One of the most popular ways to add curb appeal to your home through a home renovation is to remove bare concrete from sight. Instead of leaving your garage floor untreated and with raw edges, you might add a floor coating to shield the floor from cracks and crumbling corners as well as from stains. Other times, people are replacing the large concrete slabs of their driveways with cobblestone or paving brick to get rid of raised slabs or surfaces stained from years of car oil and road salt.
If you have bare concrete steps leading up to your front stoop, then you might also be looking for a way to change their appearance without the effort or expense of replacing them altogether. One of the best ways to transform them is with a strong, richly colored veneer. Whether you prefer brick, granite, or cobblestone, adding thin veneer faces of stone or clay material can add to your home’s curb appeal while protecting the underlying concrete. Here’s how to go about this home renovation!
Make Your Entryway POP! With These Simple Home Renovation Steps:
1. Prepare the Doorway
Because you’re adding a new layer to your steps, they’re going to be a bit higher. This means you’ll need to remove the trim board beneath your door to shorten it or replace it with a new one entirely. You’ll also need to do the same with any shingles, siding, or trim that reaches all the way down to the current top of the steps, so trim off the additional height of the veneers as well as a small margin for mortar.
2. Create a Rough Surface for the Mortar
Mortar doesn’t adhere well to a smooth or even slightly rough surface. For it to stick, you either need to deeply scarify the current surface or adhere a metal lath – which looks like narrowly knit grating with a rough, grating surface – to all of the sides and tops of the steps. Then, spread a thick layer of mortar across the material, filling in all of the small, rough pockets, and use the notched side of the trowel to carve horizontal grooves.
3. Fit the Cobblestones Into Place
Once the mortar has dried, you’ll want to arrange the cobblestones without mortar or adhesive first to make sure you like the pattern and the fit. Brick and cobblestones make an easier, more cohesive pattern without the need for cutting and scoring, so they’re an easier option for a DIY renovation. As you’re laying out the stones, make sure you keep them a finger’s width apart from each other for the joints and use larger pieces along the edges for greater durability.
4. Start Applying the Next Layer of Mortar
You can apply a thin layer of adhesive in between the layers of mortar for a stronger hold or move on to mortar directly. This time, you’ll be applying a half-inch or slightly thicker layer directly onto the back of the stones. Use the trowel’s notched edge to create horizontal grooves, and press the stone firmly into place. Make sure to remove any mortar from the exterior-facing surface of the stones so it doesn’t stain or dry. Keep applying the stones from the bottom up, and make sure you always allow for the grout joints: moving and correcting the stones weakens the grip each time you shift them.
5. Apply the Grout
Carefully remove large chunks of grout from between the stones before it dries, and check again once the mortar has dried. Then fill a grout bag with mortar and apply it to all of the joints, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Again, be sure you wipe away any unwanted material before it stains or dries. Once the grout has partially dried, depress and form the lines with a striking tool to make them look even and professional instead of lumpy.
No matter how many steps your front stoop has, adding a cobblestone finish is a great home renovation to both protect the underlying concrete from impact and to increase your home’s curb appeal. For more DIY projects that add a personal touch to your home and fun summer ideas, go to Homeazing here.