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Tips For Repairing Your Concrete Steps

Supplies for Repairing Cracks in your Concrete StepsConcrete steps are a very common feature on many homes. If your home currently has concrete steps, you’re likely already aware they will need a little TLC at some point. The age of your steps and their level of exposure to outdoor elements will play a role in how long it takes for repairs to be needed. Repairing most normal wear and tear is actually doable on your own and only requires a few basic materials and tools.

The following depict typical repair that concrete steps often need, depending on the extent of damage that has occurred.

Crack Repair

If you simply have a few cracks here and there in your concrete steps, you can expect a pretty easy repair. You should first clean the steps completely, using compressed air or a stiff brush. If you notice any crumbles or loose material while cleaning the concrete, use a cold chisel and hammer to chip it off. Be sure the surface is completely rinsed off before starting the next step.

While the area is wet, without any present puddles, use a paint brush to apply a liquid concrete bonding agent to the cracks. Work the agent into the concrete with your brush. A quick tip: only apply the agent to the cracks to lessen the chance of staining on the areas surrounding the cracks.

Now you will need either a cement mixture (1 part cement and 3 parts sand with just water to make a paste) or a vinyl concrete patching compound, to fill in the crack. If you’re filling a crack wider than 1/8 of an inch you will need to put foam backing rods inside the cracks first.

Now apply a thin layer of the compound, working it into the crack using a trowel or putty knife, packing it down in the crack. Allow an hour for it to set up and then use a trowel to smooth the surface. If you had to use backing rods, use something heavy (like a brick or cinderblock) to place on a layer of plastic over the patch; leave them there a few days to allow it to fully cure.

Significant Repairs

If you’re facing a more significant challenge due to more extensive damage to your concrete steps, not to fear; these steps should help you immensely. Start by removing all the crumbly or loose material as you would with crack repairs. If your concrete is crumbling or broken (past the point of simply filling a crack) you will need to build a form in the shape of your step. You might consider 1×4 or 1×6 boards to make this shape.

The forms will need to be firmly placed (so as not to move around) and be flush with the existing steps surrounding the shape. Use nails and ground stakes to keep the forms together, in place. The outer edge is typically where damage occurs on concrete steps. To start the building of your form, place a board firmly against the riser below the step (you can use bricks to help keep the board in place) and start attaching boards on either side (as necessary).

Now that your forms are created and set, it’s time to get the concrete mixture ready. Just follow the directions that came with your mixture. Once the mixture is ready, it’s time to dampen the complete area, including the forms you built, with a garden hose or similar misting technique. Once it’s completely damp, you can start applying the bonding agent to the area.

Take the concrete mixture and fill in the cavity, spreading it evenly with a trowel and making sure it gets all the way inside the cavity. If the holes or crevices are really deep, simply use slicing motions to make sure the air gets worked out of the material. Ensure the surface is level with the existing steps, using a wood float to smooth the surface. Let it set for about an hour and then smooth the surface again with the wood float until the texture matches that of the existing concrete.

Now it’s time to take a piece of plastic and cover your patched area. You will likely need to place something on top to provide enough weight to keep it from moving. Leave it covered and allow it to cure for about a week. A few times a day you will want to lift up the plastic and spray it.

It doesn’t take much to repair cracks in your concrete steps. If you’re still not sure about completing such a project on your own our experts can help you. We have the building materials, tools and answers you may need at Building Solutions so let our expert staff help you get prepared so the task is done right and without any unexpected hassle! Come in and see us today!

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