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Anyone know anything about concrete steps?


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#1 ubkev

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 02:42 PM

My concrete steps in the front of the house are starting to crack. I'm not sure if they can be repaired or need to be completely replaced. I don't think it's going to be a really big job, as it is only 3 stairs. 3 feet high and five feet from the edge of the bottom stair to the start of the porch.

Anyone ever had anything like this done? What should I know before calling contractors for estimates?

#2 Woods-Racer

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 11:29 AM

I know enough to ask a few questions, so here I go.

 

How old are the  steps?  If they appear to be as old as the house, how old is the house?

 

If it's a circa 1950's house and they are just cracking, you may get another 50 years out of them with a little maintenance. There are several different ways of fixing and re-coating the steps, I don't recommend a latex based paint as one of them. If this sounds like an option we can discuss further.

 

Do the steps look pre-cased and place in front of the door or where they formed and poured by a contractor? The pre-cased is a remove and replace, relatively inexpensive and quick, but longevity is an issue.  A well thought out and poured set of steps by a contractor may have wire/re-bar running through it, the cost of removal and replacing could be thousands of dollars.  

 

If the steps are cracking because of a water issue (plugged gutters or downspouts, pour drainage) you need to resolve that first before moving on to fixing the cracks in the steps.

 

If the issue is frost and thaw cycles and the steps are uneven  a concrete contractor can come in and do a process that involves drilling holes in the existing  concrete then using high pressure they force cement in to the holes lifting the old concrete back to its original level plane.

 

There are a few options. But I guess after all this my biggest question is, what do you mean by crack?   Hairline and you want to do preventative maintenance, or if you drop your keys going up the steps kiss them good bye?



#3 ubkev

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 12:19 PM

The steps are precast. 3 stairs, with the bottom one being about a 3 foot landing. The railings are iron and drilled into the porch(which is fine) and the bottom stair, on both sides.

It appears that winter has gotten into the steps at the railing site. It looks like water seeped in, froze and broke apart the corner of the stair.

I've successfully re-pitched the gutters to drain off the other side of the house. I have an enormous maple tree out front that clogs them at least 3 times a year.(damn maple leaves are the bane of my house as well as those who live here)

Now that the gutters are draining off the side opposite the stairs, the stairs would see less moisture and will definitely have less icicles overhanging.

#4 Woods-Racer

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 02:00 PM

They are precast and they would probably still be good if not for water problems.

 

Most precast concrete items are made with a minimal amount of stone, so they can be made thinner and lighter for installation purposes. A quick google of precast steps for your area should net 2-3 companies that make precast steps to replace yours and can give a list of experienced contractors for you to call. Probably the fastest and easiest, and quite possible the least expensive, is to remove and replace while still using your existing railing. They may not have identical steps but very close.

 

A lot of precast companies also sell block and brick and have been in business for generations, you may walk into their business and see some beautiful stone or block that you may want to install instead. I don't know your budget, but a nice set of landscape block steps is an option.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words. If you wish to shop for precast steps take one with you along with dimensions and I would find it hard to believe that on a Saturday morning you can't get 2-3 options in your price range.  They can also give you an approximate quote if you go with a more landscape style like pre-treaded lumber as risers and pavers as the steps, or the landscape block with cap stones as steps.

 

 

steps.jpg

 

precast steps, then below an option for the landscape block steps.

 



P9191373.jpg


Edited by Woods-Racer, 08 June 2015 - 02:00 PM.


#5 ubkev

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 04:10 PM

Thanks woods. Much appreciated!