Front stoop bluestone or brick

kewrenAugust 6, 2014

I asked this same question about a year ago, but I can't find that post. I put this project off because I've been somewhat overwhelmed by it, deciding on size, materials, etc. Now, we have to get this done because the stoop is falling apart. We are redoing our patio too which is also falling apart. The plan is to make the stoop platform wider, to the edge of the brick accent trim on the facade. I can't make it deeper because it would violate our setback requirement. Then, we'll wrap a stair around the three sides, square not curved. We're pulling out all of the front shrubbery and redoing that too. The path will be redone in mortared brick. Bluestone is the top choice in my area and we plan to do the patio in that edged in brick. For the stoop, bluestone treads and brick risers are common, somewhat standard on a house in my price range, but I'm concerned the bluestone will clash with my brownish stone on the facade. I have brick, stucco, wood, and stone on my house so I'm thinking another element would be too much. I could just redo the stoop in mortared brick. WDYT? Any other design thoughts would be helpful.

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kewren

The gray sliver is a sample of the bluestone.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:10AM
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kewren

Full view of house. Those shrubs in front of stoop are coming out and grass will go to path.

This post was edited by kew2006 on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 7:14

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:12AM
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WMA89

I agree that adding bluestone might be one element too much. I think it will compete with the lovely stone on your home. I would keep it brick. Gorgeous home!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:13AM
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tibbrix

I'd also keep the brick. The brick you have on the walkway is different from the brick you have on the right side of the house as well. Introducing yet another color and style of masonry I think would not look very good.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:43AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Brick...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:58AM
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arcy_gw

I definitely would not go blue stone just because it is the "preferred" in your neighborhood. That is the LEAST reason I would choose it. I would employ the same rule here as when dressing myself. To look your best find what looks BEST on YOU--not the latest/greatest fad/fashion. Enhance what your home has--run from the blue.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:27AM
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kewren

I can't match the house brick exactly since it's so old. This is what I would use. It seems to be the closest match. Now I'm wondering if I should nix the three sided stair idea and instead put brick railing like tiers on the sides and just connect one simple path to the driveway. I could get rid of all of that brick path on the right side of the stoop and just put plantings there. I have to run, but I'll try to find a picture of what I'm talking about later. Problem is there'd be an 18" section of flower bed between the driveway and stoop and I think to extend the stoop to the driveway would be too big.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:28AM
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tibbrix

I love your idea for the three-sided steps. But I would leave some of that little dirt area there for some plantings so that you do have some plantings flanking both sides of the walkway.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:42AM
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outsideplaying_gw

Same here - brick. Bluestone is nice but adds too much additional color and texture, and I have also heard it can get slippery. I agree with Tibbrix in adding back some lower-growing juniper or something flanking both sides of the expanded walkway.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:48AM
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kewren

Thanks for all of your help. I'm glad everyone seems to agree. After finding a pic of the idea to have brick pier/flange things on the side I realized I don't think the town will let me do it. The steps aren't included in the setback calculation, just the landing. I think they'd count anything higher than the landing though. Since the pier thing would come out to the step, I think that would violate the code. I think I have a decision, thanks!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:09AM
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kswl2

I would definitely use brick, but would do a semicircular stoop and steps down step the entire width of that entrance, and would fill in the planting opening on the left as well. That entire front area should be an entrance / courtyard--- having one tiny bit open for planting looks like an afterthought, IMO. The semicircular shape will reference the arched top door and give the entrance more substance.

Our front steps were literally falling off our house a few years ago and we had to redo the whole shebang. We added a portico and widened the porch to make it more welcoming, and it was one of the best remodeling projects we've done. Good luck with yours, your house is wonderful!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:29PM
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emmarene

Brick and don't wrap the stairs. It is too much.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:03PM
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aktillery9

Brick and that is a gorgeous home!!!!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:50PM
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voila

What is the stone on your house? It almost looks like chiseled granite. Have you visited landscaping stone yards in your area? You would find much more than brick and bluestone. The new brick is preferable to the bluestone, but is not going to match the old brick, and may look too new and garish. Now I know why you put it off for a while. You have such a magnificent home! I would try my best to do it justice. The semicircular steps sound very interesting. If you can find rough granite for the landing and step, can you reuse some of the brick for risers? Or if you can buy chiseled granite steps thick enough you do not need to use brick for the risers. Steps to match or coordinate with the stone would look amazing.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:47PM
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kewren

Thanks for the compliments! Emmarine, just what I'm worried about, it all being too much. I do have a feeling that I should get rid of the brick path to the right of the stoop. I need it though if I do three sided stairs. I thought about curving stairs, but I have a couple of concerns about that. Because I can't go out farther, I'd actually lose some landing where it curves. I feel the landing is already tight. Plus, I see a lot of curves that just don't look quite right to me. It seems like it might be something that's easy to get wrong. Figuring out the appropriate scale for this seems to be the hard part and is some of the reason I've put it off. If I don't do the three sided stairs, I need to kill the path to the left. As it is now I find myself walking that way even though there is no stair. The granite step idea is interesting. I have visited one masonry place but they didn't have anything like that. They did have granite treads, but they were very contemporary looking. Hmm more thinking.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 6:24AM
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Patricia43

I had this dilemma when I was forced to redo my mailbox, the sidewalk and a pathway because a teenager upset about a football game, had too much to drink and plowed through my brick mailbox, the front yard, the pathway and ended at the windows of a bedroom, fortunately not sacrificing any brick of the house's structure.

