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Concrete steps are commonly found at front or rear porches, or in other parts of the home or yard. While concrete is known for its strength and durability, it can suffer damage due to poor installation, impact from heavy objects, or even from simple wear and tear over time. Concrete steps can often show signs of damage in the form of crumbling edges or corners, as well as cracks or voids along the surface of the steps. Fortunately, it is possible to repair concrete steps on your own, using only basic tools and materials. This project will generally take no more than a few hours to complete, though the repaired concrete should be allowed to cure for up to a week without disturbance.
To repair concrete steps, start by sweeping the area clean with a broom to reveal the extent of the damage. Work the broom into loose corners or holes to remove all stones and debris. To repair concrete steps with cracks or small voids, fill these holes with a latex concrete caulk, then smooth the surface with a trowel. This material will dry relatively quickly, and requires no mixing.
Next, use a chisel and sledgehammer to cut away loose or damaged stone in the crumbling edges or corners of the steps. Create a v-shaped groove in along the top edge of each damaged step by removing the existing concrete. This provides a solid base that is capable of holding a repair patch. Clean this v-shaped groove using a hard-bristled brush to ensure it is free of dust and dirt, then wash it out with a garden hose.
The next step that needs to be taken to repair concrete steps involves building a form to contain and shape the new concrete. This can be done using 2x4s or sheets of lumber, which should be placed flush against the front and sides of the steps. These form components can be braced using stones or other heavy objects, and should be nailed or screwed tightly together. Many home improvement stores also sell adjustable forms designed to repair concrete steps in a variety of sizes.
After the form is in place, it's time to mix the concrete. Add the concrete mix to a wheelbarrow or bucket, then carefully add water as directed on the mixing instructions. Blend the concrete using a paddle bit or stirring stick. Before pouring the concrete, use a paintbrush to apply a concrete bonding agent to the area of the steps that you will be patching. This helps the patch adhere more securely to the steps.
Pour the concrete into the forms until the v-shaped groove is filled and the patched area is level with the rest of the surface. Use a trowel to remove excess material and smooth the patch. If the adjacent concrete is textured, you can try to match this texture by running a broom or rake lightly across the new concrete. Cover the steps with a sheet of plastic, and secure the plastic sheeting using duct tape. Allow the concrete to dry for a full week before walking on it, and mist it with water periodically so that it dries slowly and evenly.
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