Cement Step Repair in One Day — by Home Repair Tutor

Cement Step Repair in One Day — by Home Repair Tutor


Cement step repair—whew! After a long winter,
a lot of us have to do this. Hi there! I’m Jeff with Home Repair Tutor.
And in this video, I’m going to share with you a ton of different tips of how to get
your crumbling and decaying cement step looking a lot better. And it’ll be fixed in probably
less than a day. So let’s get started. I want to show you how
I did it at one of my own properties and how you could do this, too.
This step is in terrible shape. Check it out. It’s crumbling and it’s unsafe.
So the first step that you need to take is to undercut all the edges using a cold chisel
and a hammer. Undercutting will help the new concrete properly bond to the old concrete.
Another step you can do is take a hammer drill and, with a Tapcon drill, drill some holes
strategically into the old concrete step. And then you’ll place these blue Tapcon screws
into those holes wither using a hammer drill or an impact driver.
I like the Tapcon screws to be about ¼”-½” below the new concrete. You’ll have to estimate
where that is. But just know that these Tapcon screws will help anchor the new to the old.
The other thing you want to do is properly dust off the step because your concrete won’t
bond properly. So dust it or use a Shop Vac to remove all the dust.
Then apply Concrete Bonding Adhesive to the step using a paintbrush and just a cup. Now
I’m applying it liberally all over the step so that the new concrete will properly bond
to the old concrete. And I’m using bonding adhesive because I need more than ½” of new
cement. And I’m following the directions on the bonding adhesive bottle. It takes a little
while for this adhesive to dry so you’re going to have to wait 2-3 hours.
For this project, I’m going to be using Quikrete Quik-Setting Cement—whew, that’s a mouthful!
And it sets up in about 15-20 minutes. Now I’m holding Pam in my hand because I’m going
to be using it not to cook but to spray it onto the form. And in this case, I’m just
using a plywood form. So I’m spraying the Pam on so that the cement won’t stick to it.
Now you can turn the form around and place it flush up against the old step. Take some
cinder blocks or something heavy, and push it up against the form so that the form is
sitting plumb, which is just straight up and down.
So with your form in place, you can get all of your cement supplies ready to go. Oh, before
you do that though, make sure you use a respirator. Inhaling cement is just bad for you. So don’t
do it. So here are all the supplies that I’m going
to be using. I’ve got my plastic tub, my trowels, my water. And what I did is I estimated that
I needed about 3-4 bags of the Quik-Setting Cement. And I place the bags right next to
the tub. And I pour the cement into the center. And then after that, you want to create a
crater for the water. So pour the water in according to the directions. And then you
want to mix it up so that the consistency is smooth and just heavy enough that it’ll
barely slide off a trowel, and that it’s still moldable.
Use your margin trowel to scoop up the cement from the top and push it down into the recess
created by the wood form and your old step. So what you want to do is push down, put a
lot of downward pressure, on that cement. That way it will form and you can expect that
you’re going to have to use a steel trowel, like I’m doing here, to smooth out the edges
between the old cement and the new cement. So I just scrape them on the surface at a
45° angle. Then check for any low spots or high spots using a 24″ level. The low spots
you can fill in with the cement. And the high spots should be scraped off. So just do that
and you’ll have a nice level surface to work with.
Now if you do find any low spots, fill it in using more cement in the margin trowel.
Make sure you work quickly, especially if you’re using the Quik-Setting Cement.
Now you can remove or pull the cinder blocks out of the way and scrape on the edge of the
wood form and the new step. Pull the form out and you’ll see that you have a really
nice plumb surface, a nice straight up and down surface, but there’ll be voids too that
you need to fill in using the margin trowel and your steel trowel.
It’s as simple as taking extra cement and pushing it into those voids, and smoothing
it out. Now in this case, I used my steel trowel to scrape along the vertical surface.
You can also use your level to make sure that the surface is plumb or straight up and down.
Don’t forget to scrape off any of the new cement off of the old cement because you’ll
be left with a mess if you don’t do this. You can also round the edge of your new step
using an edging tool, like I’m doing here. Just do it steadily and smoothly across the
surface of that step. It really creates a nice, rounded surface.
One of the final steps is to smooth out the new cement using a moist sponge. In this case,
I have an old grout sponge hanging around so I just use that. They’re not very expensive;
they’re $3. And it really adds a nice effect to the new cement.
And then you should spray down and keep the new cement moist for at least 48 hours or
according to the directions. And in my case, I also added plastic to the step to retain
that moisture level in the new surface. And always remember to seal your cement when
you’re done with your project. This is super important.
Well there you have it. That’s how you fix a crumbling or broken cement step. Not too
bad, right? So if you have your own suggestions, please
add those to the comment section. I don’t have all the answers. I’m sure I might have
missed something. The purpose of this video is to help you learn,
and maybe you can help somebody else in the process, too.
All right. Well, remember you can always click the subscribe button over on YouTube to see
all of my videos. And you can go to HomeRepairTutor.com and sign up for the email newsletter that
comes out every single Friday along with the new video tutorial.
Until the next video, have a great day. Thanks so much for joining me. I really appreciate
it. And take care!

