• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook upgrades an old brick with bluestone slabs.

    Steps:
    1. Use a brick chisel and 3-pound sledgehammer to loosen the old flagstone and mortar from the landing.
    2. Cut down into the existing concrete with an electric rotary hammer fitted with a chisel bit. Finished height of the concrete must be 2 inches below the surrounding brick.
    3. Clear away all the chipped-up concrete debris with a shovel and stiff-bristle brush.
    4. Scrub the concrete's surface clean with a wet sponge.
    5. Remove any loose bricks from the landing.
    6. Pour a bag of mortar into a wheelbarrow, add water and mix well with a shovel.
    7. Brush bonding agent onto the underside of each bluestone slab.
    8. Shovel some mortar onto the concrete landing, then spread it level with a pointed trowel.
    9. Set the bluestone slab into place, then use a rubber mallet to tap it down even with the brick border.
    10. Repeat Steps 8 and 9 to set the remaining bluestone slabs.
    11. Mix up a new batch of mortar, only this time pour a little latex additive into the water.
    12. Use two pointed trowels to pack the latex-fortified mortar into the joints around and in between the bluestone slabs.
    13. Replace any bricks removed earlier using the same mortar.
    14. Smooth and tool the mortar joints using a ½-inch jointing tool.
    15. Clean off the bluestone and bricks with a wet sponge, making sure you don't disturb the tooled mortar joints.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Although even small bluestone slabs are rather heavy
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      Tools List

      • mason's chisel with hand guard
        Brick chisel and 3-pound sledge
      • electric rotary hammer
        Rotary hammer with chisel bit
      • square shovel
        Square-blade shovel
      • wheelbarrow
        Wheelbarrow
      • 4-inch-wide stiff-bristle brush
        Wide stiff-bristle brush
      • grout sponge
        Sponge
      • 3-inch wide paint brush
        3-inch paintbrush
      • brick trowel
        Pointed brick trowels
      • mallet
        Rubber mallet
      • brick jointer
        ½-inch jointing tool

      Shopping List

      Thermal bluestone slabs

      Mortar

      Bonding agent

      Latex additive