How to face stairs with Brussels Block

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Tim C., Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Tim C.

    Tim C. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    I have a customer who wants use to use Brussels block stacked around the outside of the attached stairs and landing. The landing is pitched toward the outside edge where the wall will be. I am planning on a 8 in base of compacted ca6 and will have two courses of block buried. for the approx. 4 1/2 ft tall wall. What i am worried about is moisture getting behind the wall, freezing and causing it to fall. They want the brussels block stacked right against the landings foundation. Do I have any to worry about? They do not have the budget to teardown the stairs and start over. Does anyone have any other ideas to dress up the stairs?


  2. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    That really is a bad way to go about covering those steps, this method will fail and will look like the home owner had a go at it. If you are serious about the work you do, do not go that route. I would of suggested to my customer that they either remove them (which they have no budget for) or cover the with a roll on spreadable rock coating. Check out I'm sure your local hardware store carries a product similar to this.
  3. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    Cover the sides with a cultured stone (budget) and overlay the treads and risers with a complimentary stone. Go spend a few minutes at your stone yard and see what they have for closeouts or discontinued stone for the veneer and treads/risers. Somtimes you can get natural stone cheaper than faux stone.

    Spend a little more on a plant design, that can do wonders in itself.
  4. Bru75

    Bru75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    Tell 'em to paint it until they save the money to tear it out and put something nice in.
    If they really want to do something now, either of the two above suggestions will work.
    Sorry, but I wouldn't even consider covering mortared block and concrete with anything that is not mortared in place.
  5. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,327

    Don't take my comment too heavy, because I have very little experience in hardscapeing (even though I would like to get into it). I think it wold be nice to put a garden with a plant or two by those stairs.

    Maybe a boxwood variation or a holly on the left side facing the road (pic. 1) and a few smaller plants on the right. You could even put a boxwood/holly or other bush on the corner and some other plants on the right and some on the left (the side perpendicular to the house)
  6. chance213

    chance213 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    First of all dont let someone tell you its not in there budget. That is everybodys best line for a cheap job done cheap. If they dont have the money to do it right they dont have the money to do it. You are just walking into a big headache. It might look good at first, but after one season they will be callin for this an that.
  7. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    If you plan on doing any type of veneer you absolutely have to remove the existing paint on the stairs and the wall. Heavy duty pressure washer to some type of chemical to remove it. Basically you need to be putting your mortar directly on the original block and not on a coat of paint. Paint peels and there goes your work.
  8. SuperPROlawnScalper

    SuperPROlawnScalper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    if they're not wanting to spend much money just strip the paint off and throw some concrete stain on them, plant a cpl plants around it. those steps will blend right in
  9. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    I would say you need to dig down to the stair footing and possibly widen it and go off that. Build as you would a brick veneer wall over wood, spaced to meet properly with the top. However, a good simulated stucco paint job would be a good amount less both properly done.

  10. Tim C.

    Tim C. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Just an update, I ended up building a raised planter approx. 2 ft tall around 2 sides and planted boxwood to hide the rest of the side. They also painted the block to match the house.

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