How to Build Paver Patio Steps

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Notebook and pencils to record measurements
Pavers to build steps, and capstones if preferred
Chalk dust
Cement adhesive
Pointed trowel
10-pound bag polymeric sand
Whisk broom

Building patio steps with pavers will result in elegant, functional access from your patio to your home, or down to a driveway or path. Follow these guidelines and take the time to plan and measure carefully to build safe and sturdy paver patio steps for your landscape project.

Step 1 - Measure for Size, Shape, and Materials Needed

The two key measurements you need to take are the height ("rise") of the patio steps and the distance they will extend outward from the doorway ("run"). Allow a maximum of six inches for each step's height, and at least four feet for the width of the bottom step. Ensure your steps all end up at the same height, and that each step is 15 inches deep from front to back. Once you know these dimensions, you can work out how many steps you will build. Then, divide the net size of each step by the size of your pavers, to see how many you need. A single piece of natural bluestone makes a solid one-inch deep capstone for each step, so include this thickness in the overall height of each patio step.

Step 2 - Lay out the Pavers to Simulate the Stairway Construction

Set one row of blocks down as your bottom step. Lay out the next row on top of it so the pavers overlap to the middle of the first row from front to back. Continue until you have reached the top step. This will help you determine accurate fit and number of steps you need. Trace the outline of the bottom step with chalk dust or a thick pencil.

Step 3 - Affix the Bottom Row of Pavers to the Patio Surface

Remove the paving blocks and run a thick bead of cement adhesive half an inch inside the trace line you drew. Run two more lines across the entire width of the bottom step, inside the pencil line. Then, set and press down the bottom row of pavers onto the cement adhesive. Fit square or rectangular pavers as snugly together as possible, and scrape any adhesive that oozes outside the pencil line with a trowel. If you add capstones, run two lines of cement adhesive across the surface and set the capstone on top, pressing it into place.

Step 4 - Build the Remaining Steps

Using this same procedure, build up each of the remaining patio steps. Be sure to control how you apply the cement adhesive so it is all covered by pavers and capstones.

Step 5 - Fill the Steps

Once the patio step paver bases and capstones have set for two to four hours, inspect them and fill any visible gaps with polymeric sand to eliminate weed growth. If you built patio steps without capstones, fill the edges of the pavers as well. To do this, spread the polymeric sand over each completed step and brush it into the gaps with a hand-held whisk broom.