DIY Paver Steps

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Paver steps add an elegant appearance to a sturdy structure. The hardest part of erecting paver steps is creating a level and stable subsurface for the pavers. Cement blocks and proper preparation provide the stable surface. Installing the pavers follows the same process as installing pavers over existing concrete once the concrete blocks are in place. Taking time to properly lay out and plan the steps ensures that the final structure will remain stable and sturdy for years.

Things You'll Need

  • Concrete blocks
  • Shovel
  • Crushed gravel
  • Tamper
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Mortar
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Trowel
  • Pavers
  • Masonry wet saw

Planning and Preparation

  • Dig a 3-inch hole for the area of the stairs. Compact the ground with a hand tamper which is a long pole with a wide, metal base and handles on the side that you slam into the ground.

  • Build a concrete tower against the wall of the structure. Measure the distance from the top of the tower to the base of the structure or entryway. The distance should be equal to or slightly greater than the height of the pavers plus 1 inch for a gravel base and 1/4 inch for mortar. Adjust the depth of the hole as needed to obtain the proper height of the tower.

  • Pour a 1-inch layer of crushed gravel along the base of the hole. Compact the gravel. Check the level of the layer for side to side and front to back. Adjust as needed to obtain a flat, smooth and level surface. Rebuild the concrete tower. The distance from the top of the tower to the base of the structure should be the height of the pavers plus 1/4 inch minimum. Adjust the depth of the crushed gravel base as needed.

  • Lay out the basic stair structure with concrete blocks. Build the bottom row first and erect additional rows upwards as needed to make each step. Press each block firmly against adjoining blocks.

  • Place pavers vertically against the face of each step with an overhang on each side equal to the height of a paver. Mark the pavers and cut them so that the cut edge of the paver is flush with the top of each step. Leave the pavers in place against the face of each step.

  • Lay out pavers on top of the structure to make the steps. Leave an overhang on each side equal to the height of the pavers plus 1 inch. The steps should overhang the vertical pavers by 1 inch. Cut the pavers as needed to fit the structure properly.

  • Remove all the pavers keeping them organized by their position on the stairs.

Laying the Pavers

  • Mix mortar and water in a bucket to a consistency of peanut butter.

  • Spread mortar onto the backs of full pavers to a depth of 1/4 inch. Press the pavers onto the sides of the concrete blocks starting along the base and working up the sides. Cut pavers as necessary to fit the structure. The edges of the pavers should be flush with the face and tops of each concrete step. Tap the pavers with a rubber mallet to ensure each paver is flush with adjacent pavers.

  • Spread mortar onto the backs of the pavers cut for the faces of each step. Press the pavers into place so that each paver is flush with the adjacent pavers.

  • Spread mortar onto the backs of the pavers for the tops of each step. Place pavers with the cut pavers pressed against the vertical back of each step. Leave a 1-inch overhang on each side and front of each step. Work from the top step to the bottom.

  • Allow the mortar to dry for 24 to 48 hours before allowing foot traffic.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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