The brick was older and no real match was available, but believe it or not, in 3 years, there is no notable difference from a distance and we did have to mix some old brick in with the new ones at the insistence of the insurance company and now in 5 years, I see no difference. The elements seemed to age brick in a most pleasant way. If it were right up against my house without any greenery, i.e, an add-on to the house, it would probably have shown badly but now not even I notice the difference in the sidewalk, the pathway, the mailbox and the house unless I concentrate on it.

My house brick was more orangish and the newer brick had a more brownish color but as it has aged, I hardly notice any difference and only because I look for it. I think the greenery, the grass, the foliage, and the quoins of my house fool the eye and the miniscule difference is not noticed.

As an aside, the plants you have there are very woody and can undermine stone. Don't ask me how I know that. ;-) I would take the advice of a master gardener (not landscaper) about what to use there for that reason. Landscaper see a beautiful picture. Master gardeners see reality.

This post was edited by patricia43 on Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 7:40

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:32AM
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tibbrix

Kew, I think curved steps are dangerous. It is so easy to Feet are best on level ground and evenly placed when on the ground, esp. when there is ice or one is carrying stuff or elderly. An uneven end can cause imbalance. The left side of your foot is supported to the mid-point while the right side only to the ball of your foot due to the curveâ¦that sort of thing. I think they're accidents waiting to happen.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:53AM
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kewren

That's a good point Tibbrix. I hadn't thought of that.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:29AM
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kswl2

When treads and steps are properly proportioned, curved steps are no more dangerous than straight steps---- otherwise they would not be allowed by building codes everywhere in the world. They are less common because they are more labor intensive and therefore more expensive, but the gracious sweep of a curved step is like nothing else.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:50AM
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tibbrix

Sorry, kswl, I don't agree. It's like regular stairs versus spiral staircases.

"Winder stairs are similar to an L stair, although the landing space is instead extended steps, creating a pie-like visual as the corner is turned. Although they use less space, they are also less safe than L shapes due to the changes in the steps at the turn"

If the surface under your feet changes with the movement of your body and natural step, which with curved steps it would, then they are less safe. With a straight-edge step, you always know where the edge is, but if it changes constantly, gradually, as in a curves step, you don't, and that inherently makes it less safe.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:09AM
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kswl2

You've described the reason that curved stairs cannot be constructed with a too tight radius, Tibb. When the curve is wide enough, the person going up the stairs at any point on the curve will have firm footing just as if the stairs were straight. That's why kew, in the pictures above, would have to widen the landing to allow for curved steps. They are really not analogous to a spiral staircase. Brick masonry is a skilled trade and usually the masons themselves can design the right stairs to code.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:19AM
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Kiwigem

Great house! I adore bluestone, but for your house I'm going with brick. It looks more integral.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 6:47PM
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kewren

I wanted to share my finished landscaping project because you guys helped me decide on using brick for my new stoop. I think it was the best choice! I also decided not to wrap the stair around the sides because when we laid it out it felt too big. We also had the roof cleaned. You can really tell the difference from the before picture. I'm very pleased. Now, we need to decide on outdoor lighting.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 9:11AM
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kewren

Oh, and here's my patio. Waiting on the grass to grow.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Boopadaboo

Wow. It looks amazing. :) So welcoming. You must be so happy when you pull up!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 9:35AM
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tibbrix

Really great! Love that you took the huge bushes out.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Holly- Kay

It looks lovely. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 10:12AM
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theclose

What a wonderful transformation! It is gorgeous. Your house is just lovely. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Well done!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 10:34AM
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kewren

Thanks guys! I'm really happy with the results. So glad you guys gave me the courage to make the decisions and move forward. It's easy to second guess yourself especially when the contractor has different opinions.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 11:11AM
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Kiwigem

Perfect selections... and it looks as though you still got your bluestone in the back!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 12:57PM
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kewren

I did! I love bluestone, but it wouldn't have worked in the front. There is no competing stone in the back so I thought it would be okay there.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 1:29PM
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Arapaho

We have quite a bit of bluestone around own home exterior. Just wondering if your contractor suggested on how to care for it - eventually cleaning, sealing, etc.? TIA!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 2:09PM
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kewren

Yes, my contractor recommended sealing, but mainly because my neighbor's tree drops fruit on it that could stain. We're trimming our side, but can't completely rid the problem. We had bluestone at our previous house that was never sealed and it always looked perfect, no problems.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2014 at 9:50PM
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