It's a bit of a hack, but I've increased the stability of my front steps immeasurably. Well, someone could probably measure, but not now that the before has been taken away from measurement opportunities.
I outlined the details in my Busy Sunday post, so I won't retell all of it here. I did forget to give an "after" photo, so that's what this is for.
The rough outline is that the 15-year old steps had become unstable. They simply warped and gave when you stepped on them. They were still solid enough that they weren't going to break, but not strong or secure enough to stay in place. It was kind of like stepping on a sponge.
I cut the old treads off, cleaned the guts, and then because of the mortar, had to assemble a patchwork of new treads. They're offset, to not present a totally weak seam. The very top tread is an attempt to use a solid board across, like the originals, but the mortar made the board visibly too short. It was also the only long-enough plank I had to try with. It's also warped, and gives a solid, but uneasy tilt down the stairs. I ran out of screws, and I imagine if I found more I could tighten it up.
The steps are easy to step on again. Now they just need to weather. It's a little off-putting to see the varied levels of wear on the treads, but they're physically level, and similarly secure, old and new, except that very top one.
We'll poke around and see if we can find someone to help replace them properly. It's unfortunately a small job, and that's where we've had the most trouble; getting help for small jobs. It took about a year to get the sidewalk repaired after remodeling. We had one strip of siding fly off in a wind storm, and it took like five years to find someone who would climb on the porch roof to fix it. Hopefully it won't take that long to get this fixed.