Need to give these 1950's steps a makeover!
Michael Parker
June 14, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Round 1950's pebble crete steps are damaged and falling apart. Need ideas to either renovate or replace economically. We have been advised it would be too difficult to tile to match the connecting verandah due to the circular design.
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Luke Buckle
I like the art deco shape of them - but unless you want to keep that design and render over the pebblecrete, you could jackhammer them up or deck some stairs over the top of them.
June 15, 2014 at 9:55pm        Thanked by Michael Parker
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kathleen MK
I love the circular design. Yes you would need a wet tile saw to cut tiles to fit it but that would be easier than matching the tile exactly. I would try skimming on a new coat of concrete over the rocks. Then if you want to get decorative mosaic some pebbles over it.
July 2, 2014 at 12:06am      Thanked by Michael Parker
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PRO
LB Interiors
I love the circular design but aesthetically, I don't think that design works well with the porch.
July 2, 2014 at 12:26am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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Fran Webb
IF the damage is only to the sides and edges, I would have a layer of new cement troweled over the existing steps. Have the edges scored to look like tile and stain it a matching color to the porch tiles. Make sure the steps have been cleaned well before adding the new cement.
July 2, 2014 at 7:57am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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PRO
Design Schematic Interiors
I would recommend having a professional look at the damage first to see if the stairs are safe to use and worth saving, it might be better to replace them.
July 2, 2014 at 10:07am     
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ptmatthews
Although the step shape is cool, I agree that they don't go with the porch. I would replace with rectangular steps the width of the left wall to the column. Match the steps to the porch surface and the risers to the house surface.
July 2, 2014 at 10:20am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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rainymorning
Even if the steps were not broken, the round shape is dangerous. There's no way to put a railing. Go for traditional steps and handrail.
July 2, 2014 at 10:36am     
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VizX Design Studios, LLC
I don't think the design of the steps go with the house at all. I would have those steps redesigned with also adding lights to them when done. The steps needs to be more linear.
July 2, 2014 at 7:06pm     
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Red Door Design & Construction, Inc.
For the US, the three stairs are borderline for handrail.

But to economize, you could just re-coat the stairs with a similar material with the add added stones for uniformity. It's extra labor.
July 3, 2014 at 9:11pm   
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Mirens Inc
The circular steps are hard to find although I see that the porch and the steps lack continuity. After you fix the edges of the steps (assuming they're still safe to use), you could add some landscaping to the sides of the steps to shape the pathway to your liking and to add more bright colours to complement the porch.
July 3, 2014 at 9:52pm     
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Jenny Drew
Personally, I think you should go for rectangular steps, cut back a bit from the beginning of the lawn. Consider using similar flooring (are they terracotta tiles?) to the porch as the steps, and a stone similar to your current steps for the risers. I'd say the width of the second step up would work best as the narrowest point.
July 4, 2014 at 12:53am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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flannelflower
I would change the verandah to suit the steps. Steps have much more personality/individuality.
July 4, 2014 at 2:16am     
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hatetoshop
If you are willing to repair the steps, you could add a curved railing at the top with the existing porch railing (then continue bannister down the steps) to pull it all together. Hard to find examples, but here are a few to give you an idea of what I mean:
Craftsman exterior
A Classical Journey: The Houses of Ken Tate
Kiawah Flyway Oceanfront
Parkton Exterior Remodel
July 4, 2014 at 4:11am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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Red Door Design & Construction, Inc.
I like the idea of continuing the handrail down the stairs. They would need to arch out & stop on the first step. Not the sidewalk. You would also be really surprised how much brighter the pebbles & concrete sidewalk would be with a good cleaning.
July 4, 2014 at 6:36am     
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ilangelo
I'd cut off the steps on a diagonal and continue the railing down the right side. A tree or bush where the steps have been removed.
July 6, 2014 at 1:46am     
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ilangelo
Been trying to attach a picture of what I meant, Michael, but it's just not working. If you get in touch, I'll email it to you. At any rate, good luck.
July 6, 2014 at 3:35am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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ravensmom13
Michael...I agree with above posters that the rounded design just looks "off" compared to the verandah....plus smaller top step is not in proportion to the verandah opening....here is an option which would still give you the "rounded" look ( if you really like that look ) and which would also give you the safety of handrails...there are many companies that manufacture these pre-cast stairs, and they come in many designs/sizes...good luck!
July 6, 2014 at 4:23am     
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JudyG Designs
Make sure your design meets your local code requirements.
July 6, 2014 at 4:51am     
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forker273
Personally I agree with others who feel the design doesn't work with house, although the design itself is appealing and would work in a different setting. Circular steps like you have should lead in multiple directions, thus making sense why they are circular, but in your case they don't, so why have circular steps at all? 'ilangelo's' suggestion would look good, limit the amount of work and offer a nice clean and attractive solution, imo. I would add a slightly curved banister instead of a straight one if I was to go that route. However if it was me, I'd remove the current steps completely and add a more attractive set of steps altogether...with the old steps out of the way, the options are endless on how you could go. The entry way to anyone's home sets the impression of what is to come inside and one can't say enough for 'drive up appeal'. Look at the 4 examples provided by 'hatetoshop' and what the entryways do for those homes, all different, but all set the tone for the house to come. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
July 6, 2014 at 5:51am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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lazidazi
Your circular steps are not original to the house, and as others have said, don't go w/the design of the house - at all. Get rid of them. As ptmatthews said, put rectangular steps the width of the left wall to the *inside* of the column. Don't do the norm 7" rise/11" tread, but instead go with a lower rise [5"] and wider platform. Consider that if you make linear steps the width suggested here, that the top platform then allows for perfect placement of potted plants directly in front of the existing metal railing. ptmatthews offers an excellent design tip when suggesting to use the same porch tile on the new treads and the house surface on the risers.
July 6, 2014 at 5:52am     
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nosim
The problem is not so much that the steps are circular, but that the scale is way off. The top step should be much closer to the width of you porch.

