Up to two hours of working time, plus roughly 24 hours to dry.
You might need a few supplies.
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What you'll need:
Stiff nylon brush (optional)
Masonry/concrete finishing brush
Mixing tub or 5-gallon bucket
Power washer (optional)
Two 1-inch boards (only needed for repairing corners and length is flexible; 2 inches–6 inches or more)
Power drill (Only needed for repairing corners)
Duct tape (only needed for repairing corners)
Concrete bonding agent
Cooking spray (only needed for repairing corners)
Liquid laundry detergent (optional)
Whether it’s substantial damage or regular wear and tear, structural issues can turn a concrete step into a concrete fall (or a concrete eyesore, at the very least). Luckily, you can learn how to repair concrete steps to fix areas that are crumbling, chipped, or cracked instead of paying for professional concrete repairs. Here are all the tips and tools you need to get it done.
Prepping to Repair Concrete Steps
Before repairing the concrete, sweep the steps to remove any dirt, rocks, and debris. Then, hit the area with a stiff spray from the garden hose.
For stained or heavily soiled steps, scrub them with a stiff-bristled brush and some liquid laundry detergent. You can also bring in a local power washer or rent the equipment at your local hardware store. Either way, approach this task with caution—too much pressure can further damage the steps, which will require more work to fix.
Chip Away Any Crumbling Concrete
Use either a wire brush or a hammer and chisel to knock off any loose bits of concrete from the damaged areas. Avoid using the wire brush to scrub away surface dirt and stains, as it can scratch the concrete.
Mix the Concrete
Mix up a batch of concrete according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.
“Be extra careful in the mixing phase,” says Matt DiBara, Angi Expert Review Board member and owner of DiBara Masonry. “For flat repairs, you typically want the consistency of thick pancake batter; for corners, add a little less water, so it forms more of a putty.”
Wet the Area
Photo: jpldesigns / Adobe Stock
If the concrete steps aren’t already wet, give them a light spray with the hose (or watering can).
Lay an L-Shaped Form (if Repairing Corners)
If you’re repairing corners, create a makeshift form to hold the concrete’s shape as it dries:
Screw or duct tape two wooden boards together to make an L-shaped form.
Spray the form with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to the concrete.
Lay the L-form flush with the top of the step.
Duct tape the L-form firmly in place.
Apply Concrete Bonding Agent
Using a paintbrush, apply a thick coat of concrete bonding agent to the areas you’ll be repairing. Before you apply the concrete, ensure the bonding agent is not puddling or dripping. For best results, you want it absorbed into the concrete but still damp to the touch.
Apply the Concrete to the Steps
Photo: geargodz / Adobe Stock
Grab your trowel and scoop out some of the concrete onto the areas where you applied the bonding agent. If you’re fixing step corners, press the concrete firmly into your wooden form.
Smooth the Concrete
Next, use the flat side of your trowel to smooth the concrete until it is flush with the stair’s surface. Use firm pressure to fill in any holes.
Finish the Surface
While the concrete is still wet, brush the surface with a concrete finishing brush or a masonry brush. This is an important step if you’re repairing a large area on the surface, as smooth concrete can become slippery when wet.
Allow the Concrete to Dry
Allow the concrete to dry overnight or however long the instructions specify. Once it’s dry, you can remove the wooden form if you used one, and your concrete steps should be good as new!
For a quick and easy solution, you can also cover up any unsightly spots with potted plants, garden statues, lanterns, and other decorative items. Even if they don’t completely disguise the problem areas, they’ll still spruce up the overall look.
You can pour new concrete over old concrete, but cracks and other flaws will still come through. If the concrete has heaved, settled, or cracked, pouring new concrete won’t address any root structural problems. Knocking it down and rebuilding will be your best solution in that case.
If your concrete steps have crumbled or chipped, you can fix them with new concrete. For widespread damage, consider concrete resurfacing instead.