Concrete is one of the most durable construction materials you can find, but over time, it can start to show signs of damage just like anything else. This is especially true with concrete steps, which are constantly exposed to the outdoor elements and are under stress around the edges. If you are a homeowner, crumbling steps might entice you to grab a few tools and try to tackle a DIY concrete repair job. Here are a few of the most common questions about repairing concrete steps that you should know the answers to before you get started.
What kind of concrete mix should you use?
You can buy concrete mix at just about any hardware store, but you will need a product that is specifically made for concrete repairs. The products made for concrete repair have polymers in the mix that act as an adhesive that will help the new product adhere to the existing surface. If you cannot find a product made for concrete repairs, you can use traditional bagged concrete mix and add a liquid polymer agent for adhesion during mixture.
What tools will you have to have to get the job done?
As long as the concrete steps are not majorly damaged, you will not have to build forms around each step. However, forms made from plywood and bracing materials can be helpful to give you smooth, clean lines and edges. Additionally, you will need a concrete edging tool that is made to create a curved or cornered lip in the wet mixture. You should also have the traditional concrete tools, such as a float sponge, several metal trowels, and a mixing bit for your drill.
How long should you let the repair job cure before the steps are safe to walk on?
This can depend heavily on the climate where you live. If the temperatures are cooler, it may take a little longer for the steps to cure completely. However, you should expect that your steps will be generally dry enough to withstand pressure within a few days in most cases. The full curing process, if you plan to add rails or other metal fasteners, can actually take a few months.
When you have the right tools and a little guidance, you can achieve a good concrete repair job. However, it is always a good idea to talk to a professional, like those at Winnipeg Sturgeon Construction Ltd., before you get started to make sure you fully understand the process to avoid any mistakes.