Properly Repairing a Broken Front Step without Hiring a Professional
It is no secret that the front of a home is its face to the world and keeping up the appearance of this portion of your property is important for style and curb appeal. Stone steps are often an eye catcher on many homes, so when these steps become damaged or broken it can really be an eyesore to the family as well as passersby. Hiring a professional contractor to do masonry work on these steps can be very expensive but the good news is it is completely possible for you to fix a front stone step on your own.
Materials and Tools for Fixing a Front Step:
– Masonry sand
– Bluestone and bluestone threads
– Type S mortar cement
– 6 foot level
– Hammer and sledgehammer
– Rubber mallet
– Diamond blade grinder
– Measuring tape
– Safety glasses
Directions for Fixing a Front Step:
1. Remove and Demo the Broken Step: Using the hammer, sledge hammer and chisel pop up and remove the existing stone and concrete from the step. If you are planning on creating a new step that is the same approximate dimensions, only remove enough material to create the new platform the same size as the old one.
2. Mix Mortar: Once the area has been demolished and leveled, begin the replacement process by mixing and laying the mortar. DO NOT use a “just add water” mortar, sand and cement – since these outdoor steps are exposed to the elements, they will wear away much more quickly when quick mortar is used. Instead, mix masonry sand with type S cement in order to create a compound that will withstand the elements. Dry mix the ingredients together in a ratio of 2 to 1 and then add water until the mortar reaches the right consistency (like peanut butter).
3. Mark Out and Lay Cobblestones: Measure and mark out an area to place cobblestones as a border for the step, making sure it is square to the house. Dig a new footing for the stones if one is not already present, slightly below grade and wide enough to create a base for the cobblestones. Lay some mortar in the footings along with a piece of rebar or stone to add strength. Lay the cobblestone in the footing and allow to set. Continue this process until all the cobblestone has been laid for the step.
4. Reinforce the Cobblestone: Once all the cobblestone has been laid, build up a layer of mortar and junk stone into the crevices between each stone. Make sure the mortar and stone are pressed tightly to help prevent damage from freezing. Once the areas have been filled, allow them to set overnight.
5. Install Bluestone Top: If you wish to have a cobblestone step, you can skip this portion of the directions. Once the cobblestones have set, measure and cut the bluestone to the appropriate sizes to frame out and fill a top for the step. Once you have the pieces and have dry placed them to make sure they fit, add a layer of mortar to the top of the cobblestone and place the bluestone starting with the framing edges. Once all the stone has been placed, allow it to set for up to 5 hours. Once the bluestone is set, joint the platform by balling up the mortar and laying ½-inch jointers between each stone and pressing them firmly into the joints. After jointing, brush over the mortar with a paintbrush and allow curing for 12 or more hours.
If you need tools to finish this DIY task, stop by Hipp Modern Builder’s Supply, a Mountain View, AR, hardware store. If you cannot get to our store, visit us online and get everything you need delivered right to your front door! For more information about Hipp’s and all of our outlets, click here.