How to Build Stone Stairs


Building your own stone stairs can be a challenging yet rewarding process. Stone stairs may be incorporated into a slope in the existing landscape, or to simply enhance an outdoor doorway. Regardless of their use, the functionality and beauty of stone stairs provide a welcoming atmosphere and are a great way to enhance the natural landscape of any property. With some patience and a few tools, you can add value and beauty to your home that will last for years.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring Tape
  • Shovel
  • Sledgehammer
  • Circular saw
  • Two-by-four lumber
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Concrete
  • Pencil
  • Chisel
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Stones
  • Mortar
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Damp cloth
  • Calculate the height and width of the stairs. This will allow you to calculate how many steps you will need. A basic formula for the ideal rise (height) and run (depth) of each step is: twice the rise plus the run should equal between 25 and 27 inches. Change the length of the stairway in order to fit this equation. A longer run means shorter rises, and a shorter run will require higher rises.

  • Use the shovel to excavate the site of the stairs. The sledgehammer may be used here to compact any loose dirt before starting to build.

  • Use the circular saw to cut the two-by-fours into a form for each step. Nail the two-by-fours into place.

  • Mix the concrete and pour into each form. Check the instructions on the concrete mix for the drying time and ensure it is thoroughly dried before removing the forms. This will prevent any sagging or moving after the stones are set.

  • Select the stones and cut to size if necessary. To cut the stones, use the pencil to draw a line and score that line with the hammer and chisel. While wearing safety goggles and gloves, use the sledgehammer to strike the end piece and it should come off cleanly.

  • Spread a one-inch layer of mortar over the concrete and begin to place the stones. Start with the bottom rise and run and continue upwards. Each time a stone is placed, use the rubber mallet to tap it lightly into place.

  • Seal the spaces between the stones with more mortar and wipe away excess with a damp cloth. Once the mortar is thoroughly dried (check instructions), the steps are ready to use.

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  • Photo Credit stone steps image by cvrgrl from
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