Give outdoor stairs a makeover and a safety upgrade for only $100.
Concrete steps crack and break up over time as weather extremes cause expansion and contraction. Water can also seep in and freeze, deteriorating the edges.
Once the breakup starts, it spreads and gradually gets worse, making the steps unattractive and unsafe.
The best way to fix concrete steps is to demolish them and pour new ones. Replacement is the only real option for steps that have sunk out of level or cracked all the way through.
But if the steps have only surface damage, you can save lots of cash and effort by resurfacing and recapping.
Resurface steps with minor holes, cracks and spalling and recap any with more extensive damage. Both types of repair must be painted over.
To recap, cut away the damaged areas and rebuild them using concrete.
Mix Bondall Bondcrete with water in a 4:1 ratio and apply to the surface of the old concrete. Top the steps with new concrete using Bondcrete and water in a 1:10 ratio to make the mix.
Allow a day for the repair and half a day to paint the steps for uniformity after the concrete has cured.
TIP Cutting concrete creates dust and flying chips so wear protective gear.
Clean step surfaces of wax, grease or loose contaminating materials then mix repair mortar with water. Spread mortar over the step with a brush, using a trowel to smooth and sponge to finish. Allow to dry then paint.
Use a circular saw with segmented diamond blade, setting the baseplate depth to at least 40mm. Make a series of cuts on the step, without forcing the saw, slicing the surface into blocks about 100 x 100mm.
Break the cut blocks off the step surface using a lump hammer and heavy-duty cold chisel. Begin at the front of the step and aim the chisel at the depth of the saw cuts, hitting with a heavy hand until each one pops off.
Make a cut as deep as possible along the back corner where the tread meets the riser using an angle grinder with a segmented diamond blade. Chisel out the last section of waste then hose away dust and debris.
Build formwork to the original step height and out in front by 40mm. Paint the surface with a bonding agent then mix new concrete and apply with a shovel. Work a screed board back and forth to level the surface.
As the mix hardens, give it a rough non-slip surface using a timber float and round the corners with an edger. Remove the formwork after 24 hours and let the steps cure for 12 weeks. Etch with an acid mix then paint.