Increase your curb appeal by installing concrete steps in your home. Awe your visitors with your grand yet long-lasting concrete stairs. There are also many benefits from concrete steps, such as the lower impact on the environment, durability, and cost-effectiveness.
You can do the job all by yourself since there are many DIY projects successes; however, it would be best to let an expert do it. Proper installation with sufficient expertise and knowledge never results in a failed outcome. Whether you want to do the job yourself or not, you can read this blog to know more about concrete steps.
Without further ado, let’s start beautifying your entrance!
What are concrete steps?
Many homes and businesses feature concrete steps or concrete stairs as an entryway, making it the focal point. It can be colored, shaped, and textured to match any design. Moreover, poured concrete stairs offer a durable transition between the outside surfaces of your home and your front door.
What size should concrete steps be?
Before you decide, make sure that it adheres with your local building codes so there won’t be any problem. Height and depth are the two most important dimensions. A normal person’s stride should comfortably step into the proportions of the stairs. Generally, most people follow the 7-11 rules, which means the riser height must be 7 inches, and the tread depth must be 11 inches. However, in most places, local building codes specify the minimum and maximum riser heights and the minimum tread depth.
In addition, you must also measure the total rise of the stair. To determine the height of your landing, measure it from the ground up. For example, let’s say 4 risers of 6 inches, the total rise must be 24 inches. Usually, a comfortable riser is 6 – 8 inches high.
Follow this table for the most recommended riser/tread proportions:
Riser height 4″ to 4-1/2″
Tread depth 18″ to 19″
Riser height 5″ to 5-1/2″
Tread depth 16″ to 17″
Riser height 6″ to 6-1/2″
Tread depth 14″ to 15″
Riser height 7″ to 7-1/2″
Tread depth 10″ to 11″
How to make concrete steps
This can be a complex process, so keep your concentration at its peak so you’d be able to perform the procedures correctly.
Step 1: Figure out the size
Have you already read the thing above? If yes, this step is familiar to you. Check the current building codes first before doing deciding! Calculate the total rise and run of the steps. To figure out the run, A tread should have a depth of 12 inches and a rise of 6 to 8 inches. Steps leading to an entry should have wide treads and landings that people can comfortably stand on.
Step 2: Prep the base
Building concrete steps requires extreme base preparation. It is recommended that your concrete stairs are at least six inches wider than the doorway on each side. Remove any grass or topsoil down to at least six inches below the surface.
After removing the leveled area and the topsoil, 0ut gravel or crushed rock on the area, tamp down the newly filled material with a hand tamper so that you’ll have a solid base to start from.
A tip for those living in a cold climate area, laying down 2 inches of Styrofoam before filling the gravel ensures that the frost does not accumulate under the steps and moves them up and down.
Step 3: Building concrete forms
For this step, 3/4 inch plywood, 2×8′ or 2×6′. Which material is best to use depends on how high and how long the stairs rise and run.
- Using 2×8’s. The bottom leg will be the longest; cut that first, then stack the remaining two by eights on top according to their runs,12 inches less than the bottom leg. Then, you can screw the 2×4’s together to form the sides.
- Using plywood. You have to cut out the sides of the stairs. Cut each piece to the correct height and run based on STEP 1’s measurements. Finished plywood should resemble a silhouette of a staircase.
Then, set the side forms in place, plumb them, and stake them with 2x4s on the outside to keep them in place. Use nails or screws to attach the risers to their sides. When the height differs between 7 1/4 inches and 5 1/2 inches (2×6), you may need to rip the 2×8.
Set the forms in place and level them with a builders level or laser level after they have been nailed, staked, and set in place. Remember that the stairs should slope away from the house so water will run off and not collect.
Ensure your forms don’t bow by using plenty of braces (2×4) since the weight of the concrete will push the forms outward.
Step 4: Pour the concrete
It’s time to pour over the concrete in the concrete stairs! Mix the concrete from bags of concrete, or if you don’t have much time, call a ready-mix concrete company for a pre-mixed concrete on a concrete truck. If you want to mix the concrete, that would be good, too. However, pre-mixed concrete from a ready-mix concrete company does not require much labor from you, which fastens the process.
It would be best if you started concrete pouring with the bottom step. To strengthen the concrete, use a hammer to tap the outside of the forms and a shovel to spade the inside. As you fill out the forms, level the top of each step with your filling level until you have filled the top.
Sagging concrete is highly ordinary, so don’t stress yourself over that. And to solve that, you can strike off the concrete again after 20 to 30 minutes. By now, it should be stiff enough to hold without sagging.
Use a handheld magnesium float for smoothing out the concrete surface. Let it sit until all the bleed water is gone.
Step 5: Finishing touches
The finishing process is crucial since it determines how beautiful the outcome of your project is. When trowing the surface, the concrete must be sufficiently dry for no visible water to remain on the surface but moist enough to create some cream. To create a nonskid texture on the concrete, use a broom after troweling the concrete smoothly. And then, it’s time to remove the risers from boards.
You can trowel or broom this surface once the riser boards are removed or use a wet sponge and cream to remove any air pockets. A sponge will produce a different texture to a broom.
Step 6: Curing concrete
The curing process happens by keeping the concrete wet. Waiting overnight after the finishing process would allow it to set. Removing the side forms the next day, patching any voids with concrete patch material, and hosing the concrete will help maintain its wetness. For concrete, the longer it is wet, the better.
Protect it with a concrete sealer; it also makes it easier to clean.
Call an expert
If the process sweeps you off their feet, it’s time to call an expert masonry contractor. Hiring an expert is a win-win situation. You will pay them, and you will get the highest standard quality service. Your concrete stairs will be your home’s asset, and guests will already get fascinated since you have something pleasing to welcome them.
Have them installed by an expert to keep you from future troubles and damages.