York stone steps, Wimbledon

Transformation of a house front

‘Wacky’ Ben Russell and the new York Steps

Ugly old concrete steps were leaking and very past their sell-by-date. The steps were very uneven in their dimensions – the heights and depths (goings) were very irregular (see below). They had  been patched up many times over the years.

We scalped the layers off and opened a veritable Pandora’s Box. Layer upon layer of materials – old St Bee’s sandstone steps appeared to be the originals, but some had rotted away and been replaced with reinforced concrete spanning the entire width.

A flying buttress running beneath running along the middle of the steps acted as a brace for the steps above, and enabled us to  insert some concrete lintels to support the new York stones.

Steps have to be equidistant (especially when I’m doing them!) and it can be quite a complex process of working out bed heights, falls and goings. Being a bit of a worrier I tend to have to do this a couple of times per job, and keep taking measurements throughout the process.

Building during the winter

We used an anti-freezing additive in the mortar as there were some very frosty nights, and of course we laid down a British Standards approved damp-proof coursing, covering the rest in a tarpaulin overnight.

Nearing the top here and the steps are looking very smart indeed. We have yet to remove the plastic spacers and point at this stage.

The last steps can be quite awkward to put in. Everything must be nice and close and retain the ‘fall’ or degree of slope that the steps need to cast off rain water.

And here is the finished article.

York stone steps installed in Wimbledon Village – Before and After

What do you think?

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