My front steps are brick. After 20 years, the mortar has begun to
crumble and some bricks are loose. This is not only unsightly, but
What can a person with little masonry experience do, other than call a
profe$$ional to replace the whole thing? Is there some kind of thin
coating I can put over the horizontal serfaces?
Thanks for your help.
Get a bag of ready mix mortar, (read the bags so you get the right kind)
dig out the loose mortar with a stick what's got a big nail in it,
off any mortar than you can bash loose from the bricks without damaging
them, and paste the affected bricks back in. You probably don't want
to coat anything, unless the bricks themselves are starting to crumble, in
which case, I think you're hosed, anyway.
Yes, go pick up a spray bottle of "Bad bad brick-b-gon" and squirt away!
In no time, your front steps will be as good as new, for only pennies per step!
Also works on fallen gutters, missing shingles and driveway potholes.
What need to happen is that the loose mortar be chiseled out, and loose
bricks be romoved and cleaned up untill you've got sound masonry left.
(A pro will be able to tell if this means removing the whole set of steps
and starting over). Then get some good mason mix, a small trowel, a
repointing trowel, and a free weekend. Mix up small batches of mortar,
Wet the existing brickwork if it's too dry (you don't want the existing
masonry to suck the moisture out of the mortar) and replace the loose
bricks by liberally applying mortar where they go and to the faces of the
brick and tapping it into place. Then, using your trowel as a hawk, hold
a small amount of mortar and with the re-pointing trowel, cut off a thin
line and pack it into the cleaned grooves. Keep on doing this untill the
mortar starts to harden. Then go back and tool the joints. This isn't
really difficult, but it's tedious and as an amature it'll take a long
time. I'd hire a pro for this, as they've got the tools and technique
down and can make it go very fast and usually do a very neat job.
And sort of coverup that you do will fail quickly: I don't adivse that.
Once the base is faling, you won't have anything sound to supprt the new
Remove the dead poet to e-mail, tho CC'd posts are unwelcome.
Ask me about joining the NRA.
I did something like that this summer. I had never done any masonry, so the
beginning was slow. I had four bricks that went loose in one step. When I
pulled them out the two steps above and one below fell apart. Initially I
tried to clean the bricks and reuse them, but it is a waste of time. I found
very well matched bricks at a local dealer for $45. I bought tools and
premixed mortar for another $50 and after two weekends the steps were
rebuilt. When you look closely you can tell that it wasn't done by a mason,
but it is good enough. And a mason quoted me $1500 for the job.
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