Concrete steps and side retaining walls

davetzAugust 12, 2012

I'm trying to rebuild some sunken front entry steps and the adjacent path.

My question is this: in a setup like the one pictured, is it best to pour the steps and the sidewalls all at the same time, or best to pour sidewalls first, then build forms for steps and pour steps subsequently? Which will have more strength and last longer?

Also, do I need to build a "cap" for the sidewall forms so the concrete doesn't flow downhill or does the concrete have enough strength to resist gravity on its own? Thanks in advance for any help!


St Paul, MN

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Monolithic is the ideal method, however, if you are a novice you will need to hire someone who understands reinforcement, moisture and add-mix content, and with that you should not need a "cap" to resist inherent slumping.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Thanks for the info snoonyb. I will keep your tips in mind and refer to a professional in order to make this work last.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:09PM
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you might look into getting some precast steps that can be dropped into place.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Here's an example.

Here is a link that might be useful: Precast steps

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:06AM
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A monolithic pour would give you the best outcome. The inner side wall form would be your tricky cut but could be braced one to the other. A cap on the wall would be needed and you would want a thin mix on the wall but a thicker mix on the steps that you would pour first. Like all stairs that I have poured you want to tear off the forms as soon as possible so that the concrete is still green enough to trowel smooth and touch up.
A little trick on the riser forms would be to cut the bottoms at a 45 degree angle with the wide side against the concrete. That allows you to trowel right up to the riser

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:22AM
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don92. Thanks for the ideas about the monolithic pour; indeed that's what I was thinking makes the most sense. I have read about the 45 deg bevel on the form you mention in home landscaping books written on the subject and was planning to do it this way.
Thanks again to all for your input and expertise!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 2:42PM
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