Installing Concrete or Clay Bullnose
After finding the right color for your pavers you will need to chose something to make your front stairs, wall cap or pool coping look more interesting.
Step 1. Measure the step's layout. Then, remove and dispose of all surface vegetations and debris (this cannot be used as backfill.) Now, dig the base trench to the width and depth necessary to bury 2" of block plus 2"more for base rock. Then level the excavated pad. Fill and compact 2" of base rock the length of the step.
Step 2. The key to attractive steps is to make sure the base course of block is level. Place blocks (risers) closely together, leaving the top 2/3 of the block exposed and checking the level and alignment of each block. For straight lines, use a string line along the back of the riser course and make sure the blocks are flush. Use a rubber mallet to "fine-tune" the placement of the blocks. Fill in behind the step compacting 2" layers of base rock to the top of the block.
Step 3. Using mortar or cement adhesive, install the Bullnose edging on top of the block (if using pavers as a riser, you will need to build a concrete footing to bond the paver risers and the edging.) Lay the next course of block behind the Bullnose with an offset, or stagger, from the course below. You may need to cut a block to achieve the necessary offset. Be sure to level and align the blocks as you go.
Step 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for additional steps. Finish the top step with pavers on a 1" bed of concrete sand. One attractive option is (see diagram) to create a longer tread by installing pavers between the Bullnose and the next riser; thus, making the step deeper. Make sure that rubber mallet and level are always present during the installation.
Overlaying existing concrete steps:
The key for a long lasting overlay is to clean the surface to be overlay and when necessary, scrape any paint or lose cement off the face and top of existing concrete stairs for the bonding of the Bullnose edging and the riser.
Pavers are attractive and so are Bullnose and when these two are combined, they are to achieve a better look on stairs, pool coping, walls or sitting bench. For grouting you may use a special grout mixture of regular mortar.
Bullnose come in 9" and 12" deep. You may mix colors, too as you do with pavers if you want to, but is not necessary, because most manufacturers make Bullnose to match their paver colors.
You can make a step even more interesting when installing lighting features in the riser or in the paver between the bullnose and the riser.