How to Replace Crumbling Front Steps


Whether your front steps are brick or concrete, over time they begin to crumble from wear and tear and have to be replaced. Concrete steps can be chiseled out to remove crumbling areas and recast. Loose bricks can be removed and replaced. However, a simple method for replacing crumbling front steps is to use pavers. Besides ease of installation, pavers are also easy to replace if one of them becomes damaged.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Heavy hammer
  • Cold chisel
  • Scrap lumber
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Concrete mix
  • Water
  • Mortar mix or masonry adhesive
  • Trowel
  • Pavers
  • Masonry saw
  • Remove crumbling steps. Whether brick or concrete, crumbling steps are removed by chiseling out the damaged material. Wearing safety goggles, use a heavy hammer and chisel to remove damaged steps. If steps are brick, the step-facing bricks forming the treads are all removed. If the steps are concrete, the concrete on each step is removed to the depth of a paver. If concrete is crumbling at a deeper level than the depth of a paver, remove all crumbling concrete and form up according to instructions in the next step.

  • Place forming boards, such as pieces of plywood, on three sides of the step that needs additional concrete to bring it up to the level of the other steps. Forming boards on outsides of the step can be braced if a piece of scrap lumber is nailed close to the top of the board, making a crossbar, and another length of lumber is pressed against the crossbar and wedged against the ground. Bricks can be placed against the board on the front of the step to hold the form in place.

  • Prepare ready-mix cement according to manufacturer's instructions. Pour cement onto the step until the desired depth is reached. Trowel smooth.

  • Cut pavers for treads. According to the comfort formula, treads 10 inches wide are matched with risers of 7 1/2 inches high. Treads are also more comfortable when there is a 1 inch overhang of the tread over the riser. However, when you are using the original construction for the risers, follow the established tread-riser pattern.

  • Bond the pavers to the risers with mortar or masonry adhesive. Follow manufacturer's instructions.

  • Allow the steps to cure for at least 30 days before applying any type of sealer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Step treads should slope slightly to allow water to drain off and prevent rain puddles or icy spots.
  • Always use safety goggles and protective clothing when replacing crumbling front steps.
  • Check local building codes before replacing steps.

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