Using Forms to Build Concrete Stairs: Step by Step Guide
Building concrete steps can boost the overall curb appeal of a space while also addressing important safety standards and creating steps that will last for decades. When you are looking at concrete forms for sale to build concrete stairs, you want to have a solid grasp of the steps for how to build concrete steps. The type of concrete step forms you need for your project will depend on the type of application and what type of strength and durability will be required for the project. Steel-Ply forming systems are the most popular option because they are pre-engineered, built in a factory, and reused in a variety of contexts. The versatility of Steel-Ply concrete forms offers high adaptability for many construction projects, including the various sizes and shapes necessary for concrete step forms. Here’s what you need to know about forming and pouring concrete steps that will work for both beginners and professionals alike.
Preparation: What You’ll Need to Make Concrete Steps
Before you get started, it is important to gather the right materials for the job. You will need to assess the area to determine the appropriate specs for the concrete stairs design. You may require a demolition hammer for rehabbing old steps, like removing an old stoop before setting new concrete step forms. Follow the rebar and strike along its length with a breaker hammer or sledgehammer to easily break apart existing concrete. You will need filler, footings, concrete forms, step form boards, strongbacks, and braces for reinforcement.
Step 1: Plan Your Concrete Steps Design
Demand continues to soar for varieties of decorative concrete step designs. Whether you are trying to achieve a natural look or match the specs of concrete stairs nearby, it is important to plan out the design ahead of time. Plan ahead and view each set of steps as a separate job if you have more than one step. Avoid trying to do too much at once and instead focus on planning your pours, so each step receives adequate attention.
Step 2: Make Your Level Baseline
If you are replacing old concrete stairs, it is important to clear off the top edge of any existing concrete or it may show at the baseline. Before pouring a new stoop at the same level or lower than the previous structure, you can easily knock off the remnants of the existing concrete steps with a hammer and cold chisel. Take this moment to check the level baseline for the area and make any adjustments as necessary.
Step 3: Lay Your Concrete Forms for Your Stairs Design
Regardless of what type of materials you end up using for the steps, you need to lay the concrete forms and ensure the ends don’t move. Fasten blocks or wood or stakes at the level of the risers into the ground to help hold the forms in place. Steel forms for pouring concrete steps allow you to pour a standard-size step repeatedly more effectively. With a pre-engineered concrete form, you can find concrete forms for sale that meet the specs for your specific concrete stairs design. Steel-Ply concrete forms can withstand high-stress loads and be used in both residential and commercial structures for maximum versatility. Remove the guesswork for formwork installation when you choose concrete forming systems so you know exactly what to expect from your project and can effectively execute your vision.
Step 4: Mix Your Concrete and Install Screed Board
Mix your specific type of concrete and install the screed board that will help ensure the concrete stays level and smooth along the surface. Ensure the right strength and consistency for concrete by sticking to the exact instructions for the correct concrete mix ratio. A screed board will help flatten the poured concrete for a more even, flat layer before finishing the surface. Use two registration points and move the screed from side to side along the concrete step. Screed with the crown up to help the stoop better shed water and finish with a bull float as soon as all surfaces have been screened.
Step 5: Form the Treads and Risers
Use concrete forms to create the desired height and width of treads and risers for the concrete stairs. Ensure the distance from the stoop to the top of the ground or sidewalk will accommodate the height and width of each riser and tread in accordance with current building codes. The form for the next step down should be larger by whatever width necessary that mirrors the width or radius of the first step. Recommended tread sizes are typically between 16 and 18 inches, though you can also opt for oversized treads depending on the project and application.
Step 6: Seal and Maintain Your Concrete Stairs
Concrete undergoes a chemical curing process and requires an appropriate sealant to help cure and seal the finished product. Water in the concrete mix can evaporate during the curing process, which can actually cause the concrete to become weaker. Sealing the concrete stairs also helps protect and prevent the concrete from scaling and spalling in colder climates. The sealer should be applied right after you broom to help maintain the appearance and function of your concrete stairs. A control joint can also be used to relieve stress and prevent damage caused by small amounts of movement that can impact the concrete during the curing process and as it absorbs and expels moisture.
Start Your Concrete Projects with Forming America
At Forming America, we offer both new and renovated concrete forms for sale to help build concrete stairs. We will work with you to ensure you receive high-quality materials and expedited production that works with your project’s timeline and deadlines. We also offer concrete form rentals, which offer a practical and economical option to help you complete the job. Contact Forming America online or by phone today and our team of experts will help you find the right concrete forms for your next project.