Can I add 1" of mortar to an existing bed of concrete recently poured?


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Old 01-14-11, 06:07 AM
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Can I add 1" of mortar to an existing bed of concrete recently poured?

I am doing a exterior stair case project.

Basically from the exterior landing of the house there is a 12" step down to meet the walkway. The walkway is then sloped to meet the driveway which is five feet away.

People have always mentioned how steep that first step is.

So what I did was after some measurements, I formed up the walkway and created two additional steps. So instead of previously a sloped walkway then a 12" step, now I have three 5" steps. It is already poured and curing five days ago.

However, even though I did careful measurements, I did not account for the uneven-ness of the walkway, as well as I did a bit of pitch on the step (1/4" per foot) so rain will drain to the driveway. Now I did some re-measure, and my steps are 5", 4-1/4" and 5-1/2".

I would like to even out the steps, because standing in front, I could visibly see that the middle step is not as deep as the others. May be no one else would notice, but I do.

So what I would like to do is to add 3/4" to the middle step uniformly. That would do it. For the step I used the Sackrete 60 lb 2500psi concrete mix. Now I am wondering, if I have to raise 3/4" on one step, can I use the same? This mix has some aggregate in them that's about 1/2" in size and the instructions says this is not intended for a thin patch.

Should I use another type of mortar to add this thickness?

and should I be doing this while the concrete below is still curing? It is ok to walk on now and I spray water everyday on it.

Thanks in advance,
 
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Old 01-14-11, 07:45 AM
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First, you do not use mortar for the top of a step, you use a concrete mix with the higher the strength, the better.

Your plan of adding 3/4" to the middle tread will make it match the rise of the top step to the exterior landing, but it will increase the rise of the lower step by 3/4" to about 6 1/4". This is still a trip hazard and will not meet any code if you ever have to worry about that.

Even if you are not under a code, a home inspector would spot it immediately as a safety or trip hazard and point it out to a prospective purchase that could be used in price negotiations.

If you do rebuild, set of steps so that you have 6" or so uniform risers to help stability of people using the steps. You can extend the tread depth to make it more comfortable if the tread measurement is not too great. Having the treads too large can be uncomfortable, but there is a little more leeway for external applications (especially with a wide stairway), but the risers should be uniform for a good feel.
 
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Old 01-14-11, 09:40 AM
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Your plan of adding 3/4" to the middle tread will make it match the rise of the top step to the exterior landing, but it will increase the rise of the lower step by 3/4" to about 6 1/4". This is still a trip hazard and will not meet any code if you ever have to worry about that.
I don't understand. As it is now, the step heights as it goes up are 5", 4-1/4" and 5-1/2". If I add 3/4" to the middle step, it will decrease the top step depth from 5-1/2" to 4-3/4", resulting in step depths of 5", 4-3/4" and 4-3/4". How did you come up with 6-1/2"?
 

Last edited by MiamiCuse; 01-14-11 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 01-14-11, 10:44 AM
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What are the lengths of the treads? (Distance from riser to riser).
 
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Old 01-14-11, 11:08 AM
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The length of the riser is 33", two of those, then the landing area which it over 5' long.
 
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Old 01-14-11, 11:37 AM
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I guess I just don't understand the dimensions and terminology provided.

A 33" length of a riser sounds like a width of a riser, which is very narrow.

Whenever you add to the height of a riser, you decrease the height difference to the one above and increase the difference to the step below.

Bottom line is that you want height difference to be very close to the other riser heights and the first step up from the landing. That makes the step safe and comfortable if you have enough tread depth to get a "toe hold".

A photo of the situation would provide some clarity.
 
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Old 01-14-11, 12:58 PM
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I'm with Dick - based on what you're saying, I see the bottom step being 6 1/4" as well

http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...your-post.html
 
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Old 01-14-11, 01:32 PM
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I don't see that guys....
"the step heights as it goes up are 5", 4-1/4" and 5-1/2"." I also don't really see these as steps so much...as small platforms leading to the larger landing. The 33" is the run...not the actual "width".

Adding 3/4" to the 4 1/4" would seem to indicate the heights would then be 5" (step up from the walk), then 5" (step up from the first platform) and 4 3/4 (step up from the second platform to the large landing)..... wouldn't it?
 
