Do it Yourself: Brick Step Repair

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If the brick steps outside your door or patio have got a few bricks coming loose, you shouldn't put off repair, as the steps can become a safety hazard. The most difficult part of a brick-repair project is finding new brick to exactly match what's already there, so if the loose bricks aren't broken, try to reuse them. If they are broken, take the fragments to your local home-improvement store or masonry outlet and try to match them as well as you can. You might also find what you need with an online search.

Prepare the Area

  • Remove the loose brick by tapping at the mortar line with a chisel and hammer. Be careful not to damage the surrounding brick. If the loose bricks are broken, you'll have to get new ones. If they're whole, use the chisel to clean all the mortar off of them and set them aside for re-use. Chisel away all the exposed mortar from the area where the loose bricks were, so you have a clean surface. Follow up with a wire scrub brush and then rinse the area with cold water.

Set the Bricks

  • Mix your cement mortar in a bucket with water as instructed on the product packaging. With a triangular cement trowel, scoop out the cement and spread it on the surface, forming a roughly 3/4-inch "bed" all around, making it slightly thicker than the mortar lines on the rest of the step. Gently set the bricks into the cement, creating a firm seal but not squeezing out the cement. As you lay each brick, "butter" the side that will go against the next brick. Once they're all in, press additional cement into the lines between the bricks. Scrape it off the brick surface.

Seal the Steps

  • Let the cement set as instructed on the cement packaging. You should generally let it cure for at least two or three days before sealing. Once it's completely set, scrub it down with a soft-bristle brush, water and a little dishsoap. Let it dry thoroughly (at least a day in the sun). Apply a good brick sealant from your local home improvement store, following the directions on the can. Generally, you'll brush on the sealant, let it dry, then re-coat it.

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