How to Build Flagstone Entry Steps & Landing

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Many homeowners want to customize the outside of their house to suit their needs. Flagstone can be laid over an entry foundation to make custom entry steps and a landing for the front of the house. Stone work is taxing on the body but can be done with a few specialty tools and the proper materials. For laying flagstone for this purpose, stone that is about 1/2 inch thick works very well and is easier to cut than thicker stones.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 inch thick flagstones
  • Measuring tape
  • Stone or masonry saw
  • Cement
  • 2 buckets
  • Trowel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Point trowel
  • Measure and cut the foundation stone step risers and side stones to fit on the vertical face of the foundation with the stone saw. Lay these in dry place to make sure they fit correctly and leave uniform joints between each piece and along the edges of the walls and corners. Remember the location for each piece before moving them to a place where they are easily accessible. They can be coded with a marking on the bottom of each to help you remember where each goes.

  • Mix the cement according to package directions in a bucket with the metal mixer attached to the end of the drill. Wet the foundation well to help the cement stick. Using the trowel, apply a layer of cement to both the foundation and the riser. Place the risers back in the order they were previously laid out dry, pressing them firmly in place. Tap the stones firmly with the rubber mallet to secure them and bond the cement. Wait for the cement to set up, up to one hour depending on weather conditions and materials. Wipe the risers clean with a sponge and bucket of water, removing all the excess cement from the faces. Let the stone set up completely in the cement before proceeding.

  • Measure and cut the stone pieces for steps and landing with the stone saw. Lay out the cut stones without cement, making sure you have cut them correctly with uniform joints between stones. Move these stones to a nearby place, coding or marking each stone's location in the pattern.

  • Mix more cement and wet the foundation again to help the cement stick better. Using the trowel, apply a layer of cement to the landing stones, placing them back in the order they were previously laid out. Complete the landing and work your way down, one step at a time. Leave uniform joints between the stones, edges and corners.

  • Wait for these stones to set up, up to one hour depending on conditions and cement materials. Now wipe the entire area with the sponge and clean water, removing all excess cement from the face of the stones. Let these set up.

  • Tuck-point the joints and edges of the steps, risers and corners with more cement using a pointed trowel to push the cement into the joints. Use the end of the trowel and push the material into place and to bring it flush with the faces of the stones. Use a slightly thicker cement mixture on the vertical areas, pushing it into place with your hand if necessary. Wait for the cement to set up before again wiping off the excess cement and cleaning the flagstone steps and landing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you consult your stone supplier to find the best bonding agent for the job.
  • Many stone suppliers can custom cut the stones for you for a fee.
  • Wear eye protection and gloves when cutting the stones yourself.

References

  • Photo Credit steps 3 image by Joe Houghton from Fotolia.com
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