How to Repair a Brownstone Stoop

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Thinking of a brownstone stoop immediately evokes images of classic buildings in large cities such as New York, Boston or Philadelphia. A brownstone stoop was a gathering place for parents to sit with other parents to socialize while their children played nearby. In an urban setting, a small porch with attached stairs is commonly known as a stoop. Brownstone stoops, made of sandstone, come in shades of red-brown or pink-brown. Unfortunately, over time and through exposure to adverse weather conditions, brownstone stoops develop cracks, mortar joints loosen and areas of disintegration appear, making repairs necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Broom
  • Concrete
  • Bucket or trough
  • Pigmented dye
  • Epoxy-based bonding agent
  • Paintbrush
  • Shop vacuum
  • Tuck pointer
  • Jointer
  • Work gloves
  • Eye protection

Disintegration and Cracks

  • Brush the cracks or damaged stoop with a stiff wire brush to remove all loose bits of brownstone. Sweep up the resulting dust and debris.

  • Mix concrete with water in a bucket or trough according to the manufacturer's directions. Add pigmented dye based on the color of brownstone you are repairing. Bring a piece of the damaged brownstone to a masonry supply house to match the color and determine the amount of dye necessary to match the color of the existing stoop.

  • Apply an epoxy-based bonding agent to the insides of the crack or disintegration-damaged area, using a paintbrush.

  • Dip a trowel into the concrete and spread a layer of tinted concrete over the area where you removed the crumbling brownstone. Build the tinted concrete up to the same height as the undamaged section of the stoop. Press the tinted concrete into the cracks with the trowel to match the height of the existing steps.

Loose Mortar Joints

  • Remove any loose pieces of the mortar joint by hand. Brush the joint with a stiff wire brush to remove bits of mortar from the inside of the mortar joint. Sweep the debris out of the mortar joint with a small broom, or suck out the debris with a shop vacuum.

  • Mix mortar with water in a bucket. Add the appropriate amount of pigmented dye to the mortar to tint the mortar to the correct matching color.

  • Pick up the mortar on a tuck pointer, and fill the mortar joint with the tinted mortar. Pack the mortar into the mortar joint until it sits flush with the stoop's surface.

  • Place a jointer on top of the fresh mortar and drag it along while pressing it firmly into the mortar to shape the mortar joint and remove the excess mortar. Jointers come in a variety of shapes, including rounded, V-shaped or patterned jointers. Repeat this procedure for each damaged mortar joint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make repairs as soon as damage is noticeable to prevent more costly, larger repairs.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when repairing brownstone stoops.
  • Do not use deicing salts on brownstone stoops; salts cause disintegration.
  • Keep brownstone stoops free of dirt and debris to prevent hastened disintegration.

References

  • "Masonry"; Time Life Editors; 1977
  • "The Book of Skills and Tools"; Family Handyman Magazine Editors; 1993
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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