Concrete steps

Our front steps have now been tidied up so that we have better access to the front yard. We still have to render the concrete now, but here's a little update and how we did it:

We bought about 20 metres of 150x20 mil rough sawn pine for the step form. (150 is a perfect step height).

Because steps want to be at least 300 mil deep, and we needed a side wall, we also bought about 6metres of 250x20 board to make up the diagonal side walls.

If you look closely, you might be able to see that I notched out the diagonal to hold the step form. I prolly would do this again, as it made screeding difficult, and removing the form difficult. The little square boards you can see on the side wall and the batten brace were easily anough to hold the step form.

It was a last minute decision to pour yesterday. We hired a 6x4 trailer ($30), and lined it with plastic ($14) to pick up 0.6 cubic meters of ready mix ($130). It was a hot and windy day, so we have to be quick with it. Mike from next door brought over some buckets and we chain carried it into the form.

We moved quickly with this, placing rocks to fill out some space and ensuring that the rocks were placed well away from the sides. We had the pour done in just over 30 minutes.

Estimating an hour for the mix to start hardedning in these conditions, we wasted no time leveling off the pour using straight timber to start and a trowl to smooth. About then Sarna and Chico arrived, surprised to see that we had already done the pour, but in time for the leveling.

It was a little fiddley doing this actually, and it turned out that we didn't quite have enough (short by 1 bucket load). So we skimped on the side wall to make sure the steps were full.

About 30 minutes later we had the basic leveling done. Sunshine went and made sausages and drinks while everyone else finished the smoothing of. We didn't mess around with it too much towards to end, basically just getting it to the right level.

Then we let it go a bit hard (finger hard, another 1 hour) so I could use a scrubbing brush to take out any ridges and bumps. I finally finished the surface off with a paint brush, and rounded the edges a little with the trowel.

Next morning I pulled off the form to reveal a mostly good result. The air pockets are not too serious and the rendering will finish it off nicely. The steps are all a good height and level and are strong. I need to research rendering a bit and will do that in the next week...

Pretty happy with our first attempt at concreting, and feel confident about the rest of the job around the back. Well have to get around 4 cubic meters pumped around the back ($800 + $280 for the pump :( Its very expensive, almost as much to cover the area in timber. 2nd hand pavers would be cheaper and use less in terms of non renwable material, but a lot more work... still thinking about it.

3 comments:

  1. karikim said...

    Looks great guys!
    hortykim

  2. rae said...

    the steps look fab - just keen to know how long that took?

  3. Angela Killpack said...

    Wow, you did those steps all on your own? That looks like a lot of work and materials! How long did it take from the beginning of the project til the end? http://www.unitstepjoliet.com



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