This weekend, I started my first masonry project. With the help of my dad, we began repairing the brick stairs to my front door. Areas had been crumpling, cracked, or spalled when I bought the house. They had gotten a little worse since. We marked them as one of the higher priority things for the outside of my house this year, so we decided to have a go at them before winter.

Saturday was a kind of cold in the morning and late afternoon, with some rain, but mid-day wasn’t too bad. Sunday was quite nice. Made it much easier.

The demolition part (removing the old brick) was time consuming and labor intensive. Some of the brick and mortar just crumbled away, but some was hard as a rock. It was sometimes hard to take out a brick without damaging another one. We ended up leaving some that weren’t in the best shape and some half bricks just to avoid damaging more. A light hit caused less damage but took a lot longer. An air chisel with the right amount of power would’ve been great.

Mixing mortar and putting in the bricks was less laborious but not really less difficult. Getting the mortar packed in and getting the bricks level and lined up was not easy, especially with the foundation and other bricks not always being so.

We didn’t finish. We put in 22 bricks and still have around 20 more to go. We did most of the more visible area, and should have plenty of support for the steps. We will hopefully get some reasonable weather to finish in.

The mortar hasn’t dried yet and we still have to clean up the brick faces. I don’t think it’s going to look too bad, but it’s certainly not perfect. Some bricks jut out a bit. Bricks in one area are angled down a bit for several brick lengths, more closely matching the angled sidewalk below than the step above. But I think it’s good enough for me, and probably for selling the place.

I feel sore.

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