Concrete is strong and is an excellent choice for driveways, walkways and steps. However, temperature changes, soil movement and general wear and tear can cause concrete to crumble or crack. On steps, this typically happens on the edges. Walking across the uneven surface can cause accidents and falls. Repairing concrete is a home-safety issue. If you perform repairs yourself, mending concrete steps is an economical solution.
Things You'll Need
- Safety glasses
- Wire brush
- Hammer or small sledgehammer
- Scrap wood, 1 inch by 4 inch, 1 inch by 6 inch or 1 inch by 1 inch, depending on the step size
- Duct tape
- Concrete bonding material
- Concrete patch
- Plastic sheeting (optional)
Put on your safety goggles and brush the concrete with the wire brush. Use the hammer and chisel to remove concrete beneath the area where it is crumbling. Work in an inverted "V" shape until you reach solid concrete. If loose concrete is not removed, the patch will break loose.
Make a concrete form from scrap lumber or new lumber, held together with screws. Build the form in an L-shape so you can patch one side at a time. Apply oil to the inside of the form so that it does not stick to the concrete. Hold the form in place against the first corner you intend to patch, using pieces of duct tape. Align the form with the top of the step or the patch will be uneven.
Apply the concrete bonding agent to the concrete, according to the directions. Mix a small amount of a quick-set concrete in a bucket, following the package directions. Use a trowel to apply the mix to the step. Push the mixture into the space and against the form. Overfill the corner section so the concrete is just above the top of the form. Use the trowel to smooth the mixture evenly.
Place plastic sheeting over the step to speed curing. The sheeting is optional, but concrete can crack if it dries too quickly and the plastic helps hold in the moisture. In any case, let the concrete set up overnight without walking on the steps. When it's dry, remove the plastic and the form.
Tips & Warnings
- If you don't have scrap lumber, you can use plywood or similar material to create the L-shaped form.
- The oil needed for the inside of the form can be motor oil, cooking oil or even nonstick spray.
- The concrete bonding agent and quick-set concrete can be purchased at a hardware or home-improvement store.
- Photo Credit step at pool image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
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