continuing from the step above, repeat the setting process all the way through to the other end of the steps. Applying whole pavers make the work go faster, but expect that smaller pieces may make for a much better fit closer to the edge or corner. Depending on your style preference, too, you can run the pavers either parallel or perpendicular to the concrete steps.
Once you reach the end of the step, you’ll find out how much of the paver you’ll have to cut in order to fit the remaining space. For this, you’ll need a circular saw. Attach an abrasive blade and score the paver to a quarter of an inch in depth. To complete the break, chisel away with a mason and hammer. Don’t throw that other piece from the sawed off paver. Instead, use that as the starting piece for the next step.
From the first tread, apply mortar at a depth of about an inch and a half. Similar to the previous steps above, you’d want to apply the brick pavers in the same way for consistency. Repeat until the entire face of the steps are covered.
Constantly keep the pavers moisturized using water and a brick sponge to prevent it from drying out while you do the rest of the work. This also helps take out any excess mortar, lessening the clean-up you’ll do later on.
To prepare the grout, mix a small amount first before spreading it on the steps surface. Do the mixing in small batches and apply to grout immediately to prevent drying. Use a grout trowel with foam to reach between paver lines. Make sure to fill the space between bricks completely.
Keeping the bricks clean and the grout moisturized as much as possible requires constant washing. Once you’re ready to completely dry out the grout, though, you can use a brick cleaner solution and then leave it to dry.
Once you’ve laid all the thin bricks throughout the concrete steps, place a marker around it to indicate that it’s still a work in progress. You’d want to keep this section off limits in the meantime, and wait at least five to seven days before it gets used. That’s because the mortar will usually take that much time before it is completely dried out.
Premature use of the newly installed bicks over concrete steps can affect its structural integrity in the long run, which could prove unnecessarily costly to you.