Patio Steps: What You Need to Know

If you are building a new patio out of any material, you may want to add patio steps to your creation. There are a number of places where and reasons why you will want to install these steps. Some enjoy putting them as an entrance to the home. Others like putting them as an entrance to another part of the yard, or towards a lower, pool area. Some patio steps allow movement to different areas of your backyard, perhaps to a walkway or the backyard itself, if the patio is raised above the rest of the year. Other patio steps will allow you and your family and guests to comfortably and safely enter and exit your home, especially if your doorway is high above the ground. It can also help you keep your home clean, preventing people from dragging in mud and dirt.

Whether or not you have to install steps depends on the grade of the area. If your backyard slopes, and you want to install a flat patio, you will need to install steps to get to the other areas of the house and yard. This means that you are in essence installing a raised patio.

Patio Steps Ideas

The types of materials you can use for your patio steps are many. The material you choose will depend on the height, dimensions, specifications, and requirements of your stairs. Obviously, aesthetic considerations will also come into play – you want to pick the stairs that look the best given your home style and theme.

The first decision you have to make is what material to use for your patio steps. Your decision will be affected by the material already in place for your patio, your home’s general theme and design, and your budget. One popular choice for materials is the concrete patio steps. These are quite generic, and can go with nearly any patio and decor. However, aesthetically they are a bit bland, and are more functional than anything else. Homeowners may also have trouble building such steps themselves, especially if they don’t have the skills and experience.

Another popular choice are paver patio steps. These offer more opportunities for patio steps design, as you can lay them in different patterns and in many different colors. There are also special patterns, like circles, that you can add to your steps to give them a unique flair. Paver patio steps are very durable and can withstand weather and foot traffic. They go best with concrete paver patios, but can fit with any decor as well. They are a bit more expensive than concrete, but they also can be laid by a homeowner who is committed to learning how to do it and to doing the job right.

Another option are brick patio steps. These are also quite cheap, and can be laid in many different patterns. However, they do not look as nice as concrete pavers, and there are fewer color and shape options. Thus, if you have a lot of patio steps ideas that you want to play around with, your best bet is to select paving stones for your steps.

If you have a small drop off, you may only need to lay a few brick or concrete block down to act as a mini-step. Don’t get more complex if you don’t have to!

You can also go with wooden steps. Though they are cheaper than stone steps and may look nice at first, over time they will not hold up as well as concrete, brick, and paver options. You could also purchase metal steps that you simply lay in the area you need them, though these don’t look as nice as customized options do.

There are also a number of different materials you can use to face or veneer the steps. First install concrete steps, and then you can put a number of materials on top of it, including pavers, stone, and other material.

When picking the material for your application, you will also want to consider how much maintenance you want to put into your stairs or stoop. Some materials and installations will require more maintenance than others. Wood, for instance, will need periodic sealing, where concrete and concrete pavers will not need it as much, if at all.

Consider also the weather factors and other wear and tear that may be put on the steps. If you expect to use the steps for work or to bear heavy loads, go with heavy duty materials.

Patio Steps Installation Tips

If you want to know how to build patio steps, you first need to know what the design of your area is. You need to measure out the dimensions in all three ways – length and width of the entire installation as well as each step, and the height of the entire project as well as each step. You need to figure out how big the landing will be and how big the steps will be. There are certain minimum safety requirements you will need to consider, such as the length, width, and depth of the individual steps. Most people are used to a 6 inch height for steps and a 15 inch width, so change them at your own peril – people are ‘used’ to walking up and down steps a certain way, so don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Then, you need to determine what material you will use for the steps, some of which are detailed above.

If you have DIY experience, you can install the steps or stoop yourself. However, you may find it necessary to contract some or all of this project, as installing steps can be tricky. You can easily combine this project into another project, such as a patio, walkway, pool deck, or other application to save money and time.

Most installations will require poured concrete regardless of the surface or veneer material. Many will also require the use of mortar to keep the bricks together. If you have no experience with these materials, don’t mess around with stoops. Since many people will be walking on them, and safety will be a primary consideration, don’t skimp on this.

Keep in mind that you may also have to install hand rails if the height of your steps is big enough. This will prevent people from falling if the steps are obstructed or slippery. There may also be other codes and regulations that you need to follow, so it may pay to consult with a contractor or other professional to find out before attempting any installation yourself.