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Advice on updating outdoor steps

Michael11
Budding Contributor

Advice on updating outdoor steps

Hello,

I was just hoping to get some advice on updating the outdoor steps at the back of my house.

 

These are a bit all over the place, have narrow treads (that are not uniform) and can be a bit slippery and dangerous when it rains (please see photo 1). 

 

I'm installing a deck that will be just above the level of the bottom step (so the bottom step will be covered by the deck), but before installing the deck, I would ideally like to:

  • Extend the tread on the top step (landing) a little 
  • Extend the tread on the middle step possibly up to where the bottom step currently finishes
  • Install some stone pavers/tiles (see photo 2 and 3) where the concrete/cement layer (?) on the top and middle step is currently

As I'm planning to do this myself (with my pretty basic skills), I'm wondering if anyone has some advice about the easiest and best way of going of about this?

 

For instance, would either of these options work well:

1. Remove concrete layer, mortar in additional bricks to extend treads, and then (using mortar) pave/tile directly on brick

2. Keep concrete layer (which isn't particularly level), pour additional new concrete to extend treads, and then (using mortar) pave/tile on concrete.

 

Or would it be better to demolish the existing steps and start again?

   

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Michael

 

Photo 1 - Existing steps

Photo 1 - Existing stepsPhoto 1 - Existing steps

 

Photo 2 - Example steps with pavers/tiling 

Photo 2 - Example paving/tile on stepsPhoto 2 - Example paving/tile on steps

 

Photo 3 - Example steps with paver treadPhoto 3 - Example steps with paving treadPhoto 3 - Example steps with paving tread

 

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Advice on updating outdoor steps

Hello @Michael11

 

Thank you for sharing your question about your outdoor steps. Since the initial repair of your steps was not ideal, I suggest removing the old concrete and putting on a new layer with the correct height and level. I also suggest factoring in the height of the paver and deck in your repair calculations. 

 

Your current brick steps still look to be in good condition, however, if you feel that a new set of steps would be better for your decking build, I recommend factoring in the time and cost element of adding this extra job to your deck. 

 

Please keep us updated with your progress, we look forward to seeing the start of your project.

 

Eric

 

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Michael11
Budding Contributor

Re: Advice on updating outdoor steps

Hi Eric,

Thanks so much for your really useful suggestion and advice.

 

Following on from this, just had a couple of additional follow-up questions. Would you or anyone else have any advice/resources on:

1. Which type of pre-mix concrete to purchase from bunnings (given I will pave/tile over the top)? Quick set? Self-levelling? 

2. How to lay the new concrete on the brick steps (once I've removed the old concrete)? Would the process be something like clean bricks, lay formwork, mix concrete (with a bonding additive to help bond to bricks), and then pour concrete (for both steps at the same time or do top step first, wait to dry and then pour middle step etc)?  

 

Any further suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks again,

Michael

MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Advice on updating outdoor steps

Hi @Michael11,

 

To add to @EricL's response, I believe the priority here is to address the inadequate depth of the steps and any safety issues. I suggest going with your original idea of removing the concrete layer, mortaring in additional bricks and creating an adequately sized landing and first step. Two bricks wide would be sufficient. You can add formwork around the now suitably sized landing and step. You'll then be able to pour the concrete to create the pad and step/step riser.

 

Quick-set Concrete would be suitable for your project, and I'd advise adding reinforcement mesh into the pad and step riser to prevent any chance of it cracking. This reo-mesh needs to be raised, so it sits midway in the concrete. The Quick-set will "self-level" to a certain extent, and you'll need to vibrate the formwork to remove voids. You can hit the formwork with a hammer to settle the concrete.

 

It would be best if you could pour everything in the one go to achieve a homogenous structure. It will take some forethought on your formwork, but it is achievable. I've created a rendering to assist you with this process. Please note that the step is now three bricks high. Depending on the height of your deck, this should be a reasonable step down onto it.

 

The process you've laid out for pouring the concrete is spot on.

 

Please give us a shout if you have further questions.

 

Mitchell

 

B1.pngB2.png

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Michael11
Budding Contributor

Re: Advice on updating outdoor steps

Wow, thank so much for the super helpful advice and rendering Mitchell - really appreciate this!

 

Thanks again,

Michael

 

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