How can I makeover these front steps?

Dorothy Wiggins
by Dorothy Wiggins
What can I do with these front steps to make them better without taking them out? I have a small budget of $259.
  17 answers
  • Bryan's Workshop Bryan's Workshop on Jun 24, 2016
    Hello! My first idea was to build a step and base as one piece that fits perfectly over the whole tile area. There have been incredible advancements in wood to concrete epoxy glues. Some are called "above grade" epoxy. You can use pallets and a hand saw, build, stain and then glue. Good Luck!
  • Suzette Trimmer Suzette Trimmer on Jun 24, 2016
    I agree you would be better off NOT removing them, for many reasons. Though they shall not be winning any beauty contest, they could be will minor DIY tricks or hacks. First thing that comes to mind are use of great looking spindles for a railing Make a shelf unit when making a hand rail down the step. The thought of a railing of any kind is usually intimidating , however; you only have a half step down. Thus simple little amount of wood, glue, nails, screws, etc.... Then there are paint concepts where the only limit is your own imagination. The idea of a mosaic design concepts, are also well with in your $259.00 budget. Look all over this entire site you are bound to find inspiration form another DIY'er who might have posted their work. You were so smart to photograph these "screaming for help steps" for I have no doubt many shall contribute to your request for help. But look yourself and then ASK again. Good Luck!! And be safe.
  • Lainey Howell Lainey Howell on Jun 24, 2016
    I am a disabled veteran, and narrow landings are a nightmare! If nothing else, expand the step to at least the size of the base around it! If you plan to be in the home for the long term, ramp the step to one side to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. You never know when you might need it. Try to use a material that is not slippery when wet. Tiles are often the cause of falls in wet weather, so at least plan to put the non-slip stick-on or spray-on the step and ramp. Thanks for the chance to put in a word for the elderly and disabled! Good luck on your project.
    • Liz Liz on Jun 24, 2016
      Thanks for such helpful information! Everyone in my family has bad knees. Research has shown that if an entry way into a home is handicapped accessible, people are able to stay in their homes much longer, rather than going to a nursing home. Also, we think about elderly or disabled guests who visit us. I cringe when I see DIY decks and stairs without even a handrail! Thank you for your service to our country and God bless!!
  • Teresa Teresa on Jun 24, 2016
    Building over the step may be a low cost way to fix them making it the full size of the outer tile would also look better the only way to build over it is with wood. If you can remove every thing that is there and check your height for safety. I bet that its not quite up to regulations for a step with the lip of the tile and the step in of the door. you may be able to use nice brick or block that match what you have and looks better and safer. I have a local store that helps with the idea process take measurements and image with you. Hope this helps Teresa
  • 9530106 9530106 on Jun 24, 2016
    That step is an accident waiting to happen in more ways than one. Also, the electrical outlet is not code for outdoor use. I agree, have a deck of sorts built that will slide over what you have. :)
  • William William on Jun 24, 2016
    They look terrible! I can just imagine somebody leaning forward to open the door, having to step back to fully open the door to enter. I would tear out what is there and pour a concrete pad. Average depth is 36" from the door so when the door is opened there still is standing room. If you want to install railings, I assume on the sides of the door, then I would make the pad 48" wide.
  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Jun 24, 2016
    you could build decking timber over them to make them looking modern, or paint them a lovely bright colour with concrete pathway paint.
    • Dorothy Wiggins Dorothy Wiggins on Jun 25, 2016
      That is another good idea. This makes what I want to do complete. Did not know about concrete paint. I will also build it up with another large slab Thx
  • TerriL TerriL on Jun 25, 2016
    Replace with decorative blocks from box store. They are less than $5 ea.
    • Dorothy Wiggins Dorothy Wiggins on Jun 25, 2016
      Can you give me an example or picture of what you are referring to? What are decorative blocks? What is a box store?
