The type of concrete repair material may depend on the extent of the damage. Small areas with surface chips or cracks may only need a concrete patch compound. A larger area with holes, crumbling concrete, or structural damage may need quick-setting cement. You may be able to fill the small cracks with a good crack filler product from Quikrete or Sakrete.
Be sure to read the instructions on the bottle and measure the width of the cracks to see if these products work. If you're seriously considering improving your visitors' first impression and want to learn more about the best way to fix your steps at home or even design new stairs for your Tulsa business, call R&M Concrete for a free quote. They are Tulsa, Oklahoma's foremost concrete experts known for providing exceptional service, on time and on budget. If you have fine cracks, you can usually use a vinyl patch compound to fix concrete stairs.
Most vinyl patch products contain an adhesive agent, but if yours doesn't, apply an adhesive compound to the surface before applying the patch. This will create the best possible bond between the old surface and the patch material. Use an old or cheap brush to apply the liquid to the surface. Wash the brush immediately after use with soap and water or dispose of it.
When applying the patch, be sure to cut the mixture deeply with the trowel to eliminate air pockets. Once the foam backing rods are in place, follow Step 2 in Patching small cracks to apply the patch compound. After smoothing the patch with a trowel, let it sit for a couple of hours. Then cover it with a plastic sheet, weighing the plastic at the edges with bricks or stones.
Keep the area covered for a whole week, making sure to give it a little water every day to keep it moist. When repairing a patch with a vinyl patch, it is best to moisten the surface prior to application to prevent it from drying out prematurely. When applying a crack seal, work on a dry surface and avoid rain or excessive moisture in any of the repairs for 24 hours. Depending on the depth of the damage, you will need to use a sand mix (up to 2% thick) or a standard concrete mix (envelope) to perform the repair.
Apply liquid concrete adhesive agent to the damaged concrete surface with a small, stiff brush. Use sand mix or concrete mix as directed by the manufacturer. Using a trowel, press the starting material firmly into the space between the existing surface and the wood shape to ensure a good bond and completely fill the broken area. Measure the height of the step you are repairing and using a board that is as long and tall as the damaged step (a 2 x 6 board) will work in most cases.
Pack the cement to the desired level, but depending on the nature of the repair, keep in mind that it may be necessary to use a form of wood to help the composite retain the desired shape. Take your time with this step and be sure to tamp the mixture well to eliminate air pockets between the patch compound and the concrete. Use a hammer and a mason's chisel to chip any soft or crumbling concrete in and around cracks or areas that crumble. This type of repair will continue for the short term until you have enough time to properly repair the crack.
When the patch has hardened, but before it dries (time varies with mixing and weather conditions), texture the area you repaired to match the surrounding area. The main reason the steps crumble is because the concrete was not mixed properly in the first place, causing them to set with air bubbles. But still, solutions like Rapid Set Cement All allow you to shore up defective concrete on your own and do it easily and quickly, even without a contractor. In addition to stains, you should be on the lookout for a number of other minor surface problems that commonly affect outdoor concrete installations.
In regions where the temperature exceeds 90 degrees F, the newly repaired area should be kept moist for 24 to 48 hours. In many cases, concrete can last for decades without deteriorating or requiring much maintenance. In addition, when it comes to a material that lasts as long as concrete, over the years you will find more than one occasion for maintenance. For more extensive problems, such as cement steps that crumble and large chunks that are missing, you'll need to approach the damage a little differently.