The simple answer is that you can use bricks to build steps, but it takes a bit of planning. In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about building stairs with retaining wall blocks and how to get started.
Determine the location and height of your stairs.
First, you will need to determine the location and height of your stairs. This step is important because it dictates the length, width, and height of your retaining wall blocks.
To do this:
- Draw a straight line on each side of where you want your steps to be. These lines should be parallel with one another and perpendicular to one another (at 90-degree angles).
- Measure the distance between these two lines. This distance is called “run” – we’ll use this measurement later when calculating how many blocks are needed for each step in our staircase.
Excavate the stairway trench.
To excavate the stairway trench, dig along the side of your retaining wall and remove the dirt in blocks. Place these blocks away from your wall as you dig them out so you can use them later. The trench should be 2-to-3 feet deep and straight across, with a flat bottom so it can’t collapse under weight.
Once you’ve dug out enough soil to form a flat base, build two wooden forms (or use cinderblocks) at each end of the trench to help guide where your stairs will go. Then pack down some sand or gravel on top of this base before pouring concrete for added stability—ideally using non-shrinking concrete if possible!
Lay the base material.
Lay a pressure-treated wood base for the stairway using mortar. Mix cement and sand, then use a tamping tool to compact the mixture into a solid base for the stairs. Use a level to make sure that your base is flat and level before proceeding.
Lay the first retaining wall block course.
- Begin laying the first course of retaining wall blocks in your trench, with the end of each block flush against the end of the previous block. Make sure that they are level, straight and square, plumb and spaced evenly (at least 2″ apart). If you’re unsure whether or not your blocks are correct size, place them on top of a thin piece of wood to ensure proper spacing and height.
- After you have finished laying one course of retaining wall blocks along one side and down both ends of your front walkway area, move onto adding another layer (or two) for added strength if necessary by repeating this process until about 4′ high or until you reach ground level
Add the remaining courses.
The last step is to add the remaining courses. The blocks are laid in a stair-step pattern, with each course higher than the previous one. Use a level to ensure that each course is level as well as well-spaced. You may want to use a hammer or mallet on this step because you are tapping into place some relatively heavy blocks and it’s not always easy to get them into place without help from someone else at this point!
Install a riser board between each step.
- Using a 2×4, install the riser board flush with the top of each step. If you need to cut it down, make sure that your cuts are even and straight. You can use a hand or table saw for this.
- Use a level to check that all four sides of the riser board are level with each other, as well as with their corresponding steps (you’ll have two sets of two steps). Make any adjustments needed so that all sides are level before securing it in place with screws from underneath through predrilled holes in each side of the riser board.
Building a staircase is easier than you think!
If you are looking to build a staircase, this is the guide for you. We will show you how to build stairs with retaining wall blocks.
Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hMbBHpKxMk
Make sure your blocks are in place, and then take your string line and make it taut so that it is the correct height. Measure the treads of stairs, which should be equal to three wall blocks wide. Then, you can start laying out the stair steps. The first step should be level with the surface, while all subsequent steps will line up with each other horizontally or vertically. To ensure this consistency, use some scrap lumber pieces as a guide for where each new step should go as you lay them down one at a time until reaching your desired height (usually about two feet above ground).
Now that our retaining wall block staircase has been installed firmly against its foundation without any tilt or wobble in sight—thanks again to those stakes and strings from before!—we can begin adding concrete backer rod between cracks along both sides of these steps using an inexpensive caulking gun tool (which we’ll probably never get rid off because who knows when another project like this might come around) before filling them up with parging mix to seal everything together permanently and finish off our project beautifully.
We recommend doing small sections so they don’t dry too quickly—especially if you’re working outside on sunny days! This way when rain hits our concrete backer rods/parging mixture combo later tonight (as predicted by weathermen everywhere), there won’t be any water leaking into those spaces between boards that we just sealed shut last weekend because they were still wet enough at installation time–and now they’ve dried out completely thanks again for coming back here today guys. What did we learn? Retaining walls are great for holding back soil on slopes or hillsides; however, if you want to add some stairs leading up from one side of these structures down into another area below without having any major construction work done first like tearing apart your entire yard just so.