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How to Conquer Your Old Crumbling Brick Steps

Apr 18, 2017 8:30:00 AM Christina Wilson

If your historic home in DC has brick steps that are crumbling, it's time for repair. When these classic entryways were built, they were designed to last for decades. Bricks are very durable, but your steps and walkways will eventually need some kind of repair. You can maintain the original design and historic integrity if the repairs are done properly. Here's what you need to know:

Since historic DC brick steps seem so solid, it can be troubling when the mortar breaks down or the bricks loosen and break. Loose and crumbling mortar will lead to further damage, requiring repair or replacement of sections of the steps. If severe, the damage creates a safety hazard. Safe brick steps that lead to an entrance are an integral part of the home’s curb appeal. 

Replace or Repair Bricks

If you have a set of brick steps that are falling apart, start by determining the extent of the problem. Before you begin a restoration project, contact a masonry contractor with expertise in old brick. Most traditional masonry contractors in Washington DC will come to your home and provide an onsite evaluation of the damage, the extent of the restoration, and cost estimates, free of charge. Here are some examples of what to expect when you repair brick steps:

  • Damaged bricks. Is the problem with the bricks themselves? Are they loose, cracked or spalling? Are some missing? If so, individual bricks can be replaced.
  • Loose bricks. These can be removed and then replaced or reset.
  • Mortar joints. Are the mortar joints cracking or loose? If the bricks are in good shape, the joints can be tuckpointed.

Rebuild Entire Structure

If the damage is severe, your entire structure might need replacement. Rebuilding may be necessary to ensure that the foundation is secure and will maintain its structural integrity over time. The new staircase can be constructed in the existing footprint using traditional materials that will match other adjacent brick and masonry structures. Replacement bricks are available in a variety of historically authentic designs.

Brick stairs are a very durable, functional and economical part of any entrance or patio design. Safety and curb appeal are usually prominent concerns of home owners. Damaged and crumbling steps can be returned to their original attractive appearance. If you want to maintain the authentic value of your historic home, consult restoration specialists who use traditional methods (tuckpointing) and materials. 


Download Free Homeowner's Guide to Tuckpointing

Renaissance Development, a leader in brick restoration and historic preservation, specializes in the restoration of a historic brick building’s mortar joints using traditional methods (tuckpointing) and materials. Contact us for a free site visit and project quote. 

Categories: Repair, Curb appeal

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