Concrete over brick? Or just rip up the mess and start over?

Old 05-27-14, 10:30 AM
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Concrete over brick? Or just rip up the mess and start over?

We bought a house and keep coming up with "what the <bleep> was he thinking?" moments (regarding the last owner). The current one has to do with brickwork.

To say it was shoddily done would be generous. To say its getting dangerous would be more accurate. The part in question is a short set of steps between the front walkway and the bottom of the porch steps. Probably 3 short risers. The front walkway is cement, the bottom of the porch steps are cement (the steps are wood right now). It looked nice when we bought the place, but now the bricks are coming out and making trip hazards.

We were first thinking of encasing the whole mess in cement, make it smooth, even steps. Now, with chunks of brick and masonary coming out, we're thinking of ripping it out and making a ramp (the ground is sloped).

I did some brick laying last summer to extend the swale the rest of the way around the house, but that was my first foray and I know I am not good enough to re-do the steps.

Any suggestions? Would I be biting off too much to try to do it myself?
Old 05-27-14, 04:06 PM
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If the bricks are loose, you should start from scratch. They can no longer provide a good foundation. Look at some youtube videos. I'm sure that you'll be able to do the job.
Old 05-29-14, 12:28 AM
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here 1 can hire skilled brickies for $150-200 day incl lunch & many even speak decent english,,, i'd gamble w/better odds & hire the skill as opposed to otj,,, IF you're a quik learner, doing it 3x should be enough to show where you need improvement,,, otoh, doing it shoddily will give shudders as you walk by it during the coming years you own your very fine home just my $.03
Old 05-31-14, 08:39 PM
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Perfecting one's concrete placement and finishing skills on a long, elevated ramp could present a challenge. Not that it can't be done, it's just a bit more complex than simple flat work. Knowing how to correctly build the side forms (such that they don't bulge out or collapse when vibrating the concrete), and the correct way to proportion the slab and side wall thicknesses and properly reinforce them is where people lacking experience can run into trouble. If you want to give it a try, you can always come back here for answers to questions that come up at any stage of the process.

I can remember the first time I poured (or helped pour, more correctly) a fairly large concrete slab with steps. The job involved replacing a front stoop on our church's parsonage, as the existing one was shot beyond repair. I was a mid-20s, wet-behind-the-ears college graduate who didn't know beans about placing or finishing. Another parishioner was my mentor, and he had many years' experience working concrete. I'll always remember his willingness to teach me the hows and whys of the entire process. The things I learned in those 3 days stuck with me for more than 40 years, and helped me develop a good set of concrete placement and finishing skills.

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