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Repairing Broken Concrete Steps: 3 Important Tips To Remember

by Erik Evans

Concrete is one of the most common construction materials used in Canada thanks to its versatility and durability. Concrete can withstand quite a lot of stress and pressure, depending on the concrete mixture ratio. 1 part cement, 3 parts sand and 3 parts aggregate will produce a concrete mix capable of tolerating approximately 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Despite being incredibly strong, daily traffic on concrete stairs can cause parts of the stairs to come apart. If this has happened on your property, here are 3 tips on how to repair the stairs properly.

Take the Time to Clean and Remove Loose Pebbles and Dirt

Before you go ahead with any of the repairs, take the time to clean up the area. Remove all loose pebbles and dirt with a brush for a clean and smooth surface. This whole process takes only several minutes, but is a common step that most people forget or overlook since it doesn't seem too important.

If you don't remove these loose aggregates, the concrete mixture that will be poured in later simply won't adhere properly. The loose pebbles create a sort of barrier between the newly poured concrete and the original part of the stairs, and will cause the newly poured area to simply slide off or become more vulnerable to elemental and environmental conditions, along with excess traffic and wear. You can expect the same area to become chipped or broken down within a short period of time.

Always Insert a Steel Dowel Known As a Re-Rod

Don't work with construction companies that take the easy route. This involves placing scrap lumber up against the stairs to create the necessary form before pouring concrete mixture into the form to fill in the part of the concrete that has fallen apart. Always take the time to insert a steel dowel, also known as a re-rod, into the stairs before creating the mold and pouring the concrete mixture in.

You will need to use a masonry drill to create the hole for the steel dowel. Although this step may seem insignificant, it makes a huge difference to the quality of the finished repairs. The steel dowel is then coated with a bonding material, which will help reinforce the concrete mixture once it has been poured in. Putting in a steel dowel doesn't necessarily take a lot more time and effort, but the repairs will generally last much longer.

Cover the Repaired Area with Plastic After You Work On It

It often takes about 28 days for concrete to become fully cured. Once the concrete has been poured, you should not disturb it. For example, you should not walk on it for at least 24 hours. If you are working with colored concrete, the concrete should not be exposed to water for at least 4 days. For the concrete to fully cure properly, you want to minimize the amount of water and sunlight it is exposed to. To do this, cover the repaired area with plastic for at least 24 hours.

If possible, put up a sign or two notifying others on your property regarding the repairs or put up a fence or barrier to prevent others from accidentally stepping on the newly poured concrete.


You can easily attempt to repair chipped or broken down concrete stairs by yourself, as long as you know how to blend the concrete mixture. However, most property owners typically feel more at ease delegating the work to professionals to prevent any errors from arising. Keep in mind that you can be held liable if you performed the repairs yourself and the stairs crumbled and caused an accident later on. A concrete repair company will do the job correctly and save you from any liability.