How to Build Cinder Block Steps: A Step-by-Step Guide

To make cinder block steps, prepare the area, lay out the steps, and assemble the blocks until you reach the desired height. Creating cinder block steps is a practical and affordable way to improve the functionality and aesthetics of your outdoor space.

Cinder blocks are made of concrete and other materials and are easy to find at hardware stores. Properly planning and constructing the steps will ensure a durable and safe addition to your property. In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to make cinder block steps, as well as some tips and tricks to make the process easier and more efficient.

Introduction To Cinder Block Steps

Cinder block steps are a great addition to any yard or outdoor space, providing both functionality and aesthetics. They are customizable, weather resistant, and relatively easy to construct. We will explore what cinder blocks are, why they are an excellent choice for creating steps, and the benefits of using them for step construction.

What Are Cinder Blocks?

Cinder blocks, also known as concrete masonry units (cmus), are precast building blocks made of cement, water, and aggregates. These blocks have hollow centers that make them lighter in weight, which also means they are easier to work with. They come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, allowing for a wide range of design possibilities.

Why Choose Cinder Blocks For Creating Steps?

Cinder blocks are an excellent choice for creating steps for several reasons:

  • Durable: They are strong and durable, making them suitable for outdoor use.
  • Cost-effective: They are relatively inexpensive compared to other building materials like bricks, stone, or wood.
  • Customizable: They can be easily modified to fit various designs and shapes.
  • Weather-resistant: They can withstand harsh weather conditions, including rain, frost, and extreme temperatures.
  • Low-maintenance: They require minimal maintenance, making them ideal for busy homeowners.

Benefits Of Using Cinder Blocks For Step Construction

Using cinder blocks for step construction offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Easy to work with: Cinder blocks are lightweight, making them easy to move around during construction.
  • Environmentally friendly: They are made from natural materials, and their production generates minimal waste.
  • Versatile: They can be used for a variety of structures, from simple steps to more complex retaining walls.
  • Fire-resistant: They are fire-resistant and can withstand high temperatures, making them ideal for firepits and barbeque grills.
  • Insulative: They have insulating properties, which helps regulate temperatures in outdoor spaces.

Cinder block steps have become increasingly popular due to their affordability, resilience, and versatility. They are perfect for homeowners looking to add an elegant touch to their yards while providing a practical solution for outdoor spaces’ elevation changes. By using cinder blocks for step construction, you can create a durable and low-maintenance structure that will stand the test of time.

Planning Your Cinder Block Steps

Making cinder block steps can be a great addition to your yard or garden area. They are an easy and affordable way to add stone steps to walkways while providing a rustic look. However, before you can start building, there are a few things to consider when planning your steps.

This section will cover the important steps in planning your cinder block steps.

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Identify The Location Where The Steps Will Be Built And Determine How Many Steps You Will Need.

The first step in planning your cinder block steps is to determine where they will be located and how many steps you will need. Consider the following:

  • Where will the steps lead? Determine the starting and ending point.
  • Will you need to incorporate a landing in your design?
  • How will you need to slope the steps to ensure proper water drainage?

Once you identify these details, you will have a better understanding of how many steps will be required for the project.

Measure The Area To Determine The Required Materials And Quantities.

Measuring the area for your cinder block steps is essential, as it helps you determine the required materials and quantities you will need. The following are a few steps to follow:

  • Use a measuring tape to measure the required distance of the steps along with the length and depth of the intended step treads.
  • Determine the ground’s slope to know the adjusted height needed for each step riser.
  • Calculate the numbers of blocks required to build each step.

By measuring the area, you will have a better understanding of how much mortar and blocks will be required to complete your project.

Discuss The Tools Needed For The Job And The Required Safety Equipment.

To ensure your safety and the success of your project, it is necessary to discuss the tools needed for the job and the required safety equipment. The following tools may be required:

  • Measuring tape, spirit level, masonry chisel, and safety goggles.
  • Rubber gloves, respiratory mask, hard hat, and steel-toed boots.

The tools needed for the job may vary depending on the design of the steps and the materials used. Remember to always prioritize your safety by wearing safety equipment and being extra careful when using sharp tools.

By planning and measuring the area and discussing the necessary equipment, you will have a better idea of what you need before starting your project. Take the time to plan and prepare carefully, and building your cinder block steps will be a breeze.

Step-By-Step Guide To Building Cinder Block Steps

Mark The Ground Where The Steps Will Be Constructed And Prepare The Base.

Before starting the construction process, mark the area where you want to build concrete block steps and clear the ground of any obstacles such as rocks, grass, or plants that may get in the way. Once you have your area marked, it’s time to prepare the base by following these steps:

  • Excavate the area to a depth of six inches
  • Fill the area with class five gravel
  • Compact the gravel surface with a tamper
  • Add a two-inch layer of sand over the top of the packed gravel
  • Tamp down the sand layer

Create The First Layer Of Cinder Blocks, Ensuring That They Are Level.

