How to build and maintain Concrete Steps | Concrete and Cement Contractor

Replaced weather damaged steps with new bullnose concrete steps.

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Last winter was not kind to our client’s steps. After reading our reviews and viewing our “YouTube channel” our client decided that we were best qualified to replace her concrete steps. Of course, this was a great decision.

 We used Fibermesh 150 with enriched 4000 psi concrete to prevent cracking and extend the life of the new steps.

Why does Concrete Fail?

       Philadelphia weather is brutal to concrete because of deicing materials which contain salt. So be careful to read the package of the deicing material that you plan to purchase. Some packaging disply “concrete safe” which might be false because if the package also reads “sodium” then it contains an element that is harmful to concrete steps and concrete walkways. So it can still be harmful only slightly less so. Calcium chloride is a much better solution, however, calcium is very expensive and you have to calculate a cost beneifit analysis when making the purchase. Here’s an article “Why is salt decaying my concrete?” which explains how salt causes concrete deterioration.

We provide our clients with a 5-year warranty on a full replacement of their concrete steps. There’s no reason for concrete steps to crack unless there is a settlement issue in the area.

For instance, in the article, “Logan: Still Sinking After 25 Years,” it states that 100 homes on occupying 35 acres had sinking concrete foundations. In our experience, we have also witnessed neighborhoods such as Mt Airey and West Philadelphia also suffering from improper sunken-outdoor-concretecompaction of land that is unsuitable for home construction. As a concrete and cement work contractor, we ensure that our concrete and cement work  is protected from settlement. We examine the concrete work in the area for evidence, then we add extra reinforcement such as deeper footings and rebar.

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Bullnose steps in Philadelphia vs other Cities

With flair, Philadelphia distinguishes itself with its food, fashion and also building techniques. Bullnose steps are unique to Philadelphia. Baltimore and a few other cities have variations of bullnosed steps. However they don’t match the deep indenture included in a  Philadelphia bullnose step. See our blog on how to build square concrete steps. How to build Concrete Steps |  Concrete and Cement work Contractor 

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Philadelphia

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Baltimore

We use a tool called a “bullnose tool,” which shapes the “bullnose” design into the concrete step. Watch the video below “How to repair Concrete steps in 2 min” to see how we apply the bullnose design to concrete steps with this bullnose tool.

How to care for your new concrete steps

After your new concrete steps are installed, a new railing usually follows or the original is reinstalled. In either case the drilled holes must be at least 4″ from the edge of the concrete. This is important because the closer the metal post of the railing is to the edge of the concrete step, the higher the probability of the step breaking or cracking from the lateral force that occurs from use. Therefore the contractor installing the new or existing rail must be made aware of this. We have repaired many broken corners and edges because of this.

See SketchUp video mock-up below of Bull nose concrete steps with railing. How to do Bull nosed Concrete steps | Concrete and Cement work Contractor in Philadelphia

As stated above the best deicing material to use is calcium chloride.

calcium-chloride

However, it’s important to consider that rock salt is destructive to newly poured concrete then older concrete.  Read this article “How Salt Damages Concrete

If not properly used, ice scrappers that remove ice from steps, are problematic to newly installed concrete steps.  When chopping at the ice you are also chopping at the cement step’s finish coat.  Breaching the finish coat allows deicing materials to penetrate into the core of the concrete steps, causing a rapid deterioration of the concrete work.

Summary

  • Get 3 estimates when searching for a quality contractor
  • Discuss all standards and specifications listed above to each contractor
  • Request videos, photos or addresses of previous concrete work which the contractor performed
  • Ask to see a copy of the contractor’s liability insurance and contractor’s license
  • Make sure that a minimum warranty of 2 years is included into the contract
  • Make the down payment deposit with a credit card if possible.

About Us

Dependable Concrete Work Contractors have been doing cement work in Philadelphia for 35 years.  We take pride in our concrete work and we are willing to share our expertise through our catalog of videos and blogs. Please follow us.

Click on our videos below or visit our YouTube channel 

Concrete work

Cement work

Visit our website for more information: www.dependableconcrete.com

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