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raymodj 09-24-2013 09:11 PM

Add concrete side walls to existing concrete steps
Let me start by saying that I've worked with cement and have my own mixer, but I'm definitely not an experienced pro.

We'd like to add 1920s looking low cement side walls to our existing cement steps. What we have now look like prefab cement steps with an embedded iron railing. The steps are in great shape and I'd like to keep them. I would like to get rid of the railings, though. Steps are only about 25 inches high so no code issues.

One concern is I'll have patch problems from taking out the existing railings. Any advice on taking out the railings and patching?

Next, I don't know if side walls are usually tied to steps when they're all poured as part of the same job. If so, I can't tie to existing cement, so how can I keep the side walls as straight and true as possible? Best foundation? Each side wall will take about a half yard of cement. I'm worried they'll start to lean away from the steps with our Minnesota winters.


joecaption 09-25-2013 08:41 AM

Got a picture?
What do you mean no code issues? No way could I get away with or even want to get rid of railings on a stoop that high.
I'm just not seeing a good outcome by trying to make your old stairs into a different design for a lot of reasons.

raymodj 09-25-2013 04:06 PM

Thanks for the response.

This is an old pic from when we bought the place. I took it to show the "before" weed yard. But it shows the railing, how it's embedded and the chipping cement. The rest of steps are still in good shape.

I agree that there are lots of potential problems. I've never had to patch cement. I have a hammer drill and masonry bits, so I could drill the old railings out. I'm just not sure if I'd have obvious ugly patches. As far as new side walls, there's a garden on each side of the steps (and some of those weeds still fighting for life), so it's easy to dig for the foundation. Just not sure what to use as a side wall foundation to keep movement to minimum. I can't find any pics online of the side wall style we want, but I think I can figure out the forms.

I don't want it to look worse after all that work. I might just have to give up on this project.

stadry 09-26-2013 07:13 AM

however you remove the railings, whatever you use to patch/fill the holes will be different in color & texture compared to existing conc

here's a thought - form & 'hang' the sidewalls from the existing IF there's enough strength to make it feasible,,, IF the steps are pre-cast, they're probably hollow so it won't work UNLESS you thru-bolt supporting steel

having accompanied your post w/location makes responses more relevant/easier ( eg, frost issues ),,, ugly' is in the eye of the beholder :laughing:

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