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Old 01-30-2012, 08:20 PM   #1
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Concrete steps


I'm pouring a couple concrete steps as a landing at the base of some outdoor stairs. I was wondering about finishing the riser and the inner seam. Does anyone have any tips on when you can take off the riser form and still work the surface? 30 minutes after a stiff pour perhaps? After it looses its shiny finish? Of course if you take it off too soon it might slump and you have a disaster on you hands.

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Old 01-30-2012, 08:28 PM   #2
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Rip a 45° on the bottom of the riser- you can finish the tread w/o pulling the riser.

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Old 01-30-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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Here's an appearance trick. Smoothly apply visqueen to the inside (concrete side) of the riser form, and it will come off, after it dries, leaving the riser finished like it was glass.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:51 AM   #4
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Ayuh,... Or, pull the forms the followin' mornin'...

Then you can finish off those areas will a mixture of portland, 'n water scrubbed or brushed on, 'n rubbed out...
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ovahimba View Post
I'm pouring a couple concrete steps as a landing at the base of some outdoor stairs. I was wondering about finishing the riser and the inner seam. Does anyone have any tips on when you can take off the riser form and still work the surface? 30 minutes after a stiff pour perhaps? After it looses its shiny finish? Of course if you take it off too soon it might slump and you have a disaster on you hands.
Certainly longer than 30 minutes unless you poured an extremely tight concrete (like 2" slump or less) and vibrated it to death. It really depends on a ton of variables but it's typically 1.5-3 hours here. If the tread slumps slightly when you pull the form, it's not the end of the world, just screw it back in place.

Ripping the bottom of the riser form helps, oiling the forms liberally helps, and make sure you're not "jamming" the forms together when forming it, they don't need to fight as tight as trimwork, as they're only temporary, and are harder to take apart than put together if tight. Also, these make finishing steps much easier:

http://www.concretesupplyhouse.com/c...ter_2998.shtml
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:10 AM   #6
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Ayuh,... Or, pull the forms the followin' mornin'...

Then you can finish off those areas will a mixture of portland, 'n water scrubbed or brushed on, 'n rubbed out...
That's the beauty of lining the forms with visqueen. No finishing, whatsoever. None! And they come out looking like polished marble.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses. I'm probably thinking its more difficult than it really is, though you never know when you do it the first time.

While I have your attention, here is a diagram of the slab I'm placing. Its colored in yellow and the slanted plane is grade. It will sit on old fill of sand and adobe clay. Anyone see a problem with it shifting downhill? Should I put in deeper geometry under the slab like troughs or post holes to give it better grip? Also would you give the surface a slight slant to prevent puddling water?
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:43 PM   #8
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I would poor the left side thicker, so that it is anchored into the ground, especially if you plan to put a retaining wall of some sort to hold the existing grade back. As for pitch, 1/4" per foot is the industry standard.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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that diagram is absolutely GORGEOUS ! ! all the other guys are right ! !
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:53 AM   #10
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Great tips. I redesigned the slab and had a couple more questions.

Does a shape like this need control joints?

I assume pros would do this in one pour but I was thinking forming and finishing the top right part would be easier doing a second pour. How would you do it?
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:53 AM   #11
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I would do it in one pour, but I can understand why you want to do it in two. As long as you leave a few rebar dowels sticking up out of the first pour, I don't see any problems with it.

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