Concrete stairs are very sturdy and will last for a long time. Concrete stairs can be boring though, after a while. If you want to uplift the look of your concrete stairs, adding tiles may do the trick. Outdoor tiles have beautiful patterns and textures that can give your concrete stairs a new dimension and a more artistic appeal. Here are the steps on how to tile concrete stairs.
- Choose the right pattern that will provide a beautiful finish and design to the concrete stairs. There are a variety of designs available that will enhance the look of your stairs. Be sure to specify that the tiles will be for outdoor and stairs use. These tiles will be grainier to prevent people from slipping, particularly if the stairs are wet.
- Measure the concrete stairs to approximate how many tiles you have to buy. Always buy more tiles than what you will need to cover breakage as well as for cutting up some of the tiles for odd corners.
- Make sure that the stairs surface is even. Clean the stairs to remove the dirt. Run water over the steps to check if puddles form in some areas. The surface of the concrete stairs should be level before you apply the tiles. Mix mortar and cover the areas that are deeper than the rest. Allow the mortar to dry first before you start laying the tiles.
- Mix the thinset and begin laying down the tiles on an area where the tiles can be laid in full, usually in the center. Push the tile close to the vertical part of the stairs. Place the spacers near the top corners of the tile. The spacers will guide you and keep the tiles aligned correctly. Apply thinset in small sections and push the tile down, while wriggling it a bit to spread the thinset for good adherence. Tap the tile with the end of the trowel handle lightly to ensure that the tile is laid evenly. Continue laying down the tiles and adding spacers. Cut the tiles according to size when you reach the corners.
- Wipe off any thinset that had dropped on some of the tiles immediately. Do not allow the thinset to dry on the tiles because it will be difficult to remove when it sets. You can use a wet rag or sponge to wipe off the thinset. Clean your trowel as well as the bucket, where you mixed the thinset, using water.
- Allow the thinset to dry for at least two hours before you mix the grout. If your stairs have many steps, it will be better to mix the grout in two batches. But be sure to take note of the proportions to ensure that your grout will have an even color. If there are only a few steps, then it will be safe to mix the grout in one batch.
- Remove the tile spacers and apply the grout with a grout float. Apply it at an angle to fill up the sides of the grout lines. First apply the group from top of the tile to the bottom and then from left to right to ensure that all the gaps are filled. Look at all the grout lines to check if all the gaps are filled evenly with grout. Wipe the tiles with a damp sponge after you have applied grout to several tiles.
Check with the hardware store where you bought your tiles and other supplies if you need to apply grout sealant. This can prolong the life of the grout and prevent water from seeping into the grout and under the tiles. Apply the sealant when the grout is completely dry.