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How to Fix Up an Entrance (page 2 of 4)

Concrete stairs and walkways can chip and wear away over time. Learn how to repair concrete steps then reface them with new stone. Then see how to lay a new paver walkway.

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Step 4: Pick Out and Cut Stones

A trip to the quarry may be necessary to pick out the perfect stones for your project. First, calculate how much stone you'll need. Remember that you can always bring your measurements to the quarry, and they'll tell you how much you'll need. If you have a truck, you can load the stones into your own truck at the quarry. Otherwise, you'll need to have them delivered to your home.

You can use a few different types of stone for their new step system. In this project, real stone veneer covers the brick risers. Stone veneer is a thin stone used to cover surfaces. Oakmont Brownstone is used for the treads. Finally, some additional pieces of brownstone are used for the platform at the top of the steps. These brownstone multiples come in different sizes, so you can create your own pattern to cover the platform.

If you purchase a tread that is too long for the steps, it will need to be cut. To cut a tread, you first mark off where you want to cut it. Allow for a one-inch overhang on either side when cutting his tread. Then use a 4-1/2 inch masonry grinder to score a break line that's about 1-inch deep.

Use a stone hammer to pop the end off. Be certain to wear eye protection any time you are chipping or cutting stone. Use a chisel and stone hammer to create a rock faced edge where you made your cut, so that the edge of the stone will look natural.

Step 5: Set the First Tread

Before setting any stone, it's important that you first plan out your step design. You'll be setting down treads, risers and pieces of brownstone multiples. It will be important that everything be properly measured and symmetrical, otherwise you'll have a lot more work on your hands correcting things.

You'll want to start with the treads first, since they need to be set before adding any risers. For this project, first set down the tread for the lower step. To do this, lay down a thick bed of mortar to rest the tread on, and then put down the stone tread. Make sure it is centered and level over the step system. You'll also want to make sure that the stone is pitched forward just slightly (about a quarter bubble on your level,) so that any water will flow down the stairs.

Step 6: Put in Copper Flashing

Before you place any stones against the front of your house, you'll want to put in some copper flashing. Copper flashing is a thin strip of copper that will protect any wood on the front of your house from moisture. Simply nail down the copper flashing to the front of your house, and then you're ready to set the stone treads and brownstone multiples.

For the side treads, use the same method as with your front tread: lay down some mortar and place the two side pieces along the edges of your platform. These treads should now run along the edges of your platform, and will frame the brownstone multiples that you'll eventually install.