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  • Writer's pictureMark Shepherd

Stone & Block Staircase

Mortarless construction replacing old wood & gravel steps

This recent landscape masonry staircase was installed in Mountlake Terrace just north of Seattle WA.

Previously there had been stairs made of pressure-treated timbers filled with crushed rock, but the wood on the 30-year-old structure had been rotting away for years and had become a hazard to walk on.

So after an arduous effort removing the old stairs (they were incredibly hard to take apart being deeply burrowed in and spiked together with rebar) we constructed this beauty. Manorstone blocks and corners from Mutual Materials capped with Pennsylvania Bluestone treads.

For now the entire structure is held together with gravity. I intend to adhere the treads using thinset mortar (exceptionally strong adhesive, much better than the Liquid Nails glue that is commonly used for block caps) to provide another layer of strength, but I decided to wait until the warmer months to apply it. That way it will make for a stronger bond, plus the structure will have time to fully settle into place beforehand.

The customers were thrilled to have such a stout and reliable stair climb after years of stumbling over rotten timbers.


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