Most economical is to take away existing steps and replace with linear steps with material that matches your house.
July 6, 2014 at 6:51am     
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ihpancan
Circular steps look dangerous. Long steps the length of the porch would even look better, safer. Do the work,
July 6, 2014 at 7:35am   
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Martha O'Neill
The round steps have unique character - very charming. I agree with the suggested concrete skim coat (rough enough to avoid slipping) on the surface. Tile the vertical face matching porch tiles. Finishing touch is hand rails. Either on both sides of the steps or one right up the middle. Looking forward to see what you choose.
July 6, 2014 at 8:30am     
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Kathy Metzler
One word....tile
July 6, 2014 at 9:16am   
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Susan
I love the semi-circular design. Keep them!
July 6, 2014 at 3:26pm     
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decoenthusiaste
Demolish and replace with straight steps in their place. They look like an accident waiting to happen, as people are generally not used to navigating a curved step-down.
July 6, 2014 at 3:44pm   
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Sherrie Holmes
While I love the round steps, I agree with others that they just do not look right for the style of the house. What bugs me the most is that the front door is in the wrong place in relation to the stairs. The eye is naturally funneled up the stairs by the stair design, leading you smack into . . . the potted plant. Reversing the door and the plant would be a huge improvement, and adding a bunch of potted plants on the steps would also help. But after all is said and done, the stairs still wouldn't complement the house.

If you replaced the steps, you could tie them in with the tiled porch by just using the same tiles on the vertical surfaces (the fronts) of the steps. (As Fran Webb kind of suggested by scoring and painting the same vertical areas to look like the porch tiles). If you did replace the circular stairs, I'd suggest you move the new steps to the left, to more closely align with the front door.
July 6, 2014 at 4:10pm     
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Beth
I like the stairs. If you really want to go super cheap, buy the mexican saltillo tiles to match the porch. (If that's what they are. If you live in freezing temp. country, forget it!) Break the tiles into big mosaic pieces and stick them down! Add in some colorful mexican glazed tiles to break up the boringness. You can use high quality thin set and place them right over the pebbles. Like I said, super cheap and pretty easy. You can always rip it apart later and rebuild.
July 6, 2014 at 5:26pm   
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thedarlingsbecca
If the stairs can be moved, they'd make an interesting place for plants to spill over in your garden.
July 6, 2014 at 9:47pm     
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austinsnake
Jack hammer them out (round doesn't match square of everything else) and replace with new concrete or bricks.
July 6, 2014 at 10:48pm     
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crystal S
First, the entrance door is way off to the left making the space rather difficult to work with, but that's not here or there but I agree with the others remove circular steps all together and do rectangle to match with the size of the porch and I would do some DIY on the front entrance to pretty it up a bit giving it an grand entrance.. Good luck!!!
July 7, 2014 at 3:55am   
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Pine Hall Brick Company
If you decide to keep them...use a thin brick to surface the steps which will tie in with the porch floor. The left side could get the railing that was mentioned earlier. The right side would be a great place for a collection of flower pots, etc.
July 7, 2014 at 6:22am        Thanked by Michael Parker
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Big Dog Woods Creations
Build Corten steel frame around each level and pour new stained/stamped concrete to match the terra cotta look of porch
July 7, 2014 at 6:48am     
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diyer59
Those are really nice steps! I'd keep the shape of the half circle--it's unique--you can cover them with tile (a DIY that wouldn't cost a great deal). I like the example of the company that posted above me with the terra cotta looking steps.
July 7, 2014 at 7:28am   
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sstarr
Yes, the radius is simply too small; they are incorrectly built. Remove them and put in standard stairs. Also remove the strange railing and replace when you put in the new stairs (looks like a walker).
July 7, 2014 at 7:42am     
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Gray & Walter, Ltd.
Personally I wouldn't remove the stairs if you like them. However, the low horizontal stairs looked appropriate, but not rendered in wood, that doesn't feel right for the structure. The stairs can be recoated and sealed by a properly vetted professional. It may cost money but this is the right way to go. The right way ALWAYS costs more but you won't regret it. After all you are the responsible for proper stewardship of your home. It's a big responsibility and not one to take lightly.
July 7, 2014 at 7:54am   
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Kivi
I agree with Gray. I wouldn't be inclined to remove them. I suspect they add some original charm to the house. Resurfaced with the terra cotta thin brick looks good. @sstar...not sure how you concluded they were built incorrectly. They look like they predate the renovations on the house and appear to have been there for 50+ years.

