Pre-cast concrete steps allow you to build attractive steps while preventing you from having to build wood forms or pour concrete. Pavers are sold to fit inside the forms to create precast steps. Before making the steps, determine how many forms you need for them, and the pattern you wish to create with the pavers. You will need basic carpentry and landscaping skills. Allow yourself an afternoon to complete this do-it-yourself project.
Mark the outline where you will make the precast steps with stakes and string.
Dig a hole approximately 6 inches deeper than the height of the step, and 4 inches wider and longer than the step on all sides with a shovel.
Fill the hole using compactable gravel. Rake the gravel to create a slight downward slope from back to front with a garden rake. The slope helps with drainage.
Tamp the gravel using a hand tamp, and set the first form in place. Verify the form is level from side to side using a carpenter's level.
Add a layer of compactable gravel inside the form and tamp it using a hand tamp. The distance between the top of the form and the compactable gravel should equal the thickness of a brick paver plus 1 inch.
Add a layer equalling 1 inch of sand over the gravel. Place a 2-by-4 across the form and measure from the bottom of the board to the top of the sand using a tape measure. This measurement gives you the correct space for the pavers.
Lay the pavers inside the form in a pattern of your choice, keeping the pavers level with the top of the form. Adjust if necessary by tapping them with a rubber mallet or adding sand underneath them.
Spread a ½-inch layer of sand over the step. Spread the sand over the pavers to fill in the joints using a broom.
Sweep the loose sand, then soak the step thoroughly with water. Soaking allows the sand to settle in the joints. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly. If necessary, add sand and water until all gaps between the pavers are packed tightly. Repeat for all steps.
Backfill with dirt along the sides of the steps once all steps have been installed.
Things you need
- Tape measure
- Compactable gravel
- Hand tamp
- Carpenter's level
- 2-by-4 board
- Rubber mallet