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How to Install & Level Precast Concrete Steps?

How to Install & Level Precast Concrete Steps?

Precast concrete steps have been a major trend for some time due to their several benefits. Unlike conventional concrete steps that require extensive molds, materials, working area, labor, and make a lot of mess, precast concrete steps are a low maintenance, ‘order and install’ wonder.

For this reason, builders, architects, and homeowners often ask ‘how to install precast concrete steps?’ This article will provide all the necessary information for installing precast concrete stairs in your home, such as the tools you require, the installation process, and how to source the precast steps needed.

What Tools Do You Need To Install Precast Concrete Stairs?

Installing precast concrete requires simple tools and equipment that are very easy to source, most of which you will already have. Any item on the list can be obtained easily from home centers. These tools are:

  • Tape Measure: A tape measure is important for making the measurement of the steps that are needed.
  • Jackhammer (Optional): A jackhammer is required if you need to tear down the old steps. In case you are installing the precast concrete steps in an empty location, a jackhammer is not required.
  • Shovel: For digging the dirt and adjusting the height of the steps
  • Dirt Tamper: For packing the loose dirt tightly
  • Trowels: To smoothen the concrete foundation slab
  • Steel Shims: Shims provide the option of minor adjustments in the concrete steps, such as adjusting the level surface.
  • Pry Bar: In case shimming is required, a pry bar is used to lift the steps.

Steps to Install Precast Concrete Stairs

Once you have the tools required for the job, follow these step-by-step instructions to complete the job easily:

Removing Old Stairs

Usually, a homeowner’s house has existing stairs with crumbling stone that they wish to replace with low-maintenance precast stairs. In case there is an already existing staircase, remove it with the help of a jackhammer. Follow the safety protocol important for operating a jackhammer, such as an ear protection, eye protection, and a dust mask.

Cleaning the Area

Clean the area and remove any obstructions from the place. If you removed the old stairs, clean all the debris as well. Certain pieces of debris can be reused or recycled. especially if the old staircase had pieces of exquisite stone veneer.

Making Measurements

Use the tape measure to note down the footprint dimensions of the steps you will need. It is important to measure the ground area as well as the height of the required steps.

Making a Stable Base

Precast concrete steps (and even normal concrete steps) are very heavy. Without a proper foundation, they can sink into the ground. Therefore, it is important to make a stable base to prevent ground movement. Start by digging the topsoil with a shovel to a depth of about 12 inches. 8 inches of this depth will be utilized for gravel and 4 inches for the concrete slab.

Laying the Foundation

Firstly, add a layer of crushed stone (gravel) to a thickness of about 8 inches. The layer of gravel helps with draining the excess water during rains. Level the surface with a tamper. Once leveled,

Once the gravel is a level surface, add rebars for the concrete base for the reinforcement. For columns, maintain a distance of 2 ft between rebars. For rows, maintain a distance of 1 ft between rebars. It is important to tie these rebars together whenever they intersect. This can be done with the help of steel ties and a tie twister.

The height of the rebars is important to maintain. The rebars should be high enough to not touch the gravel so that the concrete can be poured under it. Additionally, the rebars should be 2 inches under the top, so about midway for the 4-inch concrete slab.

Pouring the Concrete

Since the slab will support the heavy weight of the precast concrete steps, it is recommended that you use 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 time that the particular concrete type requires, usually between overnight to 72 hours. While you are waiting for the concrete to cure, order your precast concrete steps.

Installing Steps

Once the concrete slab is cured, you are ready to install the precast concrete steps. Since they are heavy, you will require multiple people to lift and place the steps in the right position. Check the leveling of the steps. Minor adjustments are easy to make with steel shims in case of an uneven-level surface.

Secondary Addons

It is easy to add secondary add-ons such as railings on the precast concrete steps. These can be done after the leveling is finished. To hold the railings in place, anchoring cement is utilized.

Is It Hard to Install Precast Concrete Stairs?

Installing precast concrete steps is quite an easy job to do. Most of the process is a one-person job, and help is needed only for lifting and moving the steps due to their heavy weight. Even the tools required for the job are easy to obtain from any home center.

How to Level Uneven Precast Concrete Steps?

In case your existing or new steps have an uneven level surface, it is quite a simple task to make adjustments and fix the issue.

  • Check the current leveling of the surface with a spirit level to know about the degree of adjustment required.
  • Use a pry bar to lift the precast concrete steps and insert steel shims as per the requirement.
  • It is also possible to use plastic or wooden wedge alternatives available in the market.

Conclusion

The benefits of precast concrete steps far outweigh any other materials and alternative options. Therefore, whether you want to do landscaping to replace your old crumbling stone steps or wish to install new steps on an empty patch, precast stairs are the best way to go about it.

When ordering precast concrete steps, it is important to go for a quality manufacturer since the stairs cannot be frequently replaced. In that regard, Premier Precast is one of the leading manufacturers of precast concrete stairs and steps. They are made with the highest quality materials in a strictly controlled environment.

These steps will last for ages to come and require no maintenance whatsoever. Additionally, you can obtain them in your desired finish, size, and design. These steps can be delivered directly to the homeowner, so there is nothing to worry about.


Daniel Arkin
Daniel Arkin
Daniel is a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Concrete Industry Management. Daniel has introduced several advanced production techniques as Director of Operations for Premier Precast to insure Premier Precast is always on the cutting edge with our precast concrete manufacturing. Premier Precast under Daniel pioneered the use of UHPC in the US into the manufacturing of complex agricultural shapes to be used in a buildings design.

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