Concrete Experts, Teach Me The Ways Of Hardness! help me build a front step :) - Forums at Modded Mustangs
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post #1 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Concrete Experts, Teach Me The Ways Of Hardness! help me build a front step :)

My front step is getting old, and sagging. So, I want to replace it. I went out to look at a new one, but the one I want in the size I need is hard to find, and apparently, fairly expensive.

The current one is also too small. It is tough to wrestle my snowblower and lawnmower over- not because it's too high, or the equipment is that heavy, but because it doesn't stick out far enough from the house, as you can see in the upcoming video. So when I come down the path you will see to the left side of the video with my blower, only half of the machine is lined up with the step.

So I want something larger overall.

The size of the current step is 44" long, 28" deep, and 4" thick.

I am looking for something about 60" long, 40" deep, and 6" thick. This gives me an extra 12" of step sticking out from the house, and an easy time of getting my equipment over the step, nice and even like. I thought the extra inch and a half of thickness would work, since the old step seems to be sitting on a built up pile of gravel... I thought I'd dig down, lay a proper base, and have the new step still wind up at the same height as the present one even though it would be thicker?


So. Since a block that size seems to be difficult to find (a local block & concrete forming company in my area closed recently), I am sure I could make my own, no?

I know the basic premise of making something like this- I think: You make a form out of 2 x 6 timber, and pour the concrete.... then remove the form when the concrete has set.... Si?

That's an assumption though.

So how can I do this? Do I:

-need to dig down into the gravel after removing the old step, and then pour some kind of base? And if so, using what material?
-need to use a specific size and type of lumber?
-need to build the form in a specific manner, or style?
-how to properly measure depth, so that w/e thickness step I pour, it winds up at the proper height for the front door.
-need to coat the inside of the form with anything so that it is easily removed, or does the concrete not stick to it, and the lumber comes off easily?
-what type of concrete mix do I need for a step to be this thickness, and how do I mix it? Going to need a wheelbarrow to mix it up in? Or?
-how to properly pour and finish the concrete? And what tools are needed to do this? Trowels, etc?
-could I possibly have the end of the new step, or the right side of it as you look at my front door, slope down like a ramp, so I could roll my equipment up and down it? And if so, how to do this?
-what tools would I need for a job like this?
-anything else that I'm missing


Or, do you see a better way to go with size/shape, or even a completely different idea for a step?



I appreciate any input... I am also doing research on the web, believe me, and will eventually finger it out... but since I am a TOTAL ignoranus when it comes to concrete, I thought I'd see if any MM'ers here work with concrete and/or know how to do this properly.


Reps to all for the help!

Thanks









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post #2 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 11:00 AM
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you want to make a step? or a ramp? either way to form it the best way ive seen the concrete people did mine was they used 2x6 or 4x4 depending on how tall you want it. and used that as the form.... id start of with one layer for the base then depending how long you want the steps or tall either put a 2x4 or 2x6 and put it between tthe two lumbers thats forming it and then pour the concrete, then repeat. idk how to explain it but ill draw a picture and post it on here. lol
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post #3 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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All right, thanks



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post #4 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 12:03 PM
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does this kinda help?

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post #5 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Mmm.. kinda?

What are the middle boards in the second and third layers?



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post #6 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 12:49 PM
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those are for the steps..if your doing steps.. just put one board down then fill the rest with concrete above so it will be higher then your first step, then wait till it hardens and then do another layer(if need to) ...the boards are there to keep the concrete in place so you will have the step.
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post #7 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 01:29 PM
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I'm not sure what your local building code is (or if you even care for a small project like this). But here, I wouldn't be able to choose the thickness of that step. The step height onto the slab and the step height into the door would have to be the same (so someone doesn't trip when a step is larger/smaller than the previous). It also could NOT be sloped hardly at all.

Not sure if you're even concerned about code on this (I wouldn't be). But something to think about if you are.

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post #8 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeah_itsa_v6 View Post
those are for the steps..if your doing steps.. just put one board down then fill the rest with concrete above so it will be higher then your first step, then wait till it hardens and then do another layer(if need to) ...the boards are there to keep the concrete in place so you will have the step.
Ah, I see. I'm lucky, in this setup I don't need steps, just one big square slab.


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Originally Posted by 03SonicBoom View Post
I'm not sure what your local building code is (or if you even care for a small project like this). But here, I wouldn't be able to choose the thickness of that step. The step height onto the slab and the step height into the door would have to be the same (so someone doesn't trip when a step is larger/smaller than the previous). It also could NOT be sloped hardly at all.

Not sure if you're even concerned about code on this (I wouldn't be). But something to think about if you are.
Fortunately I don't have to worry about that here. Good thought though



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post #9 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeah_itsa_v6 View Post
those are for the steps..if your doing steps.. just put one board down then fill the rest with concrete above so it will be higher then your first step, then wait till it hardens and then do another layer(if need to) ...the boards are there to keep the concrete in place so you will have the step.
Really bad advice. Never layer concrete. Water gets between layers and freezes and breaks the concrete over time.

