If you love to do-it-yourself home improvements, then one of the most popular projects is building your own concrete steps. If sunk correctly into a good foundation and filled to the correct depth with a mix of portland cement, sand, and coarse gravel above ground, those concrete steps will last for years. Here’s how to build cantilevered concrete steps:
Building cantilevered steps is an ambitious undertaking. A properly built set of these steps can add value to your home and be the envy of neighbors everywhere. If you follow these few easy steps, you will be well on your way to completing this project with great results
Homeowners looking for a way to spruce up the entrance to their house might consider cantilevered concrete steps. These steps look great, but they also offer added stability and durability compared to standard concrete steps. To get started with this project, you’ll need to determine how many steps you will put in and what their rise will be. Once you have this information, you can install lateral pipes at the location of each step, pour the concrete over them, smooth the surface once it has dried, and finish the job by adding stone treads or some other type of traction. Following these instructions will help ensure that your new cantilevered concrete steps last for years and years.
Determine the Rise of Each Step
The first step in constructing cantilevered concrete steps is to determine the rise of each step. The run of a step is the horizontal distance between the top and bottom of a single step, while the rise of a step is the vertical distance between those two points. The run may be equal to or less than one-half times the riser height. If it’s greater than one-half times riser height, then you will need two risers instead of just one (in other words: two treads). You can use these simple formulas to calculate your rise:
- R = H + T
- R = H – T
Mark the Location of Each Step
Mark the Location of Each Step
- Use a chalk line to mark the location of each step, as shown in Figure 1. The rise is measured from the top edge of your deck post to the highest point on your tread. The run is measured from this height along your deck rail (or wall) to where you want each step’s ending point to be. If planning on having your stairs cantilevered over an existing patio or porch area, begin by measuring and marking where these areas will fall horizontally with a tape measure and placing stakes in various spots across those areas so they’re easy to see while working with concrete forms later on.
- Set up a level at each end of every step location so that all surfaces are level before beginning work with concrete forms.
- Use a line level as well as stakes and string lines when laying out new steps if there are no beams present for reference points.
Install the Lateral Pipes
To install the lateral pipes, you will need to use a level and spirit level to ensure that they are level. You can also use a plumb bob to make sure they are level.
Pour the Concrete for Your Cantilevered Steps
Once you have determined the layout and dimensions of your steps, you’ll need to divide these into sections so that each section can be poured separately. This will make it easier for you to pour the concrete and for the concrete to cure before continuing with another section.
The best way to do this is by using a tape measure or chalk line and marking off your design on the ground. You’ll want to start at one end of the step and work your way down until you reach the opposite side of that particular step.
Once all of these sections are marked off, take a piece of string equal in length to each section’s length (plus an extra foot) and lay this along both sides of all four steps as shown below:
Smooth the Surface
Now that the concrete has cured, you can smooth the surface using a trowel and float. A steel trowel will give you a perfectly smooth finish, but if you don’t have one handy, just use the same tools used to smooth drywall mud. Just be sure to clean out any ridges left by your tools with a broom or rubber float after smoothing they’ll be pretty easy to spot.
Finish the Job
Once you have finished the job, it is important to clean up any debris from your work area. A broom will do a great job of sweeping away all of the dust and dirt that was created during construction.
Next, give the concrete steps a thorough hose-down with water to remove any remaining debris and soapy residue from construction. Follow up by letting them dry overnight before sealing them with a concrete sealer.
Remember to use reinforced concrete to ensure that your cantilevered concrete steps are strong.
Reinforced concrete is a mixture of concrete and steel rebar. Steel rebar helps to keep reinforcing the strength of your structure, making it more durable than regular concrete. As a result, reinforced concrete is strong enough to support heavier loads than plain old concrete.
It’s important to remember that while reinforced concrete is stronger than regular concrete, it’s also more expensive and difficult to work with. You may want to hire an expert or contractor who has experience working with this material if you decide that you want your cantilevered steps made from it.
Cantilevered concrete steps are a great way to add some flair to your front yard. It’s also a great way to utilize the space you have in an efficient manner. While this can be tricky, it doesn’t have to be difficult with the right steps and materials. Don’t forget that cantilevers require reinforced concrete for maximum strength and durability over time.