How to Install Flagstone Steps Over Concrete

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If you have concrete steps that access your patio that are looking a bit worse for wear, cover them with flagstone. It takes a considerable amount of strength to install flagstone steps, but the process itself is quite simple. Select flagstone pieces that are no more than 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch thick so you don’t make the step too steep. As you install flagstone over concrete steps, you may want to expand the project to include the patio or sidewalk leading to the steps as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Masonry saw with diamond blade
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Masonry sand
  • Portland cement
  • Trowel
  • Sponge
  • Tuck pointer or grout bag
  • Stone cleaner
  • Scrub brush
  • Rinse the concrete steps well to give the mortar a clean base.

  • Dry set pieces of flagstone on the steps to see what pieces work best. Allow a similar amount of space for the joint. Since the edges of flagstone are irregular, the joint size won’t be uniform. Each stair tread should over hang by about 1 to 1 1/2 inches.

  • Cut straight edges for the flagstone steps with a masonry saw equipped with a diamond blade. Cut smaller pieces and the front edge with a hammer and chisel. Score the flagstone by tapping it with the chisel on both sides. Once you get a line marked, tap the flagstone with the hammer to break it.

  • Mix 2 parts masonry sand with 1 part Portland cement. Add enough water to make a stiff mixture that adheres to a trowel when you turn it over.

  • Lift a stone up. Pour some water over the concrete base to moisten it. Put some cement on the concrete step and smooth it out with a trowel. Set the stone back into position. Continue setting the stones on the step following this procedure. Adjust the amount of concrete under stones of varying thicknesses to keep the surface of the steps the same height. Wipe each stone lightly with a clean, damp sponge as you go to remove any concrete on them.

  • Repeat this process until you have all the stones set on the steps. Allow the concrete to dry overnight.

  • Mix 2 parts masonry sand with 1 part Portland cement. Add enough water to make a stiffer mixture than you had in Step 4.

  • Use a tuck pointer or grout bag to insert the concrete mixture between the joints. Wipe off any excess concrete with a clean, damp sponge. Allow the concrete to dry overnight.

  • Mix 1 part stone cleaner with 10 parts water. Scrub the flagstones with the cleaner. Allow the cleaner to set on the stones for a few minutes to soak off any remaining concrete, then rinse well with clean water.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to cover the concrete risers with flagstone, cut 1/2-inch thick flagstone with a masonry saw. Set the risers in a bed of mortar before setting the horizontal stones.
  • If you decide to seal the flagstone steps, follow the directions on the stone sealer package.

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