How to Lay Out Brick Steps

brick stairs with cement cladding under construction
  • 24-48 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 400-4,800
What You'll Need
Framing square
Measuring tape

Building brick steps is not a simple project, but the following steps explain the process. There are various methods to build brick steps, but the basics of calculation and brick layout remain the same. You have to determine how much you want the brick steps to rise and how much you want them to stop and run.

Step 1 - Determine How You Want to Build Brick Steps

Normally people build brick steps with different box forms from 2x6 inch or other board sizes. They then stack these over each other prior to pouring concrete. If you choose this method, you should be aware of the top step and bottom step may end up with different measurements.

You will be able to have total control of the rise and run of the brick steps when you build them with 2x12 inch boards as the stair stringer. This method will also save you money because it uses less concrete and lumber. It may save you time by preventing stairs and rise problems.

Step 2 - Measure the Height and Width

To determine the layout of the brick steps, measure the height from the ground to the top of the porch, deck or whatever place you want to build the brick steps. Next measure the brick’s width.

Step 3 - Calculate the Step Run

Step run is the surface of the brick steps. The standard measurement of a brick is eight inches (length) by four inches (width) by two and a half inches (height). If you want to put three bricks (in width) with an additional two inch "flap" hanging out on every step, the per-step run will be 10 inches, calculated by four inches (width) times three bricks, then minus two inches for the flap.

Step 4 - Calculate the Step Rise

Step rise is the height of the steps. If you put three bricks on top of one another as a step rise, the calculation will be seven and a half inches. This is based on the standard brick measurement of two and a half inches in height, calculated by two and a half inches (height) times three bricks.

Step 5 - Calculate the Numbers of Rises and Stairs

Divide the height of the deck or patio (also known as the stair rise) by the step rise. For example, if the height of your deck or patio is 37 1/2 inches, 37.5 divided by seven and a half equals five rises. This means you will need five rises and four stairs. For the calculation of stairs, you always use one less stair than rises.

Step 6 - Build the Brick Steps

Cut out two stringers. Level and nail them into place. Fill the open area beneath the stringer with dirt. Compact and press the dirt in and pour the concrete. After the concrete hardens, remove the riser forms and install the bricks.