100 Replies to “Cement Step Repair in One Day — by Home Repair Tutor”

  1. Craig, I'm a concrete contractor, and if I were in your shoes I would rent a concrete saw that will cut at least 75% of the depth of the slab, cut it at a right angle off your house, preferably so the existing cuts are all spaced out evenly, snap a chalk line and remove an entire section. Use tap-con screws to fasten a 2×4 to the masonry below having the top flush with the bottom of the small ledge. Then after you establish the height of the slab, fasten a 2×10 to the 2×4. This will be your form with a matching ledge. Then you can simply order one cubic yard of a residential mix with air for exterior use. Pour it wet enough for you and a buddy to handle and screed the concrete immediately with a straight 2×4 and float the surface a few times, then if you have a steel trowel, trowel the surface slick then pull a broom in a straight line if it needs a broom finish, if not, just keep troweling until you have your desired look. * make sure to round over the edges, use any electric tool that will vibrate (I use a square palm sander) and vibrate the edge of your form to reduce "honeycombs" also apply an oil so your forum will come of after pouring. Plus you don't need sealer. I only use that on decorative concrete, or places like a garage where oil will spill and penetrate the concrete surface. That was a long comment… Uhhh, good job guy on video! Stevens Concrete Llc, N. C.

  2. Jeff – how do you deal with color matching the repaired step to the other steps so that the color looks natural and consistent after the repair? Is there a solution for this?

  3. All the bonding adhesives I've used state you need to put the concrete on IMMEDIATELY after applying – not waiting for it to dry. A dry adhesive is not an adhesive.

  4. You could have saved a lot of time using a concrete vibrator, rotary drill or hammer on the form to eliminate the voids and filling void step for a cleaner look….

  5. Hi Jeff, the tile contractors seem to like thinset to bond new concrete to the old. Have you ever done it that way?

  6. i have done this same thing on some of my properties as well. It's beem over three uears now, and they still look excellent.

  7. Does anyone know why there is always rusty water on the sidewalk just below the bottom of my recently rebuilt steps when it has not rained?

  8. I like this method and was wondering if it would be suitable for repairing a typical wedge corner pop on a concrete slab? I have 4 corners to repair that support a 2 story brick wall.

  9. nope…don't brush it or vacuum it……WASH it down thoroughly…then apply your new cement to old DAMP cement
    If you apply new cement to old DRY cement…the dry side will quickly absorb the moisture from the new mix, and thus weaken the immediately adjacent layer of new mix….plus create a weak bond.

  10. Great video!

    An area about 4 feet long by 12 inches wide of the cement on the entrance to my garage, just outside the overhead door, looks like that step you fixed. A lot of "popcorn" but the damage is not very far below the surface.

    Your repair method seems applicable to my situation, but I'm wondering if I would need to "excavate" down below the surface and/or perhaps cut a perimeter around the bad section and dig a bunch of the bad stuff out, or if I could just chisel it out a bit and fill and smooth it. Sort of like a thick top coat?

    Repairs like this seem problematic, especially if you don't have a concrete saw. However, maybe chiseling it out and filling it using your methods and those products could work.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Best Regards!

  11. instead of going through all that shit just chip off the rest of the step make a form & re pour the concrete & make a new step which will last a lot longer than that shit your doing very amature & crappy job!! do it once & do it right

  12. I am a cement finisher and have been pouring concrete since 1974. That's a good video however there was a few things I would like to suggest. First of all you should have used the edger before you took off the wood that would give you a nice clean Edge along the top to follow once the wood was off. Also before you took off the wood and you were pouring the concrete you should tap the face of the wood with a hammer. That would have gotten rid of most of the honeycombing. That's what it's called! It was good that you used the sponge at the end and you did a nice job🖒

