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Fix options for sinking concrete front steps

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by thinkxingu, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,075
    Loc:
    S.NH
    Hello All,
    Our front entry steps are cast concrete and, over the years, have sunk about six inches. What are the options for fixing this?

    Thanks, and Happy New Year!

    S

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  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Bend, OR
    1. Rip it all out & build new.

    2. Dig underneath and jack it up a bit above where it belongs, pour new footer below, set it back down.

    3. Leave it and build something new over the top of it that makes it "disappear".

    Those are my initial off-the-cuff thoughts. Rick
  3. Beardog

    Beardog Member

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    Loc:
    NW CT
    Jack them up and put stone dust under them?
  4. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    North central Alberta, Canada
    Your settlement is likely due to improper/non existant, footings/foundations under the steps.

    If that is indeed the case you will need to support the weight of the steps while you do 2. as per fossil,s post. Hoping you have either a long run of stairs or a short one, reason being that a long run allows you to jack & support while working, a short run can be removed by two people & replaced after footing is done while something in the middle say five steps works really well as a teeter toter, that's fun & interesting until you realize that you have to crawl underneath. Whatever the situation winds up being don't be to proud to put in blocking to support that weight. Stay safe.
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    If they are light enough you may be able to roll them back and dig/pour footers for them.

    Matt
  6. Agent

    Agent Member

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    Oct 5, 2011
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    Loc:
    Gillette, WY
    I've got the exact same problem here. Someone decided that compacting the fill around the basement was not necessary, so low and behold, everything in a 8' perimeter around the house sank - including the garage slab. =(
    Most folks here rip out and repour, but I've seen a few that added a miniature deck over the existing stairs.
  7. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    Jan 17, 2008
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    Loc:
    SE Iowa
    Might look into mud-jacking. My dad designs roads/bridges and told me that they can even lift small overpasses (bridges) with mud-jacking. My only experience with is is lifting labs of concrete (sidewalks and driveways) but would assume it might work for you. Only cost a few hundred $ i'll bet.
  8. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,075
    Loc:
    S.NH
    Thanks for the replies, all. There are a couple precast concrete and mud-jacking places near me- I'll give them a shout to see what they could do. I wasn't sure if there was an easy or DIY fix.

    S
  9. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    A coworker had the same problem, he called the place that makes and installs the cast conrrete steps.

    He said one guy came out and pried it up with a big bar and shoved some bricks and stone dust under it.

    Charged him $25.
  10. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    There is a pump technique that I have seen where they dig a small hole and put a concrete hose in it then pump them up. This is used in my town to fix sidewalks and works very well it seems to be easy as well givin it takes just a couple of minutes to do after mixing is done.

    Good luck
    Pete
  11. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Had the same problem. Used a floor jack for a car (the jack on wheels) Dug down a bit and jacked up the front to make it level. Placed a large pressure treated beam underneath it for support and then removed the jack. (BEam was from left to right under the stairs)
    Then on each side of the precast near your house foundation, you probably have a metal bracket on either side that the steps sit upon. (Bracket ot most likely bolted to the foundation)
    If yours was like mine, the steps have slowly creeped away from the house, and there will be a gap between your house foundation and precast steps.
    So....find yourself some solid pipe or a couple of lag bolts that aren't threaded all the way. (Think if a metal roller about the size of a dime or smaller)
    Take the jack, and lift each side of the step closest to the bracket to allow you to place the pipe/roller underneath the precast step and on top of the bracket. Repeat the same for the other side. (You may have to dig a little on each side to get the jack underneath...also can use a piece of wood under the jack to it is stabil)
    At this point, you will have a roller under the left and right hand side on the brackets, and have the PT beam carrying the load in the front.....now here is the archimedes part.....take the car/floor jack and slowly jack up the front of the steps....once you have reached parallel from front to back, place some cribbing under the steps and the PT beam. (Shouldn't need much)
    So now, when you jack a little more in the front, the back will be a little lower that the front, and the steps should start to creep back to the foundation..jack very slowly....only had to have mine roll back about 1-2 inches.
    Once the back is flush against the foundation, you can adjust your cribbing on the front of the steps to the level you want, and then remove the jack.
    Then you can pour a few footings and take it from there.
    Good luck
  12. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    If it sunk 6" all around (ie. Not leaning) then 6" is just about one step. 4 pressure treated 2x6's sandwiched together and tap-con them right at the door and call it a day.

    If it's all wonky, like the rear dropped 3 inches and the front dropped 6, then mud-jacking (same as slab jacking -->drilling a hole and pressuring in concrete) won't work, because most of the cast steps I've seen are a hollow object sitting on a footer.

    Requires jacking up steps and digging and repairing. A fork lift is super helpful. So is a FEL or even a backhoe with a couple tow straps.

    Edit: Just re-read Rick's post... Yeah, what he said, lol.
  13. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    I am suprised noone else suggested this, how about lowering the house six inches??? ;-P
  14. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    Loc:
    Deep South
    If it's just settled that's one thing, but sinking steps can also be a symptom of a water problem. i.e., water eroding the dirt out from under the steps. If you have that problem you need to fix it first. Call someone who specializes in water mitigation if you're not sure.
  15. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    4,994
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    I had that problem & called a cast step company & had em removed.
    They were about 4 steps high & maybe 5 feet wide with wrought iron
    railings & flat out looked like crap. The truck driver who showed up,
    punched a hole thru the top, ran a chain thru the hole & hoisted the
    entire casting & drove it away. I built a 10 x 20 covered front porch
    & divorced the wife before I ever got to relax on the damn thing...
    I drive by the ole place occasionally, & that porch looks as good
    as when I built it in 1998. Those cast steps would probably be
    UNDERGROUND by now!

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