Installing a new set of precast concrete steps to replace an old, damaged set is an easy do-it-yourself job. It can be done on a weekend afternoon with a helper. Follow the procedure below to replace your precast concrete steps.
Step 1: Remove the Old Concrete Steps
Use the sledgehammer and pry bar to loosen the old concrete steps from where they were attached to the ground and to the house. Take the pieces away from the work area and sweep up the location for the new steps.
Step 2: Measure the Area for the New Precast Concrete Steps
Take measurements from the ground up to exactly under the door sill, and from the wall out to where the base of the steps will be. Order and purchase a set of precast concrete steps to fit those dimensions, and arrange for delivery.
Step 3: Prepare the Base for the New Steps
On the day your new steps will arrive, measure the base size you need. Dig down 6 inches into the dirt and level the soil. Pour in crushed stone to a depth of 4 inches to provide drainage and a stable bottom for the precast base slab for the steps.
Step 3: Lay the Precast Base Slab
Lay the precast concrete base slab on top of the crushed stone. Tamp it down with the concrete tamper. Check with the carpenter's level that the concrete base is flat and solidly leveled, to prevent your steps from tipping.
Step 4: Place the Precast Concrete Steps
The precast concrete steps you purchased should fit exactly under the existing door sill and flush with the wall of your house. Place them so the top slips exactly under the door sill, and the base rests on the precast concrete slab you set in place. You and your helper should be able to move a shallow set of 4 or fewer steps. The concrete company can place a larger set of steps for you with a crane you can rent for a day.
Step 5: Check the Steps Are Level
With the carpenter's level, check that the top and bottom steps are level and steady.
Step 6: Seal the Edges of the Concrete Steps
This step is optional. If your measurements were precise enough, your steps will fit snugly, be steady and stay level. If you wish to seal the edges of the steps to the slab base and to the wall of the house, mix up grout with water in the large metal bucket until it is the consistency of porridge. Spread the grout along the vertical rear edge of the steps onto the wall surface and along the base of the steps where they meet the concrete slab. Smooth out all right angles with the masonry jointer for a precise finish. Allow the grout to harden for 2 days before using the steps.