How To Repair Concrete Steps Pulling Away From A House
Concrete steps add curb value and are great to look at, when they’re in good shape, at least. The problem is, sometimes, your concrete steps gradually pull away from the house creating an unpleasant gap. It can be due to weathering and foundation problems, but how do you repair your concrete steps?
Use a small amount of concrete bonding adhesive to paint over the area where your concrete steps are starting to pull away from the house. The adhesive will help to attach the new patch of concrete to the old. Allow the adhesive to cure for 10 to 15 minutes before applying your cement patch.
When your concrete steps are pulling away from your house, it can point to foundation problems. It’s important to repair your steps if you have this problem, but foundation repair may be needed. While it is safe to live in a house with foundation problems, it can become dangerous when it gets worse.
Depending on the location of your concrete steps, it could be due to a weakened foundation. Your concrete steps could be pulling away from your house for several reasons, such as:
- Structural problems
- Leak in foundation
- Weather damage
Luckily, you can address the steps pulling away from the house before having the foundation repaired. It never hurts to have a contractor inspect your foundation when your notice your concrete steps pulling away.
Fixing Concrete Steps
You can tell if your concrete steps are pulling away from your house right away, and that’s a blessing. It’s often a problem that occurs gradually until it is noticeable. Whether the problem is big or little, fixing it right away is imperative and can be done easily.
Step 1. Clean the Area
You won’t be able to work with the concrete steps until you clean them first. Debris and dirt can wedge their way into the gap between your stairs and the house causing a major inconvenience. Depending on the size of the gap, you may need to use a vacuum with wet and dry capabilities.
It can be hard to reach all of the debris sometimes, and if so, you’ll need to manipulate the concrete. The best way to do that is by hammering the concrete, even if it sounds counterintuitive. That way, you can reach every necessary problem area and remove any debris that won’t allow you to work.
Step 2. Concrete Bonding
Examine the spot where the concrete steps are pulling away from the house. That is where you will need to apply concrete bonding to repair the steps. Use a brush to apply the bonding adhesive to the gap or damaged spot that requires attention.
Read the label of your bonding adhesive to figure out the necessary cure time before moving on to the next step. It should not take longer than 10-25 minutes to cure, but concrete bonding adhesive cure times vary by brand. Once the adhesive is fully cured, you will be free to move onto the next step and continue the repair.
Step 3. Mix Concrete
Now, it’s time for you to mix up a batch of quick-set concrete to repair your steps. Grab two buckets, a bag of concrete, a drill or trowel, and protective gloves and eye gear. You will need to have all of the materials gathered and at your side as the concrete sets fast and you won’t have time to run around.
Open your bag and pour the concrete into an empty bucket. Use a trowel or drill to agitate and stir the concrete mix to loosen it up. Now, fill a separate bucket with cold water, and slowly pour it into the bucket with the concrete.
Be liberal with your use of cold water, as using less can give you thicker, stronger concrete. Bring your concrete mix to a consistency that you are comfortable with, and it is ready to be poured.
Step 4. Apply the Concrete
Bring your bucket with concrete over to the steps and have a trowel on hand. Your concrete bonding adhesive should be cured by now, and it will ensure that the concrete takes to the steps. Approach the gap between the concrete steps and your house and begin applying the concrete.
Each layer of concrete that you apply should be thin, and you can repeat the process until it’s sufficiently filled. Work quickly so that the concrete is still workable as you apply it with the trowel.
Step 5. Patch the Steps
As you apply the concrete, alternate between the mix and patching material. The patch should be applied thinly as well, and it will take to both the adhesive and concrete mix. Switch back and forth between the scooped edge and smooth edge of the trowel so that the patch and concrete sit evenly on the steps.
The patchwork and concrete must be unformed so that either material doesn’t stand out. The last thing that you want is for the materials to dry unevenly, both for structural and visual reasons.
Step 6. Finishing Touches
Now, smooth and blend the edges of the new concrete and patch using a rubber float. You can go back over it with the smooth side of the trowel if there are any inconsistencies. It’s important to check the weather to see if you’re expecting rain or high humidity, and if so, you’ll need to cover the curing concrete with plastic.
Give yourself between 1 and 2 days for the concrete and patch to fully dry before you touch them again. If you used plastic wrap, you could now remove it and apply a sealant to the new concrete and stairs as a whole. A sealant will work wonders in retaining the integrity and strength of the concrete, and you can apply it to the entirety of the steps.
Now, you are done, and your concrete steps will no longer appear to be pulling away from the house. It’s important to emphasize that while this fix works, your steps could still be a sign of foundation problems. If that is the case, you’ll want to enlist the help of a professional to ensure that foundation damage doesn’t cause this problem again.
How much does it cost to repair concrete steps?
Having concrete steps professionally repaired can cost up to $500, if not more, for the whole job. It all depends on the severity of the damage as well as the hourly rate of the contractor that you hire to do it. Hourly rates cost an average of $200 per hour, but it could be as little as $100, or upwards of $300 per hour.
Do concrete steps need rebar?
Yes, concrete steps need rebar to help support the structure of the stairs. Rebar also helps support the concrete steps to be bound to the sidewalk and even to the house. If your concrete steps were put in without rebar, that could be a cause of them pulling away from the house.
What do concrete steps cost?
Concrete steps generally cost $2,000, but they can cost as much as $5,000 for construction and labor. It all varies based on the size of the steps, materials used, and hourly rate of the professionals. Small concrete steps can cost as little as $800-$900, but that can be hard to come by.
How much does it cost to repair concrete stairs?
Depending on the amount of the damage, you could spend up to $500 or more for concrete step repair. Hourly rates for a job like that vary between $100 and $400, but it’s often a quick job for professionals. That is why repairing your concrete steps when they pull away from the house is the best option.
How long do concrete steps last?
Concrete steps last an average of 30 years, but they can last up to 40 or more years. Exposure to the elements, such as humidity, rain, and snow, plays a big role in how long concrete steps last. The best bet to make your concrete steps last for years to come is to apply a concrete sealer to them when they are done.
Summing It Up
Clean your concrete steps, then go over the gap with concrete bonding. Once you’ve done that, you must mix concrete and alternate between applying that and patchwork. Use the smooth end of a trowel to make the concrete and patch even throughout.
You have to work quickly so that you can keep a strong consistency with the concrete. When you have smoothed out the concrete and patch, you can apply a sealant to it. Cover the steps with plastic as they dry if you are expecting any rain.
You should have no trouble repairing your concrete steps that are pulling away from the house.
Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.
More by Nick Durante