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bigwilly11189

Steps repair help

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Ok, I need some advice, I think I know how I'm going to tackle it but would like others opinions. My front steps are from 1950's (original I think) and the steps are ok, but the side walls of the steps have cracked and I'm able to take chunks of conrete out. I noticed that the steps were formed and then filled with sand/dirt so I dont have anything hard behind the side walls. Now what is the best way to tackle this repair without ripping out the front steps? I was thinking possibly using some concrete patch to fixer up then sealing it and maybe painting it with masonry paint to hid the new patch. Not sure if I should try to stick some fiberglass or soemthing in the crack first up against the dirt? Thanks.

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Well, for a repair/bandaid..... brush away any obviously loose material. Blow it out if you have a compressor. It appears that there is a piece that is acting as a shim, as it sticks out. Leave hat there. Mix up some hydraulic cement or water plug. Use gloves, it will get warm. Roll up balls that you can press into the joint with you hands. Keep forcing it in the sides, and work toward the middle. Do not get it on the shim piece. The hope is that you will be able to go back tomorrow, remove he shim, and fill that void with hydraulic. You might even consider using a spike into the existing material to help tie it together, like rebar does in a bigger pour. Hydraulic sets up fast so you can form your edges with 1x lumber.

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Luckily the front steps really aren't used except the mailman. I think I can pull those "shim" pieces out, so should I just cement it all at once? Also, I should use some plywood on the sides to hold the cement in while it cures?

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View Post I think I can pull those "shim" pieces out, so should I just cement it all at once? Also, I should use some plywood on the sides to hold the cement in while it cures?

 

I would do it in two steps, especially if the shim has any weight on it. Plywood, or 1x, same difference

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When you said 1x last night my brain was not functioning, didnt realize you went 1 by ___ not 1X, thinking that it was some special material smile.gif . Wow was my brain fried.

 

Any idea on how to prevent this from happening? Should I use concrete sealer and seal it every fall? Any idea on how I can make it look like it wasn't patched? I'm guessing I would have to do a skim coat over the whole thing when done?

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Will it be better to use concrete to patch as it will contract and expand with the existing concrete, I read that hydraulic cement will not expand and contract with cement and it will ultimately crack again on me...

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Nightfinder,

 

As seen in the picture below that I circled in yellow, that is dirt/sand that is backfilled. Now everything I read says clear of all dirt/sand how the heck can I do that! Also, would it be advisable to stick long bars (small diameter) horizontially into the dirt to provide something for the concrete to bond to?

525

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When they built your steps They probably built the sides up first and then filled the void inside the stairway with what looks like sand and gravel.Then they added the treads and the landing.

 

You first have to remove all the bad repairs and loose material. Then remove the sand and other stuff to a depth of about 2-3 inches or more. Fill the voids with mortar mix. When this is dry, apply a stucco mix over the whole area and your steps will look beautiful.

 

BTW: Know why it failed at that corner? Water seeped in through the spot where the railing goes into the landing. That water froze ( many , many times over the years) and caused the failure.

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Thanks speed racer, yeah i figured it was something like that. The problem is the wintertime when everything is thawing b/c it warmed up a little and drips down onto the patio and makes its way down freezing and unfreezing. I think I'm going to seal everything up in the late fall to prevent this from happening again. Well here's to a spring project beers.gif

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View PostNightfinder,

 

As seen in the picture below that I circled in yellow, that is dirt/sand that is backfilled. Now everything I read says clear of all dirt/sand how the heck can I do that! Also, would it be advisable to stick long bars (small diameter) horizontially into the dirt to provide something for the concrete to bond to?

 

As gsg wrote, the source of the failure needs to be addressed. Chip around the wrought iron posts and patch with hydraulic.

Then, I would use hydraulic to hold back the loose sand only. Do not try to do the whole repair in one shot. Rod will giv the concrete/cement more to hold to. After securing the sand, and the landing as a whole, You could mix sand with cement for your finish coat to more closely match the original existing finish. Do a search on stucco for some mixing ideas. As I first said, this is how I would do a repair/bandaid. Concrete paint is the only way to get the repair to be the same color as the existing. Pressure wash the whole shebang, after your repair is totally cured, then paint.

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So a little update. I've so far used about 20lbs of cement patch to repair this as those big chunks were removed and I'm almost done, been doing it in stages. Now the question is, the quick set concrete I've been using is good for 1" depth repairs and I was thinking about doing a "skim" coat over the entire wall, landing, stairs, etc to make it look new/consistent. Now I nkow Quikrete sells a resurfacing cement that is good down to 1/8" thick covers which is great but is this stuff "less thick" than the quick cement? Just wondering how I can do the vertical parts of the steps and walls to make it all 1 good coat? Do I mix in a bit less water and apply it to the vertical parts that way? Has anyone resurfaced vertical portions before? Thanks.

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