• Shovels, rakes, hand tools
• Premixed concrete
• Level, ruler, saw, tape ruler, hammer, nails
• Portland cement, water, sand, aggregate
• Plywood and lumber
• Some grease or oil
• A wheelbarrow, mixer trowels, or portable concrete mixer
Step 1: Stair design
Firstly, you need to calculate the size of your concrete steps. If you are building exterior concrete steps, a 12’’ tread and a 7.5’’ raiser height are appropriate.
• The height of on floor to the other is equivalent to the stairs’ total rise
• Measure the horizontal distance that the staircase will span
• In the area you are planning to build the staircase, measure the width of each step from left to right
• To determine the number of steps, divide the elevation by 7.5’’. Ensure the raiser (height of each step) and tread (depth) isn’t changed. The step that will serve as landing should be at least 3 feet deep
Step 2: Site preparation
The main objective here is to level the rough surface and ensure there is no rubble to prevent the steps from sinking or getting disconnected from the house in the future. Remove any roots, grass, and debris from the surface. Dig about 6’’ and compact the earth to have a strong foundation. Then, using gravel or sand, get about 4 or 5 inches of the plane to work with.
Step 3: Building step form
You can use plywood or lumber to make step forms. Follow these steps when building step forms:
• Using tread and riser calculations, lay out and cut the side forms
• Ensure you have fastened the forms firmly and tightly to the building’s foundation. This is crucial for the new stairs to bond well to the building’s foundation
• Use wooden or plywood stakes as braces to prevent the outward push of the poured concrete. Nail the wooden stakes every 12’’ along the form’s outer surface
• Install the boards to shape the risers’ face. The width of the boards should have the same height as the risers. To ensure the forms are plumb and the surface of the threads is level, use a spirit level
• Remember to coat the form with grease or oil for it to get released with ease from the poured concrete
Step 4: Mixing concrete
Although you can do it yourself, you can buy premixed concrete that’s ready to use. You just need to add water and the concrete is ready for use. Remember, for every bag of cement, use 6 gallons of water.
Step 5: Pouring concrete
Start pouring concrete from the bottom step. It would be best if you poured concrete one step at a time and spread it evenly. Ensure the corners of the form are filled with concrete. After pouring concrete, use a board to smoothen the surface. After filling all the steps, finishing touches are needed to make your stairs look good. After troweling, use a broom to et a skid-free surface. The concrete should remain damp for about one week. After one week, remove the foam boards.
How to Repair Concrete Steps
Due to constant foot traffic, outdoor concrete steps start to deteriorate. However, you can repair and maintain the steps to reverse the damage. To patch the stairs, start by removing loose pieces and debris. You can pressure wash the concrete to remove any debris and thoroughly clean the area. Then, tape off the edges that you do not want new concrete to avoid creating a mess.
You can prepare a concrete mix or buy ready to use concrete to save time. If you want to patch some holes, pour concrete and use a trowel or a board to level the surface. To smooth out the surface, use the edge of the trowel. Before the first coat dries, add a second coat. The second coat makes the concrete steps have a nicer finish.
How to Maintain Concrete Steps
Here are some of the ways you can maintain your exterior concrete steps:
• Keep the steps clean by sweeping or pressure washing
• Use a detergent while cleaning to remove any stains
• Repair any cracks
• Fix the railings
• Fix any concrete chips. To repair a chipped corner, use a wooden form to hold the wet concrete
Although you can rely on DIY, consulting a professional is recommended. Please call us to get connected with us, and we will assist you a as you needed.