LESLIE: Mark in South Carolina needs some help revamping some concrete steps. How can we help you today?
MARK: Listen, my house is about 90 years old and I have a three-step rise to my front porch. And the concrete is original, as far as I can tell. About four years ago, they started to look a little cheesy so I put a skim coat over them. Now that has started to crack off and my wife and I have talked about it and we thought about putting brick pavers on the steps. And I need to know what I need to do to prepare the concrete to take them and what I need to do to put them down, make them stick and make them stay.
TOM: Well, first of all, if you add brick pavers to the steps you’re going to pick it up by about two inches. Isn’t that going to result in a very uneven step at the top and the bottom?
MARK: No actually, what I’m going to do is take out the whole front walk and have it repoured at the bottom. It will increase the top step just a little bit but I can take off a little bit of the top step to accommodate that.
TOM: Right. OK, well you’re going to probably have to break off some of the concrete that’s at the top surface of the step. Now you said pavers but, realistically, you may want to just use regular brick with mortar to hold them in place because pavers are put in without any mortar.
MARK: Oh, OK.
TOM: And because you’re putting them on a step, you’re probably going to want to use regular brick and you’re going to rough up the step and then you’re going to basically add another layer of brick on top of that with the …
MARK: I would have to take off a great amount of those steps to actually accommodate the brick.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, you’re going to have to score it up, rough it up in order to be able to get good adhesion.
TOM: There may be like an epoxy additive that you can put into the mortar mix that will give you a little more of a sticky solution, but you’re probably going to want in regular brick there and then you’re going to want to, basically, mortar in between the joints.
TOM: Because I think that’s going to stay together better. If you put in pavers – remember, a paver is exactly twice as long as it is wide; a regular brick is not because it’s a little narrower because it leaves space for the mortar joint, Mark.
TOM: And so that’s probably what you’re going to want to do.
MARK: Well, I certainly do appreciate the advice. We’re still looking at what we need to do for the aesthetics of it and that’s – it’s not a necessary project; it’s just aesthetics.
TOM: Well, brick is certainly very beautiful and I think you’ll enjoy it for a long, long time.
MARK: Alright, sir. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate the advice.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.