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Posted on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 6 a.m.

Crumbling concrete porch steps are safety hazard as well as eyesore, but repair is a quick job

By Keith A. Paul

Hi Keith, I have preformed concrete porch steps, and they have started crumbling a little around two of the corners. The porch itself looks good, so I would like to repair it, if possible, rather than replace it.
—Byron B., Ypsilanti,


Hi Byron,
Crumbling concrete steps are inevitable with Michigan’s unforgiving weather. It can not only be an eyesore, but can be a safety issue. According to the National Safety Council, 7.9 million Americans were injured by falls in 2007.

With winter right around the corner, there is not much time left for this type of concrete repair. However this is not a major project and will only take a couple hours to complete.

Depending on the repair, you may need a concrete adhesive, since new concrete will not adhere to existing concrete.

concrete patching

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You will also need a wire brush, a pointing and margin trowel, a rubber concrete float and vinyl or epoxy concrete patch repair mix. If the depth of the repair is over two inches, you will also need a few expansions anchors, lag screw, a drill bit and hammer drill.

First, for safety reasons, notify everyone in the home of the repair. Then you can begin removing any loose concrete. You may need a wire brush to help, as it must be a smooth surface prior to repair. Next clean and apply the concrete bonding adhesive and allow to dry. Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix the concrete repair, or you can purchase pre-mixed.

If the depth of the repair is in excess of two inches, you will need a hammer drill. Make holes as needed approximately two inches apart directly into the repair, large enough for the expansion anchor and lag screw. Install the screws so that it sits below the repair. By using this process, it will make your repair much stronger, with a strength similar to concrete reinforcement rods.

Dampen the area and apply the new concrete in thin layers with the pointed trowel. Be sure to apply pressure and push in all areas, do not to leave any gaps between the new and old concrete.

Using the margin trowel, add thin layers while carefully molding the concrete to match the existing surface. Be patient, this may take a little time. Lastly, use a damp float to feather in the new to the existing concrete. Depending on the surface, you may use the bristles of a broom to help match the area. Gently brush the new concrete for a texture blend look.

To ensure the porch and steps are safe for your family and guests, make certain the area is well lit. As the fall and winter months approach, the evening darkness comes earlier.

Paul is a State of Michigan Licensed Builder. Paul serves as President and founding member of Nationally franchised HandyPro Handyman Service, servicing Washtenaw, Wayne and Oakland Counties. Listen to Paul every Saturday at 11 a.m. on “It’s Your Business, Make It Happen” WAAM Talk 1600AM. Email questions or comments to



Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

I've seen some pretty big gaps in porch steps, esp. around central campus. I just fear that if and when folks patch up these holes, they'll be barricading squirrels, chipmunks or other animals who were taking shelter. Please check before you patch!!!!!!