  • Carole Carole on Jun 25, 2016
    Hi Dorothy, they are right the bloggers writing to you to expand and make it easy for disabled people. Actually without being disabled but in case some one wears high-heeled shoes it is also safer for that reason to expand the base. The cheapest and easiest way is, after having measured the height to catch up on, to go and buy some building blocks, not the standard heavy concrete, but the light weight concrete (in France it is called Siporex, which I suspect is a brand name). These blocks are very popular in construction because they have excellent insulating coefficient, (they are also very popular in countries with a risk for earthquakes since if the building falls apart people will not get hurt as badly as with the standard concrete) but the best thing for people like us on a budget and women, is they are very cheap and very, very easy to cut and slice (with a saw, actually I used my garden saw, did'nt want to purchase one especially, any saw, even a cheap, cheap garden saw -and I even believe a bread knife- will do the job). If you cannot match the height you will better off buying blocks with a lesser height and pile on, because where you saw the block becomes rough and uneven, (it kind of crumbles away while sawing and you need to be experienced to saw perfectly as according to yoour planned dimensions, I do not manage wellwhen sawing) better make it easy and use the flat, even surface of the block and pile on. This way you'll get a clean buildup and a smooth surface to glue tilees/whatever on top. You can fasten them with cement or with special glue, depends on what you prefer, cement is cheaper and offers a better, smoother and more regular adherence, and even if you've never done it before (as I when I did it the first time) its' easy, just like spreading topping on a celebration cake. No fuss, really. Make sure to take accurante measures of the starting point (the surface you start from) and then make plans and calculate the height and width you want to have in the end, making room for (1) the layer of cement or glue, usually 0.5 cm or thick like half length of your little finger's nail (at least, this is approximative, since you can use the cement layer to catch up on uneven tiles, if they were not applied well and double paste first the existing tiles, then the "Siporex" blocks) and make room in your design for (2) the thickness of whatever tiles you want on top. + the layer of cement/glue btween the last layer of SIporex and the top tiles/other topping. You'll also be able to have a topping of timber if you prefer that, but then for safety you'll have to drill holes into the Siporex. Also timber is so-so for safety when wet (or snowy) and needs paint/varnish/replacement, personally I'd go for tiles or bricks or stones.... P.S. The Siporex and cement are so cheap and the surface you need to embellish is so small, I believe a total budget of under 30-40 USD (choosing cheap tiles) is enough. If you've never worked with cement before, make sure to buy a rough, heavy duty plastic container (a bucket will be enough) especially for cement (usually black), prepare only a small amount at a time, rinse the bucket and remix the next batch and wear gloves, household gloves are top, they come handy in our size (working gloves are usually for big sizes/men's size) and protect OK for small jobs, while allowing you to keep proprioceptive faculties, where gloves that are too big for you will make it difficult to work. But really they are right, those advising to expand the base, also nice for putting shopping bags with groceries/else to the side when looking for your key, instead of putting it on the ground. P.S. My house was like this when I moved in, and now I have the nicest of stairs, the steps were so narrow even for a woman's footthey were not comfortable and they were much to high (the guy selling the house obviously wanted to save time and had added these stairs that looked nasty) . Now I added steps and they are also with wider, smaller steps in terms og height. I chose red terracotta tiles on top and colourful motives on the front of steps, because I live in a Southern climate in France and terracotta fits well in with roof tiles, the styles of houses etc.... Go look for the kind of tiles you have a crush for, with such a little surface it's worth the time spent to find your dream tile/whatever other covering. And the best covering will have a rough surface so as not to be a safety hazard when wet or frosted. And one last advice: while you're at it, expanding, expand so you get a multiple of th size of your tiles, so you'll save yourself work cutting the tiles and save money for tools needed to cut tiles. Just measure and draw on paper and go look on the net or in store for tiles/other topping you like and match their dimensions to your drawing.. Have fun, this job is easily done (when you have all the stuff needed) in one afternoon...
  • Barbara Barbara on Jun 25, 2016
    For the electrical issue that one comment referenced you can get baby safe plugs to plug into the electrical outlet to keep moisture from causing electrical shocks or damage. Two in a package for about $1.00 at the 99 cent store. As for the steps I'd go with a decking type solution using pressure treated lumber and nearly flush with the bottom of the doorway.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jun 25, 2016
    Chip out all the tile and brick face. Build a wood frame the size of where the current tile is and fill with concrete up to the level of the short stoop. Cover with a textured (for no slippage) nice tile and use the same for where the brick face is removed.
    • See 1 previous
    • Johnchip Johnchip on Jun 26, 2016
      OK, now relax. This will cost about $100-150 bucks/ with really nice tile. 1st. Relax, go look-shop for a tile you like, this is the fun part. 2nd, This will take a Satuday, no longer. Chip out all the tile. Measure and build a frame the large size for a big stoop. Mix and pour the concrete. Go take a shower and change. Go out and have pizza, bowling, or get drunk (all 3?). Get up Sunday morning, set your mix and set tile. Watch a movie. Go back to work on Monday and when you get home, you are awestruck with the results and you congratulate yourselves on what genius's you are and saved so much money!
  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Jun 25, 2016
    So glad I could help you. Depending on the room you have in the area, if you use decking timber you could made the entry much wider and put pot plants on either side, made it a real feature. Best of luck.
  • Lainey Howell Lainey Howell on Jun 25, 2016
    You are most welcome! I'm glad you understand. Good luck with your renovation.
  • TerriL TerriL on Jun 26, 2016
    A box store is a Menards, Home Depot or Lowes. They have many selections. They have fliers with pictures of the selections of bricks. Go on-line and check them out.
  • Mrs P Mrs P on Jul 02, 2016
    Because there's only 1 picture, not sure how much room you have there, meaning do you pull a car up by this door. If you don't, and you have the room, you could put a nice size small deck. 5 or 6 ft out, 10 feet long, that would be in your budget, it would cover that plug for safety, give you plenty room go in our house and a nice place to sit. Also, that hole over to right I would close that up. Weather you fix those steps or not, You don't need to see a snake and fall off those steps.
  • Dorothy Wiggins Dorothy Wiggins on Jul 02, 2016
    hi thanks but I do pull the car up to the front. I have found a solution thanks goodness. thank you for your reply
  • Mrs P Mrs P on Jul 02, 2016
    A board across the door, sign saying we're closed lol Good luck !