  13. You're not supposed to wait for the bonding adhesive to dry before adding the fresh material!
    Bonding adhesive = GLUE.
    Have you ever heard of anyone applying glue to only one of two parts that require bonding, and wait for the glue to dry before joining with second part?
    Decent video otherwise.
    Good thing you placed the tapcons and sealed – that's what's holding your concrete together, if it still is so

  14. thank you it helps me a lot I got a neighbor next to my house that his steps is connected to my steps and his steps is cracking and mines is cracking as well so that will help me to fix both of ours thank you so much

  15. If you were smart you should paint the steps lol, I thought your repair was going to try to match the existing steps so it doesn't look like a patch job… just paint the steps mate those stairs will always look like a patch job untill…

  16. One of my tradesmen took a chunk out of one of my steps leading to the front door.  It is only about 2 inchesbut it is unsightly.  Wondering how to do that.

  17. Thank you your video was easy to follow I will try to fix some steps in my backyard. The concrete contractor's method was way too confusing for me I'll stay with you.

  18. Rookie video: 1) visual result missing, 2) no bonding control, 3) no dust control, 4) no materials control etc.

  19. You repaired the “concrete” step with the “cement” material. You kept saying you were going to “repair the cement step” …it’s a concrete step. Cement is one of the materials in concrete!

  20. Cement is a grey powder, concrete is what happens after you add water. And it cures. I guess no one else figured this out. Get it right people.

  21. You can add short strand fiber to the mix and really give the new repair excellent mechanical strength

  22. Hi Jeff – your video indeed helped me a lot to fix my crumbling stairs at the front of my house. I would really appreciate if you answer these questions: (1) After the Quikrete quick setting cement is dried, I can see some fresh cracks in the stairs. how can these be fixed? (2) how to use the sealer and how many days one should wait before using the sealer? (3) Is is recommended to use resurfacing cement to smooth out the cemented / concrete area? Kindly advice.

  23. I get that it none of the steps have it, but there is obviously NO WAY you could do this if you needed to put a bull nose on the step.

  24. My steps are in better condition than the one on this video, but I can see parts getting ready to start to crumble. But does anybody know, could the entire step been done with the "Quickcrete" so it would turn out to look complete re-done? Or does some of the surface have to be "Scuffed" for adhesion. Any input would be great Guys/Girls. Thanks for the video.

  25. Should have mixed two batches, one 80% adding pea-gravel, which would make the casting much stronger, then before it fully sets up, finish off with a Quick Crete topper. I did this to a repair exactly like yours using Red Head bolts without pea-gravel and it eventually cracked and a chunk fell out. Then I was told by a cement guy to use pea-gravel the next time you do it. It will strengthen the core of it. So a few years later I did. Still holding but I don't think those stairs are used as much…

  26. Pretty good . If you have a bigger area you can use chicken wire instead of those tap cons , it'll give you some extra grab.

  27. My step is hollow and I have to fix the face, the side. Suggestions? Should I use a mesh? Shoving Crete into the hole doesn’t seem like it will work; it will fall into the hollow space behind it.

  28. What kills me is what you think is going to be simple ends up being a bunch of tools and things that you don't possess. My dad was a Mason and he never had to use any of these tools to repair a step. Who wants to go out and buy some kind of drill they don't have I'm sorry it just too much. It's okay if you have all those things but there are simpler ways to do this.

  29. Why use a respirator? If you breath in the cement dust it will bond with the bronchi in your lungs and help reinforce them for years to come.

  30. The voids would have been a lot less had you placed the concrete more carefully when the form was in place.

  31. you need to dampen the old cement before apply bonding adhesive. remember to mix the bonding adhesive with OPC too 50/50

  32. That fast drying concrete dries too fast. It starts to set up inn under 5 minutes.
    So that 15 minutes that it says on the bucket is BS.

  33. I drill some 3/8th inch rebar into step repair like that. Get it drilled into something real good and bend it where you want. The tapcons do help though. I use them on smaller patching jobs where rebar won't fit

  34. A pressure washer or compressed air will do a better job of cleaning the surface prior to applying the adhesive.

  35. Yo dont dirty the level doing that.use a wood rod and put the level on the rod yo check level buy rod morta with the wood not with the level at all.

  36. I'm wondering how durable this repair is in a geographic area where there are seasonal extremes in temperature that can vary from -40c, (40 below F) in winter, to +38 C, (100 F) in summer..

  37. Good detail. I like the thoroughness. The brick and wood idea to hold the caste in place is a good idea. It would be nice to know timing of things per different intervals.

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