Building Patio Steps
You can add a more finished and attractive look to your patio by building brick steps. By building yourself you can not only build these patio steps to have the utility and look you would like. Construction is simple and can be completed in 6 easy steps.
Step 1 - Laying A Solid Foundation
A solid foundation for your bricks is essential. If you already have a foundation of concrete steps, you can lay your bricks on this solid base without concern for your new steps shifting, sinking, or separating. If you find that you need to build your concrete steps before laying your bricks, and if you have the experience, tools, and material to build them, then you should plan to build them and let the concrete cure and harden for at least 48 hours before adding your bricks.
Step 2 - Preparing Your Bricks
Its best to soak the bricks in water before laying them in the mortar. This is because the pourous nature of bricks causes them to abosrb the mortar, rather than adhere to it.
Step 3 - Laying A Base of Mortar
Spread a layer of mortar on the concrete base where you plan to lay your bricks. A thin layer of ½" to ¾" will give you enough mortar to adhere your bricks to the concrete base while giving you a solid foundation.
Step 4 - Laying Your Bricks
Lay one brick at a time on the wet mortar base, smoothing and leveling the mortar with a screed as you lay each brick. Leave a space of ½" between bricks into which you will add mortar when your bricks are all laid.
Step 5 - Packing Your Brick Joints
Pack mortar into the joints between the bricks, using the edge of your trowel to push the mortar into the cracks and force out any air pockets that may be left in the mortar. Take time to check each brick to be sure it is level and online with the others. By using a damp towel to keep the brick surfaces clean you can avoid later work of cleaning off mortar that has dried on the bricks. Be sure to clean off any mortar left on concrete surfaces not covered with brick. Clean any partially dried mortar off hardened concrete surfaces with a wire brush.
Step 6 - Protecting Your Finished Product
Let the mortar you have used on your bricks dry for 48 hours before allowing anyone to use the stairs. If possible place a barrier around the area, a wood frame or at least a string that will let people know they are not to use the steps.
Bricks that are allowed to lay without being disturbed while drying will remain in place for years, and if you have cleaned mortar off the bricks you'll find that they will have added the beauty and color to your patio that you expected.