Concrete steps are very durable and easy to maintain, but over time they can wear down, crack, or parts can even break off leaving the stairs both unsafe and just downright ugly. In this blog, we will be covering how to fix worn down stairs and breaks in the concrete. In a later blog, we’ll cover how to resurface and make them look better than new.
Prepping and Assessing the Damage
The first step to any concrete project is to step back and assess the damage before going ahead with the project. Start by removing any weeds or grass that is in the way. After you’ve cleared that, use a stiff brush and remove any loose debris or concrete then power wash and clean the area, making sure the area is as clean as possible.
Once the area is clean and dry, step back and assess the project at hand. How bad is it? Are the steps just worn down? Or are there significant breaks either on the corners or in the middle of the step? If the steps are severely worn down, or there are multiple breaks and crack in the concrete, it may be time to replace the concrete and start over. If, however, the structure of the concrete looks to be in good condition the easiest and most cost-effective solution is just to fix the broken areas.
Tools You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Hacksaw (or metal cutting saw)
- Concrete bonding agent
- Polymer patching compound
- Watertight pail
- Paint brush
- Wood plank
Fixing Corner Breaks
Let’s start by fixing the breaks in the concrete. If the break is in the middle, we’ll fix that when we fix the worn down steps. Right now, let’s focus on the breaks at the corners.
Fixing a corner break is the same as fixing a break located anywhere else only it needs to be reinforced by rebar. With a masonry drill bit, the same size as the rebar, drill a hole approximately half the size of the piece of rebar needed.
Side Note: The piece of rebar you need is determined by how big the area you are fixing is. Measure the length of the break, then subtract a half inch. Now double that measurement and you have the length of rebar needed to complete the job.
Once the hole is drilled, use a turkey baster to clean out the dust. Then proceed to clean any loose pebbles, dust, and debris away from the entire broken area. This will ensure that the bonding agent bonds securely with the existing concrete.
Once the area is clean, coat half of the rebar in the bonding material and insert it into the newly drilled hole. Use a hammer and make sure that the rebar goes in all the way. Now apply the bonding material to the rest of the broken area. Use a brush and make sure it gets into all of the crevices. The bonding material will ensure that the polymer patching compound securely infuses with the broken area.
Once that’s done, it’s time to apply the polymer patching compound. Follow the manufacturer instructions and mix a batch to be applied to the broken area. Be sure not to add too much water, the compound should be thick and be able to hold its shape.
Use a wet trowel and fill the broken area in with the compound, shaping it so it looks like the rest of the steps. Use a wet wood plank and ensure that it is flush with the top and the sides of the existing steps. Use a brush and smooth out the top. You may want to use a wet brush; it may help and make the final product blend in more with the existing concrete. Let it dry for 48 hours before walking on the newly fixed area. After that, you should be good to go.
Fixing Worn Steps and Broken Areas
Fixing worn steps and other broken areas, other than the corners, is the same process as above. The only difference is that rebar isn’t needed to reinforce the area.
The first step is to take your stiff brush and clean any loose pebbles or debris off of the worn area. Apply the polymer bonding material to the worn parts of the step to ensure that the patching compound sticks to the existing concrete. Once that is dry, mix a batch of polymer patching compound and apply it to the worn areas with a wet trowel. Once you have applied the compound, use a wet wood plank to ensure the compound is flush with the top and side of the existing step. Let the newly patched step dry for about 48 hours before using.
So there you go, that’s how to fix worn stairs and break in the concrete.
Click here for more information, on how Restoreall’s concrete contractors can help you restore your concrete steps.