Take a close look at this photo and you will, hopefully, appreciate how closely the new work matches the existing details. I was hired to tear out old, broken concrete steps and build something that would blend with existing features.
I'm not a fan of poured concrete steps; they look dull...sigh! Here's what I did. First I tore out the existing side walls and the concrete steps. I determined that the side wall foundations was level and sound. I carefully dug out the area between the side walls and poured a reinforced and level concrete slab, 4" thick. I laid two CMU side walls. Having done some careful math work, I laid a series of vertical block "walls", using 6" and 4" wide block. Each of these walls was laid so that the font and back edges of each cast concrete step were supported on foundation wall. I filled the voids between the block walls with crushed rock, topped with a 2" layer of mortar/rock.
I found a compatible brick and laid brick veneer around both side walls. I ran brick through my paver saw, creating 5/8" thick brickette. I laid this bricket vertically to give the step risers an appealing look. Finally, I made forms and cast 2" thick concrete steps and wall caps. I used a combination of standard gray and white cement, masons sand, sharp-edge gravel and rebar to pour my steps. Into the wet mix I laid fine, decorative rock and trowled it lightly into the mix. Later on I coaxed the top of the decor rock from the concrete. I sealed my work
I am a seasoned remodeler by trade. I am not a mason...though I occasionally lay block, pour concrete and lay brick. I invite comments. Of particular interest to me is any insight you can offer; any ideas for doing this "better". Thank you.
Mel Fros froscarpentry.com