Homeowners often ask builders about how to install precast concrete steps. This article provides all the information you need to know for installing precast concrete steps at your home, such as the tools required, the installation process, and how to source the best-precast steps.
Precast concrete steps have been a big trend for some time due to their benefits. Unlike conventional concrete steps, they don’t require extensive molds, materials, working area, and labor on-site. Precast concrete steps are a low-maintenance, ‘order and install’ solution.
What Tools Do You Need To Install Precast Concrete Steps?
Installing precast concrete requires simple tools and equipment, most of which you will already have. You can easily obtain any item on the list from home centers. These tools are:
- Tape Measure: Vital for making the measurements needed.
- Jackhammer (Optional): This can help a homeowner remove the old steps. If it’s a new location, not required.
- Shovel: For excavating earth and adjusting the height of the steps.
- Hand Tamper: For packing the loose dirt tightly.
- Trowels: To smoothen the concrete foundation slab
- Steel Shims: For adjusting the concrete steps to achieve a level surface.
- Pry Bar: For lifting the steps if shimming is required.
Steps to Install Precast Concrete Steps
Once you have the tools required, follow these step-by-step instructions to complete the job:
Removing Old Steps
Usually, a homeowner’s house has existing steps they wish to replace with a low-maintenance precast replacement. Remove any existing steps with the help of a jackhammer. Follow safety protocols such as ear protection, eye protection, and a dust mask.
Cleaning the Area
Clean the area and remove any debris from the old steps you removed. You can recycle some items of debris or reuse them, especially exquisite stone veneer.
Use the tape measure to determine the footprint dimensions of the new steps you will need. Measure the area as well as the height of the required steps.
Making a Stable Base
Is a new concrete base needed? Precast concrete and even regular concrete steps are heavy. Without a proper foundation, they can sink into the ground. A stable base is essential to prevent ground movement. To construct a new base, get a shovel and start excavating the topsoil to a depth of about 12 inches. This depth will allow about 8 inches for gravel and 4 inches for the concrete slab.
Laying the Foundation
First, add a layer of crushed stone (gravel) to a thickness of about 8 inches. The layer of gravel helps drain excess water when it rains. Level the surface with a hand tamper.
Once the gravel forms a level surface, add rebars to reinforce the base. For columns, maintain a distance of 2 ft between rebars. For rows, maintain a distance of 1 ft between rebars. Tie the rebars together whenever they intersect. Use steel ties and a tie twister.
The height of the rebars is important and should be high enough above the gravel so that the concrete can seep under them. Additionally, the rebars should be 2 inches below the top, so about midway for a 4-inch concrete slab.
Pouring the Concrete
Since the slab must support the precast concrete steps, we recommend using high-strength concrete mixes. Mix the concrete and pour it into place up to a thickness of four inches. Smoothen the top surface with a finishing trowel.
Let the concrete cure for the recommended time, usually between overnight to 72 hours. While you are waiting for the concrete to cure, order your precast concrete steps.
Installing the Steps
Once the concrete slab has cured, you can install the precast concrete steps. You will need some help to lift them into place. When installed, precast concrete steps must be level. Minor adjustments are easy to make to achieve a level surface.
You can easily install add-ons, such as railings, to precast concrete steps once they are level. Use anchoring cement to hold the hand railings in place.
Is It Hard to Install Precast Concrete Steps?
Installing precast concrete steps is easy. One person can handle most of the work but will need help lifting and moving the steps. Even the tools required for the job are easy to obtain from any home center.
How to Level Precast Concrete Steps?
Are your existing or new steps not level? It’s a simple task to adjust them and fix the issue.
- Check the surface with a spirit level to see how much you need to adjust.
- Use a pry bar to lift the precast concrete steps and insert steel shims until level.
- Alternatively, use plastic or wooden wedges to get a level surface.
The benefits of precast concrete steps far outweigh any other materials and alternative options. Whether you want to do landscaping to replace your old crumbling stone steps or wish to install new steps on an empty patch, precast steps are the best way to go about it.
When ordering precast concrete stairs/steps, it is important to go for a quality manufacturer to get a high-quality and durable product. Premier Precast is one of the leading manufacturers of precast concrete stairs and steps, made with the highest quality materials in a strictly controlled environment.
Premier Precast’s precast step products last many years, require no maintenance, and can be delivered directly to the homeowner. Get them in any desired finish, size, and design.