Brick steps for porch?

okpokesfanJuly 23, 2013

Hi everyone. WE are getting ready to pour our porches. I'm wanting brick steps. The bricker told DH that brick wasn't the best choice because they can break off. I really don't want concrete steps (porches will be concrete with brick veneer) so thought I would get your input.

Are they really not a good choice? It seems like there are a lot of them.

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mrspete

My current house was built in the 60s. One brick on my steps did break off -- it was an edge brick -- but it wasn't hard to put it back on with a bit of concrete. Yes, for a while the concrete "looked new", but now it's weathered and matches the others. It didn't break into pieces; the whole brick came loose.

Again, my house was built in the 60s. You'd expect some wear and tear by now. This is not a reason to avoid brick steps.

It occurs to me that it'd be wise to put aside a few bricks -- just like you'd put aside a few floor tiles -- in case you need to do repairs in the future.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 7:59AM
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downsy

We lived in our old house for 23 years and had brick steps on our porch. We had one row where about 4 or 5 of the bricks got loose sometime in recent years. (in the center - where there was alot of traffic). We had a guy come out and chisel away the old mortar and set the bricks down again and they were fine.

It didn't stop me from using brick on the steps of the porch on our new house!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:36AM
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ontariomom

okpokesfan,

We were told the same thing -- to avoid brick as the risers for our steps. We had requested brick risers and bluestone threads but were discouraged by the warnings the brick would rot. However, we live in Canada where snow is abound. What is your climate? I see many people posting on here with beautiful bricks in their steps or just risers, so perhaps it depends on snow?

Why not get a few more opinions from builders or masons in your area. Do you see many homes with bricks in steps around you? We observed that bricks on steps around here is quite rare. I wonder if newer brick is less durable than older brick too (according to our mason they don't build brick like they used to).

Good luck with your decision

BTW, we are doing stone steps. Would that be something you would consider?

Carol

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:41AM
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rwiegand

Bricks can be problematic as stated above, but fine if you're OK with the maintenance. I much prefer granite. The material cost is a bit higher but labor is much less since you're only setting a couple of pieces. Can be a DIY item if you have enough strong friends to move 200+ pound steps. I'd expect them to last 1000 years easy.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:52AM
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okpokesfan

We live in NW OK. Summers are hot (100+ degrees) and normally dry. Fall and spring are usually nice but can vary greatly. WInters can vary from mild with little moisture to very cold with lots of snowfall.

Most houses here are built on grade so they don't have steps. We built ours up because we think it looks so much better. There are a few houses around like that and they all used brick or a combo of brick and stone.

We are going with all brick so I think all brick steps would look best. Thanks for the responses!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:34AM
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renovator8

If appearance and longevity is your goal, slabs of stone are the best for steps.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 4:22PM
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worthy

It seems to me that brick steps are more common in the Deep South where there are no problems with freeze thaw cycles. I only use concrete, sometimes clad with stone or tile.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:23PM
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okpokesfan

Ren8: Longevity is a goal but price is an issue too. As far as looks, I actually prefer the look of the brick steps.

Worthy: Do you ever do brick accents on the porches and/or steps?

Thank you for all the helpful responses!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:13PM
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lexmomof3

I'm in the south and haven't heard about not using brick for steps. It's very common here. I would think, like others said, it depends on your climate and whether or not you're willing to deal with maintenance issues should they arise. I wouldn't trade my brick steps for any other kind. I think they really add a lot to the overall look of our house.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:09PM
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lexmomof3

here's a closer pic of the steps. Can you tell I'm proud of the steps? :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:11PM
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okpokesfan

You should be---they are gorgeous!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:18PM
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renovator8

I would think that stone would be cheaper since it can form the structure as well as the finish. As for longevity and maintenance, it is a matter of climate.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:36AM
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nini804

So beautiful, Lexmom! Love how it sweeps out, so welcoming!

I am in the South, also...and almost everyone uses brick for the steps. A few neighbors have stone, but that is because their houses and porch floors are stone. If your porch floor is brick, I think anything else would look odd.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:42AM
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avossohouse

We are also planning for brick stairs, but we are also in the South.

Lexmomof3 your stairs are gorgeous! Would you mind sharing your brick color?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:25PM
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lexmomof3

Bunk5 - thanks! we used Valencia by Carolina Ceramics with ivory buff mortar.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 7:51AM
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DreamingoftheUP

Exposed horizontal surfaces with brick are usually not a good idea in areas with snow and freeze/thaw cycles. While there are good quality bricks which don't absorb much moisture, it's the numerous joints that cause a bigger maintenance issue. That's the reason (besides decorative) that the tops of brick walls, etc. have capstones.

If you want to do it and live in a northern climate, make sure you select a very good quality brick and keep a good number as spares in your garage for future upkeep.

Another option is to combine the materials. For example, those beautiful southern brick stairs pictured above would be northern-fied in the Chicago area by capping the sweep coming down, the top of the posts and the stair treads with Indiana limestone, Lannon stone or similar material. Then there's granite, etc., too.

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 9:43

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:33AM
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DreamingoftheUP

Finally got a chance to find a picture of what I'm describing, although in this case the risers are stone as well. On second thought, looks like concrete steps and they capped the treads with limestone.

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 22:04

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:56PM
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DreamingoftheUP

Here's one with brick risers.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:57PM
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