If you have bare concrete steps leading up to your front stoop, you may be looking for a way to change the appearance. But, how do you do so without the effort or expense of replacing them altogether? One of the best ways to transform them is with strong and beautiful cobblestone. It’s not difficult to update your home and garden with the following five steps.
Prepare the Doorway
Because you’re adding a new layer to your steps, they’re going to be a bit higher. This means you’ll need to remove the trim board beneath your door to shorten it. Or, you can replace it with a new one entirely. You’ll also need to do the same with any shingles, siding, or trim that reaches all the way down to the current top of the steps. So, trim off the additional height of the veneers, as well as a small margin for mortar.
Create a Rough Surface for the Mortar
Mortar doesn’t adhere well to a smooth or even slightly rough surface. For it to stick, you either need to deeply scarify the current surface or adhere a metal lath, which looks like a narrowly knit grating with a rough surface, to the sides and tops of the steps. Then spread a thick layer of mortar across the material, filling in all the small, rough pockets. Next, use the notched side of the trowel to carve horizontal grooves.
Fit the Cobblestones into Place
Once the mortar has dried, arrange them without mortar or adhesive first to make sure you like the pattern and fit. Cobblestones make a more cohesive pattern without cutting and scoring, so they’re easier for a DIY renovation. As you’re laying out the stones, make sure you keep them a finger’s width apart for the joints. Also, use larger pieces along the edges for greater durability.
Apply the Next Layer of Mortar
Apply a thin layer of adhesive in between the layers of mortar for a stronger hold or move on to mortar directly. Apply a half-inch or slightly thicker layer directly onto the back of the stones. Use the trowel’s notched edge to create horizontal grooves, pressing the stone firmly into place.
Make sure to remove any mortar from the exterior-facing surface of the stones so it doesn’t stain or dry. Keep applying the stones from the bottom up. Make sure you always allow for the grout joints. Remember, moving and correcting the stones weakens the grip each time you shift them.
Apply the Grout
Carefully remove large chunks of grout from between the stones before it dries. Give one final check it once the mortar has dried. Then fill a grout bag with the mortar and apply it to all the joints. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
Again, be sure you wipe away any unwanted material before it stains or dries. Once the grout has partially dried, depress and form the lines with a striking tool. Doing so will make them look even and professional instead of lumpy.
A Cobblestone Conclusion
Adding a cobblestone finish is a great way to protect the underlying concrete from impact and to increase your home’s curb appeal. Cobblestone is easy to work with since you don’t have to cut or score it, too. In addition, cobblestone is less expensive than other materials, and durable, too. Why settle for boring cement when you can have some elegant cobblestone?