How to Build Cement Steps

Author Joel Sims

Posted Apr 8, 2023

Reads 10.4K

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Building concrete steps is a practical and cost-effective way to enhance the exterior of your home or business. Whether you're looking to replace old, worn-out steps or want to create an attractive entryway, building cement steps can be a simple and rewarding DIY project. With the right tools, materials, and guidance, anyone can successfully tackle this project.

However, before diving into the construction process, it's important to understand the basics of building cement steps. Not only will this ensure that your finished product is safe and sturdy, but it will also save you time and money in the long run. In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about how to build cement steps from start to finish. So grab your hard hat and let's get started!

Essential Steps to Take Prior to Starting

Before you start busting up your yard to build concrete steps, there are a few essential steps you need to take. First, identify if there are any wells back there that could become uncovered during the demo process. You don't want anyone falling in a well because you forgot it was there!

Next, determine if there have been steps built before and if they're still visible. If not, you'll need to create a plan for the new steps. Also, check if there's a glass access panel built into your basement covered by dirt or debris. Finally, make sure you obtain all necessary permissions from the local municipality - preferably paying for a building permit - to avoid any legal issues down the line.

Creating a Perfect Blend for Your Concrete Stairs and Steps

When it comes to building exterior stairways, there are certain performance requirements you need to meet for durability and safety. To ensure that your concrete steps can withstand outdoor slabs resistance, deicing chemicals in cold climates, low permeability wear resistance, and prevent slips on step edges; you need to use the right concrete mixtures. The key is to have a proper concrete mix design with a low water-cement ratio, adequate air entrainment, and the desired concrete properties that match your weather conditions instruct. This way, you can achieve high strength stairways that cure properly and have excellent concrete quality.

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To pour concrete steps that last long and look great, you need to consider various factors such as the water-cement ratio and the type of deicing salts used in your area. By optimizing your cement-to-water ratios and using admixtures like air-entraining agents or plasticizers; you can create a perfect blend of concrete that meets all your requirements. Additionally, curing is essential for maintaining the strength of your stairs; make sure they cure properly before exposing them to any traffic or weather conditions. With these tips in mind, you can confidently build durable steps that will stand the test of time while adding value to your property's curb appeal.

Hand float near wall before screeding

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When building concrete steps, it's important to use a hand float near the wall before screeding. This step helps ensure that the concrete is evenly distributed and eliminates any air pockets. A mag short can also be used to smooth out any bumps or imperfections. By taking the time to properly prep the area with a hand float and mag short, you reduce the chance of splattering concrete and create a more professional-looking finished product.

Effortlessly glide to the top of your page

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One of the most crucial steps in building concrete steps is using the bull float and hand float to ensure a smooth surface. The bull float, a large rectangular tool, is used to level out the concrete while the hand float smooths out any imperfections left behind. It's important to use both tools in directions perpendicular to each other to achieve maximum smoothness. With these simple tips, you can effortlessly glide to the top of your page with beautifully constructed concrete steps that will last for years to come.

Smooth Out Your Edges for Perfect Form Removal

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When building concrete steps, it's crucial to pay attention to the details, including the edges. One of the most important aspects of creating a smooth finish is using control joints. These are grooves cut into the concrete at regular intervals that allow for expansion and contraction without causing cracking. Another tip is to make long passes with your trowel when smoothing out the surface, which can help prevent ridges from forming. Finally, take extra care with the edges by using a hand trowel or edger to create a clean and precise finish. By following these steps, you'll be able to achieve a professional-looking result every time.

Cover forms with evaporation retardant

If you're building concrete steps, it's important to take precautions during the curing process. High temperatures, low humidity, and high winds can cause the surface of the concrete to dry out too quickly, leading to cracking and other issues. To combat this problem, many crews coat their form boards with evaporation retardant. This is a substance that helps keep the surface workable longer by preventing moisture from evaporating too quickly. The retardant is typically applied undiluted using a sponge trowel or a spray film. By covering your forms with evaporation retardant, you can ensure that your concrete steps come out looking smooth and crack-free.

