How to Build Cement Steps With Bullnose Brick

Written by donna armstrong
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How to Build Cement Steps With Bullnose Brick
Bullnose brick can create soft, rounded steps. (Front steps of a house with yellow lilies in bloom. image by dvest from

Bullnose bricks are brick in which one or more sides of the brick have been rounded. Bullnose bricks are commonly used to create steps because they create a rounded edge. Cement steps made from bullnose bricks are durable and it takes many years for them to show signs of wear.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Graph paper
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • 2--inch by 4--inch wood
  • Nails
  • Cement
  • Bullnose bricks
  • Trowel
  • Mortar
  • Mallet

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  1. 1

    Design your steps on graph paper first. Use each 1 inch square on the paper to represent 1 square foot. The step design will inform you of how much material you will need and be a guide while installing the steps. The height and depth of each step needs to be the same. The height is normally 6 to 8 inches and the depth is 10 to 12 inches.

  2. 2

    Clear the area where the steps will be installed. Dig 6 inches into the ground to create a place for the foundation. Remove all grass, roots and debris from the area.

  3. 3

    Cut 2-inch by 4-inch boards to surround the outside of the area and to create a form. If you are creating rounded steps, use bent plywood to make the form. Place the form inside the hole you dug.

  4. 4

    Cover the area in 4 inches of gravel and pack it tight. Spread the gravel so that it is level across the foundation. Add 2 inches of cement on top of the gravel and smooth it out with a trowel. Check the concrete to make sure it is level and allow it time to cure.

  5. 5

    Place a thin layer of mortar on the cement and lay the first brick on the cement up against the wall on the right-hand corner with the bullnose edge facing outward. Apply mortar to the inside edge of the brick and place the next brick beside the first brick with the bullnose edge facing in the same direction. If you are making a specific design, lay the bricks to create the design.

  6. 6

    Continue to add mortar and bricks until the first step is complete. Look at the step and make sure all of the open spaces between the bricks are filled with mortar. Use the level to make sure the step is level. Tap any bricks that are above the others with the mallet to make it level.

  7. 7

    Apply mortar to the top of the bricks or the next step. Place the bricks for this step as you did before. Make sure the bullnose edge is always facing outward. Continue making the steps according to the design you created on the paper by adding bricks and mortar in the same manner as before.

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