While most porch steps are made of wood, a set of stone stairs leading to your front door can set your home apart before you even get inside. Building stone steps to your porch and front door is a relatively inexpensive project that can be done at home in a short amount of time. To begin building your steps, follow these simple instructions.
Step 1 - Identify and Gather Your Stones
Decide on stones to use for your steps. Most home improvement stores carry a variety of stone types, the most common of which are western, gray and brown flagstones, white limestone, and Arkansas creek rock. After purchasing your stones, gather them together at the top point of the stairs.
Step 2 - Determine the Stair Height and Depth
A consistent stair depth and height are critical to beautiful, walkable stairs. Uneven stairs or steps are difficult to walk up or down, and may even lead to tripping and injuries. Generally, the depth of each stair should be between 1 and 1.5 feet, while the height of each stair (also called the riser) should be about 0.5 feet.
If you would prefer a gentle slope up to your porch or front door, increase the stair depth without altering the stair height. Alternately, if you prefer a steeper incline, increase the stair height slightly while decreasing the stair depth.
Step 3 - Lay Your Foundation Step
Beginning at the bottom of your steps, remove any grass or debris from the step area and level the soil beneath the steps. Lay a 2-inch deep layer of gravel on the level of the soil. By sloping the gravel slightly downward away from the porch, you will promote water runoff and drainage. Lay your first step.
Step 4 - Lay Your Next Steps
Install the next stones at the distance of a natural step from the first stone. Once again, clear the soil and level it before laying gravel and your stone step. Secure the stacked stones in place with mortar mix. Continue this process until you have created all of your steps.
Step 5 - Set Railings or Boundaries
You may want to install railings or side guards on your steps, particularly if they are steep. Stack and mortar smaller stones along the sides of the steps to widen the steps slightly. You may install a metal railing for further support.
For the best stone porch steps, take care in packing the gravel foundation for each step. The gravel should be tightly packed and securely in place before the step is installed. Use flat but slightly rough stones for the best grip during rain or snowy conditions. Smoother steps may be slippery.
Stone steps can provide a wonderful first impression to a visitor. Take care when installing the steps to achieve a natural look while simultaneously maximizing stair size and consistency. Following these steps will help you to create stone steps that are beautiful as well as functional.