Making steps…

When we first bought our house, there were many issues with the place.  Like a fool, I thought I wanted an old fixer upper.  I am smarter now but no less obligated to pay the mortgage so I press onward with the repairs.  Anyhow, one of the first things that needed to be fixed was the ladder steps that led to the front door.  There were a number of concrete pads embedded into the vertical dirt wall leading up the patio.  I kid you not, we had to turn our feet sideways and sort of hold on to get up to the door.

The old perches
That shovel is the only thing holding me up
That's a pile of block!

So, when we first bought the place, Emily and the kids remained in Nashville finishing out her job.  I started to work on the new place without their help.  My Dad came down and we went to town.  The steps were the first order of business.  I plucked the concrete pads from the wall and started digging.

Almost done!

The fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to get new, permanent steps in place was to form them from cement blocks.  Dad hauled numerous tons of block with his truck and we made our block steps.


Those steps served us well for 5+ years but eventually, the winter rains got into the block and froze, causing some of the blocks to crumble and break.  After near death (several times…I didn’t want to over-react afterall), we decided that the steps needed some work.  The kids and I chipped out the old block.  We had to cut sections out of some blocks, but most were pretty ok.  Abigail in particular seemed to enjoy the hammer and chisel so I see a possible career path for her if leader of the universe doesn’t work out.

I took a day off last week to form up frames so we could pour new concrete over the remaining blocks.  It was sort of difficult that way because we didn’t have a lot of extra room to make the steps bigger.  Too high and no one would be able to reach the first step, etc.  So, we poured another 1.5 inches or so on top of the old block.  I hand-mixed 17 bags of concrete on the hottest day I could find.   I didn’t think the van could handle carrying all 17 bags at once so I started mixing the third that I had and sent Emily on two more trips to get more concrete.

The framing waiting for concrete to my...feet? Arms and legs? Well, it was like music anyhow

We waited and fretted and finally unveiled the new steps sans framing.  The new steps are beautiful and hopefully will avert life-and-death situations for folks coming to visit.  After all of the work, we noticed that we forgot to write our initials in the concrete.  I figure we’ll revisit everything in 5 years or so anyhow, so maybe we can do it right the next time around!

11 thoughts on “Making steps…

  1. Why do we do hard work on the hottest days??? We about killed ourselves this weekend in the heat!

    Tell Abigail to go for Leader of The Universe. She can handle it!

  2. Hey nice job. The next 100 degree day with 200% humidity can you guys come and pour a slab for me?
    I will even remind you to initial it.

  3. The way things seem to work, the next big project will be two years later when something needs to be added to, or under, or through the stairs and you will then have to tear out all that concrete and start over again. At least that is the way it works in my family when we pour concrete.

  4. Your steps look great but I am disappointed you did not find trasure during all that digging the first time around.

  5. Could you please come to my house? I’ve been waiting for 7 years to put in the steps and sidewalk to my house. The wood pallets are rotting out. Thanks!

  6. Lisa – me too…no treasure at all though I did cuss like a pirate…does that count for anything?

    Odie – I feel your pain. I have one bathroom torn up for over a year now…so many projects and so much pain!

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