BONUS TIP: Store tools on concrete to prevent drying

BONUS TIP: When building concrete steps, storing your tools on concrete can help prevent them from drying out. This is important because when concrete dries, it becomes hard and difficult to remove. By placing your tools face down on a concrete surface, you are preventing moisture from escaping and keeping them moist for the next time you need to use them. If your tools do happen to dry out, switching back to a wet surface or using a tool covered in damp cloth can help break up any dried chunks.

Securing Your Wall: Essential Tips You Need to Know

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Securing your wall is essential to ensure the safety of your home. One tip you need to know is to protect the exposed portion of your wall by applying a self-adhering roofing underlayment commonly used for roofs, called ice water. This material provides an extra layer of protection against moisture and prevents damage caused by water infiltration. By using this method, you can rest assured that your walls are protected from harsh weather conditions and will stand the test of time.

Discover the Ways to Strengthen Your Step Form Board

Strengthening your steps form board is essential for building durable and sturdy concrete steps. One way to do this is by using high-quality lumber, such as pressure-treated plywood or waterproof panels. Another method is to reinforce the boards with metal brackets, ensuring they remain stable during the pouring process. Lastly, applying a release agent to the surface of the board will prevent concrete from sticking and facilitate easy removal once it has set. By following these tips, you can achieve strong and long-lasting steps that will withstand years of use.

Unlock the Secrets of Your Surfaces: Tap Them with a Hammer

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When building concrete steps, tapping the surfaces with a smaller hammer can reveal valuable information about its strength and quality. By tapping the surface, you can detect any smaller voids that may exist in your concrete. If you notice hollow sounds, this could indicate that there are voids present in the concrete which could weaken its structure over time. Using a smaller hammer is crucial as big hammers may send concrete flying and cause damage to the form board. Additionally, if the sound produced is more solid than expected, it could mean that the poured dryer and stronger than anticipated.

Clean Your Pathway: Sweep Away Dirt and Debris with Ease

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Cleaning your pathway is just as important as building it, and sweeping away dirt and debris can be an easy chore start. After building concrete steps with side form boards, it's important to use a regular push broom to clean up any leftover materials. However, it's crucial to avoid overly aggressive grooves that could hurt bare feet or make sweeping more difficult. A pattern raise can also help ensure a smooth surface for easy cleaning in the future.

Smooth out your Pathway - How to Screed Your Sidewalk

If you're looking to build concrete steps, it's important that your sidewalk is smooth and level. One of the best ways to achieve this is by using a screed board. This tool helps to evenly distribute the concrete across your surface, ensuring that there are no bumps or uneven areas. Once you've poured your concrete, use a hand floated to smooth out any rough spots and give your sidewalk a polished finish. By following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful and functional pathway for all of your visitors to enjoy.

Essentials for Your Journey: Don't Leave Home Without Them

If you are planning to build concrete steps, there are some essentials that you definitely need to have with you on your journey. First of all, you will need the right tools and materials to get the job done correctly. These include form lumber, wooden stakes, wire ties, pig tail wire tie twister, bolt cutters, angle grinder and measuring tape.

Next up is the concrete ingredients: cement mix aggregate water sand. For larger projects, a concrete mixer (optional) can be very helpful in getting everything mixed together properly. Once your mixture is ready to go, using a flat board or bull float to level it out is important before smoothing it with a magnesium float.

Finally, before you start building your concrete steps, make sure you have everything set up and ready to go. This includes having all of your tools and materials on hand and knowing exactly what steps you need to take in order to complete the project successfully. By following these essential steps and having the right equipment at your disposal, building concrete steps can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience!

Ensure Evenness: The Key to Perfection

"Ensure Evenness: The Key to Perfection" is one of the most important steps in building concrete steps. When constructing concrete steps, it is crucial to make sure that each layer of concrete is evenly spread and leveled to prevent any cracks or uneven surfaces. This can be achieved by using a straight edge tool and carefully measuring each layer's depth and height. Evenness not only guarantees perfection in your finished product but also adds durability and safety to your structure, making it last longer with minimal maintenance needed.

Ensuring Your Shape is Square: A Quick Guide

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One of the most important steps in building concrete steps is ensuring that your shape is square. To do this, you'll need a framing square or a large speed square. Before pouring your concrete, measure diagonally across the corners and adjust until both measurements are equal. Your crew checks will thank you later for taking the time to ensure a level, sturdy set of steps. Keep reading for more tips on building concrete steps!

