How to Build Cement Steps

Author Belle Gentile

Posted Mar 19, 2023

Reads 3K

Green Building with Brown Wooden Door

If you're looking to improve your outdoor space, one of the most practical additions is to build concrete steps. Building cement steps can add both functionality and aesthetic appeal to your property. But if you've never tackled a concrete project before, it might seem daunting. Don't worry - with the right tools and some patience, building cement steps can be a manageable DIY project.

Concrete is a durable material that can hold up against harsh weather conditions and heavy foot traffic. By building cement steps, you'll create a sturdy pathway that will last for years to come. Plus, there are endless ways to customize the look of your steps with different finishes or by adding decorative elements like stone accents. Whether you're looking to add a simple set of front porch steps or want to create an elaborate staircase in your backyard, building cement steps is an achievable goal for any homeowner.

Begin with These Crucial Tips to Ensure a Successful Start

Building concrete steps can seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance anyone can tackle this project. Before you start busting up your old steps, it's important to identify how they were built. If you suddenly find yourself knee-deep in rubble and unsure of what to do next, take a step back and assess the situation. Are there any wells back up against the steps? Is your basement covered in dust from the demo process? Take note of any visible components, such as a glass access panel built into the side of the steps. By identifying these aspects, you'll have a better idea of what you're dealing with.

Colored Pencils on Black Ceramic Cup

Once you've identified how your current steps were built or removed them entirely, it's time to start planning for new ones. First and foremost, check with your local municipality on building permit requirements. It's always better to be safe than sorry, preferably paying an inspector visit before proceeding. Next, plan out what materials you'll need and how much they'll cost. Don't forget about tools needed for excavation and construction! Finally, make sure you have a solid plan in place before diving headfirst into this project - having a well-thought-out blueprint will make all the difference in ensuring success.

Make Your Tools Last: Keep Them Safe from Drying Out!

YouTube video about Make Your Tools Last: Keep Them Safe from Drying Out!

Tools are a crucial aspect of building concrete steps. However, the tools face the risk of drying out and becoming useless. Building concrete steps requires constant usage of tools, and switching back and forth can cause them to dry out quickly. To prevent this, it is essential to keep the tools covered when not in use. If the tools don't dry out, they won't form dried chunks that would render them ineffective. So, always ensure that your tool is covered and safe from drying out to make it last longer.

Smoothing the Sidewalk: A Simple Way to Improve Your Walkway

YouTube video about Smoothing the Sidewalk: A Simple Way to Improve Your Walkway

Smoothing the sidewalk is an essential step in building concrete steps. Hand floating is a technique that can help to remove any bumps or unevenness in the surface. A screed board is used to level the concrete and create a smooth finish, which will not only improve the appearance of your walkway but also make it safer to walk on. By taking your time with this process, you can ensure that your concrete steps are strong, durable, and beautiful for years to come.

Encounter the Specialists: Discover More from the Pros

Building concrete steps can be a daunting task, but with Glenn Anderson's help, you'll gain confidence in your DIY skills techniques. Glenn Anderson, a construction pro with 27 years of experience in finishing slabs, pouring stoops, laying block and stacking stone, provides useful tips to make your project a success. Prior Lake MN hes one of our trusted commerce partners, who frequently receive products free for review and testing.

Man Playing Guitar on Stage

As Construction Pro Tips editors, we highlight products that we find interesting and share them with you. We no longer support Internet Explorer as it does not provide site experiences that meet web standards and security practices. We recommend using Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge for optimal viewing.

In addition to pro tips and tools equipment reviews, our website offers industry news, gear apparel for your garage workshop, power equipment reviews and utility trailers for sale. You can also find home inspiration such as energy-saving solutions for saving money on storage organization in the house or outdoors like deck patio or yard garden structures pest control solutions for stinging pests. Our product section showcases technology innovation such as home security and smart home options. Subscribe to our magazine subscription or shop DIY books or buy project plans at DIY University. Follow us to stay up-to-date on all things DIY!

Stop forms from drying out: Use evaporation retardant!

Photography of a Persons Hand With Stop Signage

If you're planning on building concrete steps, it's important to keep the forms from drying out during the curing process. This can be a challenge in high temperatures, low humidity, and high winds or direct sunlight. One solution is to use an evaporation retardant, which is a type of form release that prevents the moisture from escaping too quickly. This can be applied directly to the form boards using a sponge trowel or a crew coats the entire inside of the forms with the retardant. The spray film is applied undiluted and will keep the surface workable longer, allowing for better surface workable longer, allowing for better surface finish and easier removal of form boards after curing.

