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Can I fix this concrete step?

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[OP]
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Jun 21, 2003
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Stoney Creek, ON

Can I fix this concrete step?

So we have a set of stairs to our back yard and we use them daily. Unfortunately they had some cracks when we moved in a couple years ago and I never got them repaired. In the last week it seems they’ve made it right through on this one corner as it now wobbles when stepped on. The reality is that we’ve both been laid off awhile from the crisis so a full stair replacement isn’t in the cards. It’s in the long term goals as the area they are we plan to redo our driveway, the stairs and add a fence. It’s all kind of tied together and a project we hope to complete next spring.

However my concern is that the entire chunk will fall out before then which will really screw up our plans. The entire design hasn’t been decided and it’s likely the stairs will be different as part of the project. Of course if they fail right now I have no choice to replace the stairs and likely keep them exactly as is which is not ideal. Is there anything I can do in the short term to get another 6-8 months out of them? I’m fairly comfortable doing the work myself and handy but just don’t know what the right approach is here. Ideally something that can be injected would be best as the chunk hasn’t fallen entirely out and if I yank it out I’m not certain what will happen. In the meantime I’ve jammed a small piece of wood under the front edge as that is the direction it dips and the wood should limit its ability to dip down.
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10 replies
Deal Addict
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Jan 2, 2012
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KINGSTON,ON
It looks to me like it's been overlaid previously, meaning that the original stairs were failing, and someone poured a concrete mixture on top. I'm guessing here, based on how that patio stone is recessed underneath the bottom rise.
Injecting something is not going to hold. You'll have to chisel/cut out the cracked portions. A rotary hammer tool with a chipping bit is fastest, but unless you own, you'll have to rent the tool. Probably about $45 for a half day rental. An angle grinder with a masonry cut off wheel could be used, but the dust will be crazy. It's hard to get close to the wall and risers as well.

There are various repair mixes available. Top N Bond is one, but is limited to 1/2" thickness. There are other 30kg bagged repair mixes, such as this Fast Patch. You'll need to make a temporary form for the riser. Tapcons drilled into the solid portion of the riser to the right of the defect and a piece of 5/8" ply would work.
[OP]
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Jun 21, 2003
5746 posts
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Stoney Creek, ON
I fortunately do own an SDS drill so I could grab a chisel bit no problem for that. I'm not certain I am following entirely. Would I be chipping out the entire corner piece, making a new form, and pouring that portion again? Or are you saying to chip the crack to make a cleaner cut and then fill that?

I have plywood, tapcons and SDS so in that regard I am in pretty good shape.
Member
Dec 30, 2013
372 posts
232 upvotes
Mississauga
ChicoQuente wrote: So we have a set of stairs to our back yard and we use them daily. Unfortunately they had some cracks when we moved in a couple years ago and I never got them repaired. In the last week it seems they’ve made it right through on this one corner as it now wobbles when stepped on. The reality is that we’ve both been laid off awhile from the crisis so a full stair replacement isn’t in the cards. It’s in the long term goals as the area they are we plan to redo our driveway, the stairs and add a fence. It’s all kind of tied together and a project we hope to complete next spring.

However my concern is that the entire chunk will fall out before then which will really screw up our plans. The entire design hasn’t been decided and it’s likely the stairs will be different as part of the project. Of course if they fail right now I have no choice to replace the stairs and likely keep them exactly as is which is not ideal. Is there anything I can do in the short term to get another 6-8 months out of them? I’m fairly comfortable doing the work myself and handy but just don’t know what the right approach is here. Ideally something that can be injected would be best as the chunk hasn’t fallen entirely out and if I yank it out I’m not certain what will happen. In the meantime I’ve jammed a small piece of wood under the front edge as that is the direction it dips and the wood should limit its ability to dip down.
There's a product called Ardex ardifix, it's a 2 part polyurethane crack filler, not cheap, will need proper caulking gun for it, should hold you over until replaced
Deal Addict
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Jan 2, 2012
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KINGSTON,ON
ChicoQuente wrote: I fortunately do own an SDS drill so I could grab a chisel bit no problem for that. I'm not certain I am following entirely. Would I be chipping out the entire corner piece, making a new form, and pouring that portion again? Or are you saying to chip the crack to make a cleaner cut and then fill that?

I have plywood, tapcons and SDS so in that regard I am in pretty good shape.
Chip the whole corner out. Chipping out just the crack is a waste of time. If the whole corner is loose, it's just going to fail again. If you've got those tools, no point dicking around with a temporary fix, even if you are If you are absolutely sure you'll be replacing the steps. Unless you like to do these things twice. Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes
Even then, you'll need to find a stable base area. If the whole corner of the original step has sheared off, it'll have to be removed and repoured. Otherwise it'll move independently from the right side and crack again.
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AkaTdog wrote: There's a product called Ardex ardifix, it's a 2 part polyurethane crack filler, not cheap, will need proper caulking gun for it, should hold you over until replaced
I haven't used that particular Ardex product. Not sure if that would work if the piece is moving around. The issue I could see is getting clean enough surfaces for proper adhesion to a proper depth. It'd also depend on the size of concrete that is moving around.
[OP]
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Jun 21, 2003
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Stoney Creek, ON
MrFrugal1 wrote: Chip the whole corner out. Chipping out just the crack is a waste of time. If the whole corner is loose, it's just going to fail again. If you've got those tools, no point dicking around with a temporary fix, even if you are If you are absolutely sure you'll be replacing the steps. Unless you like to do these things twice. Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes
Even then, you'll need to find a stable base area. If the whole corner of the original step has sheared off, it'll have to be removed and repoured. Otherwise it'll move independently from the right side and crack again.
So basically chip out the corner, make a form and use that Sakrete Fast Patch to make a new corner ?
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Jan 2, 2012
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ChicoQuente wrote: So basically chip out the corner, make a form and use that Sakrete Fast Patch to make a new corner ?
Exactly.
[OP]
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Jun 21, 2003
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MrFrugal1 wrote: Exactly.
Thanks! I’ll let you know how it turns out... it probably won’t be pretty! Ha ha
Member
Dec 30, 2013
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Mississauga
MrFrugal1 wrote: I haven't used that particular Ardex product. Not sure if that would work if the piece is moving around. The issue I could see is getting clean enough surfaces for proper adhesion to a proper depth. It'd also depend on the size of concrete that is moving around.
True, nothing will stick to dust, this stuff is so watery when it comes out it will fill that whole crack and run to the bottom and basically self level out, I use it for repairing hair line cracks in cement and have had really good results, only issue is it dries almost yellow and it's not cheap but it works
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
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Paris
ChicoQuente wrote: Thanks! I’ll let you know how it turns out... it probably won’t be pretty! Ha ha
I agree with @MrFrugal1 ’s assessment. It wont be pretty, but some porch paint after will make it look good enough for now.

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