Screw steps on from the back side

Screw steps on from the back side! This is a great technique to keep your concrete steps sturdy and well-built. After putting forms and form boards in place, screws work best when attached to the back of the step. By doing this, you can easily remove any excess concrete that may cause damage to your newly built stairs. This also ensures that each step is properly secured and will last for years to come.

Revamp Your Form Experience with Pull Side Forms

If you're looking to revamp your form experience when building concrete steps, consider using pull side forms. These are side form boards that are attached to the deck and then pulled away from the concrete once it has set. When removing the forms, be gentle and don't pull hard as this can damage the concrete. Instead, gingerly tap the sides of the form boards to loosen them before pulling them away. By not aggressively pulling, you'll bring large chunks of concrete with you when removing the forms which will result in a smoother finish on your steps.

Discover How to Make Outdoor Steps Safer with Proper Height

When building concrete steps, it is important to consider the dimensions that will make them safe and functional. One of the most important dimensions is the riser height, which refers to the vertical distance between each step. The maximum riser height allowed by application local building codes varies depending on location, but in general, it should not exceed 7 inches. On the other hand, the tread depth - which is the horizontal distance between each step - should be at least 11 inches for risers up to 4 inches high, and quikrete recommends using a 7-11 rule for higher steps.

If you sacrifice functionality in favor of aesthetics when building concrete stairways, you may end up with steps that are beautiful but dangerous to use. To make outdoor steps safer, it's crucial to ensure that they comfortably accommodate people's natural stride length and gait. This means finding a balance between maximum riser heights and minimum tread depth that allows users to climb or descend without feeling cramped or off-balance. By following application local building codes and industry recommendations for maximum riser heights and minimum tread depth - such as the 7-11 rule - you can create outdoor steps that are both attractive and safe for everyone who uses them.

Discover the Guru Guide: Your Key to Unlocking Expertise

Glenn Anderson has been a construction pro for over 27 years and is now sharing his knowledge through the Guru Guide. Prior Lake, MN HES provides concrete steps on finishing slabs, pouring stoops, laying block, stacking stone, and more. The Construction Pro Tips editors highlight products and techniques that you will find interesting.

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The Guru Guide offers more than just DIY skills and techniques. It promotes gear and apparel, industry news, pro tips, tools equipment, garage workshop organization tips, power equipment recommendations as well as utility trailers for transportation needs. Additionally offering home inspiration on energy saving tips to help with saving money on your house utilities bills or storage organization ideas to declutter your house. Outdoors enthusiasts can also take advantage of deck patio design ideas or yard garden structures suggestions while keeping pests under control with stinging pests pest control products. Lastly technology innovation has made its way into the home by offering home security & smart home options. Subscribe to our magazine subscription today or visit our shop for DIY books & project plans or sign up for DIY University at follow us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I build concrete steps?

To build concrete steps, first create a form for the steps using wood or metal, then mix and pour the concrete into the form. Once the concrete has set and cured, remove the form to reveal your new steps.

How much fill do I need for concrete steps?

The amount of fill needed for concrete steps depends on the depth and width of the steps, as well as any surrounding landscaping. It is best to consult a professional or use an online calculator to determine the exact amount needed for your specific project.

How do you build concrete steps?

To build concrete steps, create a solid base and frame using wood or steel, pour the concrete into the frame, smooth and level the surface, and let it cure for at least 48 hours before removing the frame.

How wide should concrete steps be for a front door?

The width of concrete steps for a front door should be at least 3 feet to comfortably accommodate foot traffic.

How do you finish a concrete staircase?

To finish a concrete staircase, you need to clean the surface thoroughly, apply a coat of sealer, and then add a layer of concrete paint or stain. Use a non-slip additive for safety and allow each layer to dry completely before adding the next.

Joel Sims

Joel Sims

Writer at iHomeRank

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Joel Sims is a passionate writer who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with others. He has been writing for several years and has covered various topics, including technology, lifestyle, and health. Joel's writing style is engaging, informative, and easy to understand.

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