Prevent Water Loss: Use Evaporation Retardant on the Sides

YouTube video about Prevent Water Loss: Use Evaporation Retardant on the Sides

When building concrete steps, it is important to prevent water loss to guarantee spalling doesn't occur. One way to do this is by using an evaporation retardant on the sides. This will help reduce moisture loss and prevent small voids from forming, ensuring that your concrete steps receive attention for their durability and longevity. Remember, when mixing concrete, don't add water adding water will only weaken the mixture and make it more susceptible to damage in the long run.

Screw steps on from the back side

White Metal Railings on Brown Wooden Floor

Screw steps on from the back side to ensure a cleaner look on your concrete steps. Before pouring the concrete, make sure the form boards are securely in place by putting forms and attaching screws. This way, you can easily attach the steps with screws without having to worry about visible holes or uneven surfaces. Screws work best from the back side because they provide a smoother finish and eliminate any chances of tripping hazards.

Rescue Your Concrete Bucket: Tips on How to Save It

YouTube video about Rescue Your Concrete Bucket: Tips on How to Save It

If you're building concrete steps, having an extra bucket or two on hand is always a smart move. But what if you don't have any spares and your only bucket is caked with dried concrete? Don't worry! With a little elbow grease and some form boards, you can rescue your concrete bucket. Start by soaking the bucket in water for at least 24 hours, then scrape off as much of the dried concrete as possible. Next, use a wire brush and sandpaper to remove any remaining residue. Finally, keep your newly cleaned bucket covered until you're ready to use it again.

Glide along the pavement: A Guide to Sidewalk Floating

YouTube video about Glide along the pavement: A Guide to Sidewalk Floating

Have you ever wondered how sidewalks are made to look so smooth and level? It's all thanks to a process called sidewalk floating. Using a tool called a float, workers can gently smooth out the concrete surface by smoothly pulling it across the top. The float helps to spread the concrete evenly and remove any excess water, allowing the surface to dry perfectly flat. To achieve this, they use a downward stabbing motion with the float while making sure not to dig too deep and hit any aggregate rocks below. With sidewalk floating, you can enjoy walking on smooth surfaces without any bumps or cracks in sight!

Effortlessly Cut Rebar with These Simple Steps

YouTube video about Effortlessly Cut Rebar with These Simple Steps

When building concrete steps, pesky rebar may get in the way. But don't worry, cutting it down to size is easy with the right tools. One option is to use bolt cutters for thinner rebar, while an angle grinder fitted with a cut-off wheel can handle thicker pieces. With these simple steps, you can easily and efficiently trim down any rebar in your way.


When building concrete steps, it is important to pay close attention to the riser height and tread depth. These two dimensions will greatly impact the safety and functionality of your concrete stairway. The riser height is the vertical distance between each step, while the tread depth is the horizontal distance from front to back. The goal is to find a balance between these dimensions that will comfortably accommodate users while still meeting application local building codes.

From above of male feet in sneakers with different shoelaces above blurred street at height

Maximum riser heights and minimum tread depths can vary depending on location and building codes. However, a general rule of thumb is the 7-11 rule: maximum riser height of 7 inches and minimum tread depth of 11 inches. This ratio ensures that the steps are not too steep or shallow, providing a safe climb for users. Quikrete recommends a maximum riser height of 7 inches and a minimum tread depth of 4 inches for optimal performance when building concrete steps. Sacrificing functionality for aesthetic appeal may result in an unsafe stairway, so make sure to prioritize safety over style!

Keep Your Busted-Up Concrete: Why You Should Leave It Alone

YouTube video about Keep Your Busted-Up Concrete: Why You Should Leave It Alone

When it comes to building concrete steps, many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that they need to start with a completely smooth and flawless surface. But the truth is, a solid monolithic hunk of concrete isn't always necessary for creating attractive, durable steps. In fact, trying to place remove or cover up every little crack and imperfection in your existing concrete could end up costing you more time and money than simply working around them. By leaving those chunks larger cracks exposed, you can actually create a unique and interesting texture that adds character to your steps. Plus, you'll save yourself the hassle of having to break up and haul away all that old concrete. So next time you're considering tearing out your busted-up concrete, think twice and consider making use of what's already there!

Strengthen Your Sidewalk with Smart Use of Rebar

Strengthening your sidewalk with rebar is a smart way to prevent cracking and make your sidewalk last longer. By creating a rebar grid, or placing short lengths of rebar throughout the concrete, you can improve the overall stability of your sidewalk. Drilling holes into the concrete and using rebar ties to secure the pieces in place will ensure that they stay put and reinforce the structure. With this simple addition, your sidewalk will be stronger and more durable for years to come.