Creating the first layer of cinder block steps is crucial to ensure the entire framework is level. Here is what to do:

  • Laying the first course is important since it sets a foundation for the rest.
  • Check the courses to be sure they are straight.
  • Begin by laying down the first layer of cinder blocks on the prepared base in a straight line.
  • Mix mortar according to instructions and apply it between the blocks to help hold them in place
  • Tap the blocks lightly with a rubber mallet to make sure they are level.
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Add Additional Layers Of Cinder Blocks With Mortar, Checking For Levelness, And Adjusting As Necessary.

Adding additional layers of cinder blocks requires careful consideration to ensure the structure remains level and stable. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Continue to add blocks using the same mortar and leveling process as the first layer
  • Check for levelness after every layer and make any adjustments necessary
  • Apply mortar on the sides of the blocks to create a strong bind
  • Use a spirit level to ensure all blocks are perfectly level with each other

Create The Final Top Layer Of Cinder Blocks And Add A Cap Block At The Top.

Finishing off the cinder block steps requires attention to detail to ensure the final product appears aesthetically-pleasing and professional. Here is what to do:

  • Once the final layer of blocks is in place, it’s time to apply the cap block at the top
  • Choose a cap block that has a smooth top and aligns with the direction of steps
  • Apply mortar generously on top of the final layer and place the cap block on
  • Use a spirit level to ensure all the blocks are level and adjunst if necessary
  • Allow the mortar to dry for 24 hours before using the completed cinder block steps.

Adding Finishing Touches To Cinder Block Steps

Now comes the fun part, adding those final touches that will enhance the aesthetic appeal of your cinder block steps. Here are some creative ideas to take your steps from functional to fabulous.

Add A Non-Slip Surface To The Steps, Like Tile Or Outdoor Carpeting.

  • If you’re concerned about safety, adding a non-slip surface to your cinder block steps is a smart move. Choose a material that’s resistant to slipping, like tile or outdoor carpeting.
  • Consider the weather conditions in your area when selecting a non-slip surface. If you experience a lot of rainfall, you may want to opt for a more textured surface for increased traction.
  • An added bonus of adding a non-slip surface is that it can also help protect the cinder blocks from wear and tear, increasing their longevity.

Create A Border Along The Sides Of The Steps And Fill In With Rocks, Gravel, Or Landscaping.

  • A border around the edges of your cinder block steps can give them a polished look. Use rocks, gravel, or landscaping to create a natural border that blends seamlessly with the surrounding environment.
  • When selecting a border material, consider the style of your home and yard to maintain a cohesive aesthetic. For example, a border of river rocks could complement a rustic or natural-themed space, while a border of colorful pavers could add a pop of color to a more modern design.
  • Filling in the border with plants or flowers can also add a touch of natural beauty to your steps, making them a standout feature of your landscape design.

Discuss Additional Design Options, Like Paint Or Staining.

  • If you want to take your cinder block steps to the next level in terms of design, consider painting or staining them. This will add a pop of color and give your steps a fresh, polished look.
  • When selecting a color, think about the overall color palette of your home and yard. Choose a color that complements or contrasts with those colors to create a cohesive and visually appealing look.
  • You can also get creative with stencils or patterns when applying the paint or stain. This will give your steps a unique and personalized touch that reflects your style and personality.
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Maintenance And Care Of Cinder Block Steps

Cinder block steps are durable and low maintenance, but like any outdoor surface, they require some upkeep to ensure their longevity. Here are some useful tips to keep your cinder block steps clean, safe, and in good condition:

  • Identify the best ways to keep your cinder block steps clean and free of debris:
  • Sweep or scrub the surface regularly to remove dirt, leaves, or other debris that can cause staining and/or damage to the steps. A broom or stiff-bristled brush is ideal for this task.
  • Pressure washing is not recommended for cinder blocks, as it can cause the surface to erode over time. Instead, use a garden hose to rinse the steps and a mild detergent if necessary.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners that can damage the surface or affect its color.
  • Discuss how to properly maintain the integrity of the steps over time, including sealing and repairing cracks:
  • Inspect the steps regularly for any damage, such as cracks or chips, and repair them promptly to prevent further deterioration. Use a concrete patching compound or mortar for this task.
  • Apply a sealer every few years to protect the surface from water damage, freeze-thaw cycles, and other environmental factors.
  • Offer tips for addressing any safety concerns that arise with the steps:
  • Make sure the steps are level and stable, with no wobbling or loose blocks. Adjust or replace any unstable blocks to ensure the steps are safe to use.
  • Add non-slip treads or grip tape to the steps to improve traction and prevent slips and falls. This is especially important if the steps get wet or icy.
  • Install lighting or reflective markers on the steps to make them more visible in low light conditions.

By following these simple steps, you can maintain your cinder block steps for years to come while keeping them safe and looking their best.


After reading this article, you now have a good idea of how to make cinder block steps. It is not a difficult task and can be completed easily with the right tools and materials. Remember to measure your steps according to your needs and take safety precautions seriously.

It is also important to consider the design and appearance of your steps so it fits in well with the overall look of your home or garden. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create strong and sturdy cinder block steps that will last for years to come.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own personal touch to the project. With dedication and patience, you can achieve great results and impress your friends and family with your new DIY project.

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