Repair stone steps

Marcus GFebruary 14, 2011

We just bought a house with a yard in need of lots of work and maintenace. My first project is to repair or replace a stairway of stone steps that lead up to the upper garden.

The steps are very jagged and uneven and slippery when wet. They are also hard to maintain because if left unattended a few weeks, weeds and other plants start sprouting from in between cracks and crevices and before you know it, you can't even see the steps.

I would like help and ideas for the most cost effective and easiest ways to do this project. Although we will be redoing the landscape in a few years when we have the budget, I really don't know when this will be. So, although it is temporary, it has to last a while.

I am including a link to a photo of our steps.



Here is a link that might be useful:

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I suggest you redo it,avoid directing...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Wow! Ideashare, that would be pricey!!! I've tried to figure out what I would do.1st thing Is to get some galvanized pipe 1 in diameter & make a railing on the left side of steps so at least you have something to steady yourself. Broken bones are expensive & time consuming these days. I just tried knocking off some concrete my dad had put on some rocks that bordered the fence in front of house. Mom just changed it & so they had to take them out. Is that concrete ever on those rocks good. So I would try to clean the rocks up to get moss off & blow dirt out from between the rocks. I have kids walking home from school that kick at my 1 row of brick at edge of sidewalk(holds in dirt & water for bushes. I redid 1 brick that was loose & wondered if it would last a week, It's been awhile now & looks like day I did it. Dad says you have to have a very good bond(reason why you need to try & get rocks as free of moss,dirt & weeds as possible) Mix together using equal amounts Morter cement & Portland cement so 1 bucket of each or what ever container you are using, gently measure it as don't want to breathe it in. Put the 2 cements in large wheel- barrel or cement mixing trough & mix the 2 dry ingredients together very well, that is the key, it has to be perfectly blended. Can use a clean hoe, easiest I think,when it is mixed, do it a little more just for good measure & then add 2 parts sand(from place that sells it for cement work)& mix it well again. it's like pie crust, if you don't mix it well it will crumble. When the sand & 2 cements are very well blended then you add water & move hoe through it until it is right ,too much water & you have problems so don't run a hose in the container. Use your bucket & keep adding & you will see it get thick & so you can put it on a trowel or whatever you plan to use. Putty knife or old butter knife, I have no idea how big your spaces are that need filling. If they will hold more than a cup of cement than you can use a trowel & 1 of those pointed kind of trowels for getting cement pushed down into cracks then wipe excess away with damp rag(wear waterproof gloves as very caustic on your hands) around rocks. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MUCH WATER AS IT DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH IS IN THE SAND & THAT CAN VARY FROM DAY TO DAY. GOOD LUCK, BUT GET RAILING IN 1ST, need about 3-4 1 in metal pipes with screw ends (galvanized) & then pieces to connect between them & T elbows & regular elbows 45 degree angle I think for the 2 ends. I haven't used the pipe for anything except to make clothes hanger for in garage. You can paint it later. Good Luck It's 1 part morter cement, 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts sand & the water little at a time. Hope it is clear.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 12:59AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Get rid of all the ivy in the yard and the overgrowth problem may be largely solved...


    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 3:17PM
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bernd ny zone5

After the ivy is gone, spray all weeds coming out of the cracks with Roundup, but very carefully.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 8:11PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I agree that with a drop of several feet on the left side, a railing is needed. You'll either have to drill holes for the uprights or use railing flanges to attach the uprights to the existing block wall.

I doubt 45 degrees would be the correct angle (your stairs aren't that steep), but there are special fittings for stair railings which might be at the angle you need, though I don't know how easy they are to find.

Another possibility besides galvanized pipe would be to check home improvement and building supply companies for prefab metal stair railings that might be used on a short porch stair. I have no idea what the cost would be; you could also try salvage yards, Craigslist, etc.

While galvanized pipe makes a good strong railing, you do have alternatives if your stairs are at an odd angle or you don't want to deal with connecting a lot of pipes. For example, you can install simple uprights, then add chain or thick rope for a railing. If the uprights are galvanized, you can top them with either T-fittings or loop caps and run the rope or chain through the holes (loop caps are used to hold the top pipes on chain-link fences; I'm assuming there's something similar for smaller-diameter pipe). You can also use wooden uprights drilled with horizontal holes to hold the rope or chain.

Check Google Images ("chain railing," "rope railing," etc.) for ideas.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 8:17PM
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Missing the obvious has some good ideas but I don't think I would want wood with all the mold, moss & all, would probably rot out quickly or get termites unless treated. Some wrought iron is made so it can be angled up for steps, you would need probably 4 panels, Measure height of each step & figure out the rise(how much higher is top of top step from bottom of bottom step) & lumberyard or wrought iron place could figure it out for you. Do you have little kids visiting or living there. Should be so no one can crawl under or fall against rope or chain & then go on through. Pipe work if it's just adults or older kids.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 1:16AM
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