Discover the Surprising Benefits of Digging with a Shovel

Man Surprising Woman in Kitchen

Eliminating large voids is crucial when building concrete steps, and using a shovel can help achieve this. By digging the area where the steps will be placed with a shovel, you can ensure that there are no air pockets or spaces left behind. This not only provides added stability to the steps but also helps prevent cracking or settling over time. Additionally, shoveling allows for the creation of large surfaces for placing side form boards, which in turn ensures that the concrete is poured evenly and at the correct height. So next time you're planning a DIY project involving concrete steps, don't underestimate the benefits of good old-fashioned shoveling!

Essential Items for Your Next Project

When it comes to building concrete steps, there are several essential items you'll need. First, you'll need concrete ingredients such as cement mix, aggregate, water, and sand. Depending on the size of your project, a concrete mixer may be optional. You'll also need form lumber and wooden stakes to create the structure of your steps.

YouTube video about Essential Items for Your Next Project

Next, you'll need tools to help you work with the concrete. A measuring tape will be essential for ensuring accurate measurements. A flat board and bull float will help level and smooth out the surface of your steps. A magnesium float is perfect for finishing touches. Wire ties and a pig tail wire tie twister are necessary for holding the form lumber in place while the concrete sets. And if needed, bolt cutters and an angle grinder can assist with cutting or shaping metal reinforcement.

For larger projects or more complicated designs, additional tools may be necessary. However, with these essential items in hand, you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful and sturdy concrete steps that will last for years to come!

Discover the Secret to Efficient Forms: Pull Side Forms

Brown Wooden Ruler and Colored Pencils on Papers

When it comes to building concrete steps, using side form boards is crucial. But did you know that the way you pull them can affect the efficiency of your project? To prevent damage to both the form and the concrete, it's important to gently pull the side form boards instead of aggressively yanking them out. Simply gingerly tap them with a hammer until they loosen up, then gently bring large chunks out. This technique will save you time and money in repairs down the line, so remember to handle your side forms with care!

Discover the Simple Process for Achieving Your Goals

Crop anonymous elegant lady drawing draft plan of room with pen sitting at computer desk

Building concrete steps can be a daunting task, but with the right process and materials, it can be achievable. First, determine the number of consecutive steps needed and purchase form boards, which are typically made of wood or plastic. Next, cut risers perpendicular to the step flush using standard 2x8s that work great for this project. Make sure each step is level by adding slight back-pitch and risers works as a support system for the entire structure.

Strengthen Your Step Form Board: Tips for Success

Homemade soap on wooden board near scrub with salt

Strengthening your steps form boards is essential to building durable and reliable concrete steps. Ensure that your boards are securely fastened together with screws or bolts, and use heavy-duty braces to prevent warping or bending during the pouring process. Additionally, consider using a release agent on your forms to make it easier to remove them once the concrete has set. By taking these simple tips into account, you can ensure that your steps form boards remain strong and sturdy throughout the entire construction process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to repair cement steps?

The cost of repairing cement steps varies depending on the extent of damage, but it typically ranges from $200 to $1,000. Factors that affect the cost include labor fees, materials used, and the size of the area to be repaired.

What do I need to know before building concrete steps?

Before building concrete steps, you need to consider factors such as the slope of the ground, the height and width of each step, and the type of reinforcement needed. It's also important to ensure proper drainage and a sturdy foundation for the steps.

How to expand concrete to existing concrete steps?

To expand existing concrete steps, you can add a layer of new concrete over the old steps. Clean the old steps, apply bonding agent, and pour new concrete onto the surface.

How to build concrete stairs?

To build concrete stairs, you need to create a design plan, measure and mark out the area where you want the stairs, dig out the space for the steps, pour and level the concrete into forms, install reinforcement bars and allow it to dry before adding finishing touches.

How do you pour concrete steps perpendicularly?

To pour concrete steps perpendicularly, you need to properly measure and mark the location of each step, create a sturdy formwork, mix and pour the concrete, and finish the surface with a trowel. It is important to use proper safety gear and follow all necessary precautions to ensure a successful outcome.

Featured Images:

Profile photo of Belle Gentile

Belle Gentile

Writer at Celebrity Examiner

View Her Articles

Belle Gentile is a passionate writer who loves to create engaging content that inspires and educates. She has always had a passion for storytelling, and her writing reflects her unique perspective on life. Belle's work covers a wide range of topics, from personal development to travel, health, and wellness.

View Her Articles