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Old 01-14-11, 02:15 PM
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All right, let's try this again:

The bottom step is 5", the middle is 4-1/4" and the top is 5-1/2". If you added 3/4" to the middle step, the bottom rise would stay 5", the middle would increase to 5" and the top would decrease to 4-3/4". I guess I see this now, had to draw it on paper first.
 
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Old 01-15-11, 07:35 AM
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Sorry for all the confusion. I didn't provide pictures or illustrations because I was really asking about the best way to add 3/4" to the step when the original concrete was recently poured.

Here is a scaled drawing with dimensions.



I am not familiar with the terminology. I am showing above the profile of the steps. In that profile view, to the left is my concrete driveway. Then three steps which I labeled to be step 1, step 2, and step 3 which takes me to the exterior landing. The landing is another 7 feet before I get to the front door. In this profile view, each step is 33", that is the distance I walk from the top of step 1 to the bottom of step 2.

The width of the step, which matches the width of the landing, is pretty wide, it is 90".

I am trying to raise step 2, which will increase step 2 from 4" to 4-3/4", and at the same time decrease step 3, the highest step from 5-1/2" to 4-3/4". The area I need to raise is therefore 90"W X 33"L X 3/4" D. Each step is also already pitched to the driveway a little at 1/4" per foot.

Now my question is, I poured these steps 4 days ago, it is still curing. What is the best way to add 3/4" to this? I assume I cannot use the same concrete mix I was using (Sakrete Concrete Mix 80lbs from Home Depot) because the aggregates in them could be 3/4" in size, so it may be difficult to finish the surface. So I am wondering if I want to do it now and not wait till the entire step cures in 28 days, what is the best product to use? The guy at Home Depot recommended I use Sakrete Sand Mix for this. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 01-17-11, 05:46 AM
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Originally, I was hoping that since these were located outside the house, you would have a bit more distance for the depth of the treads. (the distance you walk between stairs). Exterior pathways with steps are a lot more forgiving than a stairway.
There are a number of products recommended for use in this situation. I don't know that you will find them at the local box store. Euclid makes a product for use in areas that are an inch or less. Your use is exterior and it makes this a crap shoot at best. I know of no product that is going to match what you have in place. I would stay away from the sand mix as I don't believe it will last. Also if you do patch this use a bonding compound between whatever you add and the existing surface. I have used Euclids "Euco-weld" with a great deal of success in the past .
One other option is to call in a decorative concrete contractor and ask about a overlay and stain process. If he won't touch it...you know what you are in for.
Good luck with this.
 
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Old 01-19-11, 08:23 PM
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I end up calling Sackrete technical support and talked to them and they recommend using the sand mix or topping mix so I went with that. It looks ok, we shall see. I will wait a month then I will tile over everything.
 
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Old 01-20-11, 02:30 AM
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Were you originally planning to tile over it? You never mentioned the tile before, so I was assuming that you wanted a product that would bond, be a wear surface, and closely match the existing concrete. The tile will cover it all up, but depending on the tile could add another 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch of height. Now your step up from the driveway (which I assume will not be tiled) will be that much higher.
When choosing a tile, make certain it is for exterior use and will not be slippery when wet. You don't want anyone skating down the stairs in a light rain. I would personally never tile an exterior, but then again I live in a freeze/thaw climate. I've torn out dozens of tile jobs because of delamination and replaced them with stamped concrete. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-20-11, 07:33 AM
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Just wondering...have you thought of something like Jewel Stone? Though I guess in FL the bonding of tile would probably not be an issue. I agree with Pecos about the slippery tile. 2 houses right next door have tiled front entries and one has a tiled back patio. They look nice but are like walking on ice with the tiniest bit of rain. Definitely the wrong type were installed.
 
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Old 01-20-11, 11:47 AM
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Pecos yes originally I was planning on tiling all of them, all the steps and including the landing area. So after it is all said and done the height added to all of them will be identical.

I have not yet selected any tiles yet, but I am leaning to natural stone, or tiles rated for exterior use and non-slippery. Not going to use ceramic tiles.
 
 

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