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post #10 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
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Fortunately I don't have to worry about that here. Good thought though
Lucky for you. It sucks around here.

More on topic. I don't claim to be a concrete expert. But I did have to learn a lot about concrete when I was designing basement plans for my house.

I would start by using some stakes and string to make an outline of where you want the concrete pad. Make the string the same height as you want the concrete pad. This would mean 4 stakes at each corner, with a string connecting them at the height you want the concrete.

Then I would take some stakes (made from 2x4's) and pound them in the ground 1.5" away (thickness of a 2x6) from the the string. Make sure the top of these stakes are an inche higher than your string. You're going to attach your 2x6 form to these stakes. Once all the stakes are in, attach your 2x6 form pieces to the stakes. Make them an inch or so higher than the string (slightly higher than the stakes). Once you get the form attached to the stake, drive the stakes down until the top of the form is level with the string.

Now when you pour your concrete, you make it level with the top of the form and it's at the height you want. Depending on the size of the gravel under the current step, you can most likely pour directly on top of it. You can roughly level the concrete by taking a 2x4 or 2x6 and pulling the concrete flat. Make sure you use a board or something to tamp the concrete down (especially around the form edges and corners).

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post #11 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 02:13 PM
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My dad and I built a slab for our grill to sit on, which is pretty much the same thing as this step is going to be. I'm not a pro so I'm just gonna me giving you some rought stuff.

First where your going to pour. You might want to consider digging an inch or to into the ground. This way it won't be able to shift side to side( for the most part). IF you do dig into the ground, don't forget to dig enough room for the form.Once you got the digging part down, what we did is leveled out where we were pouring by using some heavy stamper thing. Your big ass feet could prbably accomplish this just as well

Next the form.
For the form my dad and i used 2x6's. When you make it, you want whatever the longer side is to overlap the shorter side. So the exterior dimension would be 63x40in

Once you have the form set in your hole, push dirt around the outer egde so it doesn't shift on you.

When we made our slab, we used bags of quickrete. To mix the quickrete all you do is pour the bag into a wheelbarrow then add water to desired thickness. The more dry it is, the quicker it sets.

I don't know too much about the pouring and finishing so thats all i got.

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post #12 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 02:17 PM
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For a base, i here gravel is good. thats about it...if i had my popular mechanics mag here with me i could give you more on this as their is this exact article in there.


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post #13 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 02:21 PM
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Really bad advice. Never layer concrete. Water gets between layers and freezes and breaks the concrete over time.
thats how ive seen ppl do it...

but im thinking what they did was do what i drew up but made the 2x4 or however tall it is stagger up and then lay it all at once.. and each section would be taller leading up to the door.

yeaa..thats what i ment lol
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post #14 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 02:21 PM
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K zip. You gotta dig down about 12 inches in the shape of the slab you want. Then you need about 4-6 inches of crushed rock or gravel and compact it. Then you need either 1x6 or 2x6 for the forms and you need stakes. Slightly slope the slab away from the house. Linseed oil or diesel fuel applied to forms will ease removal. Re-bar on 16 inch centers with a 4 inch pour will hold a dump truck so forget this 6 inch idea. I pmed you my number. I would be happy to draw you up a few reference pics and answer any questions you have

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post #15 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 02:22 PM
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DO NOT MAKE THE SLAB LEVEL. slope away from house

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post #16 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Build the shape you want with lumber first like carney said. lay down a good base of gravel or stone then pour the crete. When you do it I say extend it to the edge of the house and out a bit.

EDIT: this-
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DO NOT MAKE THE SLAB LEVEL. slope away from house

red line represents what you have now.


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post #17 of 29 Old June 2nd, 2011, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone... loving the input



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post #18 of 29 Old June 3rd, 2011, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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bump for ideas



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post #19 of 29 Old June 3rd, 2011, 11:58 AM
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I've messed with the heavy stuff more than a couple times. I mix it in a wheelbarrow with a flat shovel. The amount of water is critical, follow the bag directions and measure carefully. Flip it with the shovel until its all the same with no dry stuff. I never used gravel for small stuff, and even the guy that poured my big slabs (1.5 trucks worth) didn't put down any gravel. It's probably not a bad idea, but I'm lazy. Use chicken wire or rebar tied together and set off the ground an inch or so with little rocks. Frame it with 2x4s or 2x6s and slope away from the house about 1/4" to 1/2" per foot. Have a buddy there so that you can have a mixer and a smoother going. I used a spray bottle to spray it down a bit while i'm smoothing it. But I'm a chemist, not a concrete guy and I don't have anything close to 'formal' training. I lifted my garage on stilts and had concrete (professionally) poured under it. This is before they put little rocks under the chicken wire because its hard to walk on once you do that.




I did the little slab on the left, and the back for this project.



I had the pros do this job.


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post #20 of 29 Old June 3rd, 2011, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, nice job man... quite the project, raising the garage like that. Are you happy with the final result now that it's done?

Thanks man, reps!



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