As for being a safety issue...the OP did not comment about being concerned about that aspect, and frankly I think those concerns are somewhat overblown. You can fall off any step.
July 7, 2014 at 8:30am     
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Jason Chuck
All depends on your budget but I'm inclined to agree with many of the other comments to keep the steps and just resurface either with those terracotta type tiles or just redoing the pebblecrete as there are a lot of nice options with the size of stones etc
July 8, 2014 at 12:42pm   
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Natalia Ovsyannikova
Concrete paving slabs in conjunction with the concrete footings for the vertical planes.
Sorry for my english
July 9, 2014 at 7:36am      Thanked by Michael Parker
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lepstein
I rather like the idea of round steps, but these seem out of scale to me. If you have the budget, I would replace them with a circular staircase that has the top step at least as wide as the second step (width about from where the green plant on the ground at left ends to the pillar), then the rest following suit for proper width and depth. I had my (rectangular) steps done with shallow risers, but much more as a series of platforms (I call them my "walker stairs" for if/when I need a walker).

Speaking of walkers, I agree with the poster who said to remove the mini railings on the porch. If you go platform style, you might not need stair railings at all. If you go regular height rise with the stairs, you will be glad of a railing (I would put it on the left so you can put plants in pots on the right), especially as you age.

Depending on where you live, I wouldn't tile the stair tops (too slippery and hard to shovel). Just do the risers if you are so inclined.
July 11, 2014 at 7:25am   
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karenslikes
They make river rock in tile sheets I would try it mortared on the edges it would be inexpensive and a fairly easy job.
July 12, 2014 at 7:14pm   
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Kivi
I would not do river rock.... I can just imagine a woman in heels having lots of trouble negotiating that surface.
July 13, 2014 at 5:54am   
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PRO
Big Dog Woods Creations
perfect
July 14, 2014 at 11:03am   
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PRO
Big Dog Woods Creations
in design, of course but with terra cotta tile
July 14, 2014 at 11:04am     
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westtx
While I agree that the steps do not currently match the house and were an add on, I don't see why you can't make them work! Add Saltillo tile to the tops of each step, in keeping with what you already have. Then add Talavera tiles, in random patterns if you're funky, all matching on each layer of riser if you're more of an orderly person, or in the middle, which would be to have each riser contain the same pattern all the way around the whole step, but having each step in a different pattern. (I would make them match somewhat)

Then, have a welder fabricate hand rails to continue from your upper porch rails, down the sides of each step, so elderly and young folks can still access your stairs. It will also keep the flow and the beauty of the steps in tact.

Then, you might consider adding a few scattered tiles elsewhere on your porch to help tie in the whole look, like a Talavera tile-topped table, or maybe a row of tiles above the front door? I can't really see the in the photo if that would work, but there are tons of Talavera tile ideas that would dress up your lovely home!


[houzz=Hacienda staircase risers]
[houzz=Latin Staircases 1]

[houzz=Latin Staircases 2]
July 15, 2014 at 9:08am     
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whirlwyn
Great shape! if steps are not crumbling, ask a brick mason if they can be faced with brick standing vertically on the edge. The more narrow face of the brick does not require cutting; the mortar follows the roundness. Had the design in summer cottage steps we sold, and loved it. It invites everyone to sit n chat. Good luck.
on Tuesday at 12:00pm     
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PRO
The Color People
The Pine Hall Brick Company's suggestion is the best, I think. The really wonderful thing about round steps is that they facilitate using your whole yard because when you come out you can easily head in any direction. Directional stairs strongly lead you to one place and you will find it hard to go elsewhere. I think you would find their solution most gratifying. What is wrong with the stairs now is really only that they are really ugly.
on Tuesday at 1:58pm     
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