HOW TO BUILD CONCRETE STEPS – Building concrete steps is not the easiest of DIY jobs. In fact it takes careful calculation and preparation in order to make them. This job does require a fair amount of physical effort and it would be best if you had a friend or two to help you. If you have any doubts then call in an experience builder. In this guide we’ll cover the things you’ll need and what you should do to create a useful and good looking concrete step system.
The first thing you need to do is decide where you will build your steps and how high the steps will be. It is likely that you already have a high point and a low point of where the steps will run so you will need to dig out this area to the required width of your steps.
Once you have dug out the area, you need to make a form for the back and sides. These can be made from rough timber or plywood. The height of the timbers needs to be the same height as each step. So make a rectangle or box frame to fit the area you dug out or to the height and length of the steps. Once the this is done, you can secure it in place using wooden stakes.
You should now have the first form in place and it’s now time to make the second. This can be made in exactly the same way albeit this time you need to reduce the width to the size of the tread that you want to create. You should make each tread 1.5′ to 2′ as this provides a nice landing area for your feet. Once you have made this form, place it on top and to the back of the form underneath and secure it to the timber frame below, using nails or screws.
Repeat Step 3 until you have reached the top step. Once all the forms are securely in place you should see that you have formed the basics of the steps and you are ready to move onto the next stage.
Pour aggregate in the bottom of the first form and level. You will now need to mix the concrete and pour this. Depending on how big your steps are it might be easier to use a cement mixer. If you do not have one, you can hire one from most good Tool Hire companies and they are not overly expensive to hire for a day or two.
Pour the cement, starting from the bottom form and work your way up. Level each step as you go and roughly smooth off. Don’t be tempted to smooth the steps too much you want them to remain rough so that your shoes have grip when you walk up and down them. Depending on the type of cement you are using and the strength of the mix, you might find that the concrete starts to cure quickly. It is not advisable to let the cement dry out, or cure, too quickly as this can weaken the cement. Use a garden hose with a sprinkler head attached to keep the surface of the concrete wet. As concrete cures it turns from a very dark gray to a very light gray and when it is fully hardened it will look very light in colour.
Before you decide to let your concrete cure completely consider adding a layer of grit to the surface of each step. This will provide a really nice finish plus produce non-slip treads, making the steps safer to use.
Leave the concrete to fully cure for 2 to 3 days and then you can remove the wooden framework. If the steps look a little unfinished in places you can always mix up a small quantity of mortar and touch up the finish with a trowel.