New Steps at Side Door
May 5, 2008 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I need new steps at the side door of my house. Who should I get to build/install them, and what should they be made out of?

I need new steps leading to the side entrance of my house. Currently we have a set of wooden stairs (3 or 4 steps) going from the side door down to ground level. I'm not sure how they are attached to the side of the house, but on the ground they are actually sitting on two bricks, not actually resting on the ground. They were obviously a temporary solution by the previous owners of our home, and the time has come to replace them.

We use this door as the primary entrance to our home, as it's next to the driveway, so the steps need to be sturdy to stand up to a lot of use. I'm not sure what material we should look for - concrete? Or some sort of wood composite? Our front stoop is made of brick with slate on the stairs and top surface, but for the side door we don't need anything fancy.

I don't even know what type of craftsman or contractor to look for to build new steps. I know it would depend on the type of material used, but I'm not even sure where to begin looking. I'm a member of Angie's List, so once I have a general category I like to check on there for specific recommendations.
posted by LolaGeek to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't even know what type of craftsman or contractor to look for to build new steps.

If you want brick or stone steps you want a mason. He might call himself a bricklayer. If you know you want stone you might look for someone who specializes in stone, who might call himself a stone mason. My General Contractor told me there are "Brickies" and "Stone Guys", each of whom tends to excel at one or the other. Bricks take more accuracy but stones are more of an art.

If you want wood or composite any handyman should be able to do it for you. It's probably too small a job for any general contractor to consider. A handyman might be able to work with brick or stone as well but you probably want to get some references first as mistakes are a lot harder to hide with stone or brick.

One tip I've heard for smaller jobs is to swing by or call the local fire station as firemen often double as contractors for some reason. If you know anyone who has had a deck put in, find out who did it for them.

Angie's List categories: Masonry, bricklayers, masons, carpenters, handymen, contractors.

This would be a pretty easy DIY project, or something that a friend/neighbor who is Good With Tools could do for a small fee.
posted by bondcliff at 12:45 PM on May 5, 2008

If you want to do it yourself easily and affordably, you can buy pre-cast concrete steps (example).
posted by amyms at 12:59 PM on May 5, 2008

If you want wood steps your local Home Depot / Lowe's will have pre cut risers and and planks. I did a 3 or 4 step stair out my back door using L brackets to attach the steps to the house. It took 30 minutes and about $30 in supplies.
posted by COD at 3:43 PM on May 5, 2008

The easy and convenient pre-cast concrete steps could be against your local building codes. The only way to find out would be to consult your city hall permit office and ask what the requirements are for entryway stairs. Or look it up online if it's available.

Which you should do anyway, regardless of whether you go with wood or concrete.

Suppose the permit office says that poured concrete steps have to extend below ground N feet or to undisturbed soil. If the contractor you pick to do the job tries to talk you in to doing less, you'll know that that company's up to shenanigans. It might be cheaper on the spot that day, but a few freeze-thaw cycles could heave it all to hell... and then you'd have to get new stairs again. Ditto wood stairs and how deep they have to be anchored.
posted by CKmtl at 6:32 PM on May 5, 2008

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