Top of Steps - Options?

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Old 06-06-20, 10:40 AM
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Unhappy Top of Steps - Options?

My sister's garage has wooden steps that go down into her basement. The top step is (was) part of the garage floor slab. It was cracked all the way across and about an inch higher than the rest of the garage floor. My sister was concerned about this being a tripping hazard, which it was, and asked me to fix it.

My plan was to make two straight cuts in the concrete around the bad area, drill into each piece, insert coat hanger wire into each hole so it spans the gap, then fill it with new concrete. I was going to dovetail the cuts so that the new concrete would be held in by the old.

As you might guess by the fact that I'm posting this message, things did not go exactly according to plan.

The first cut went fine. The second was going fine up until I ran out of masonry cutoff wheels for my angle grinder; tried a metal cutoff wheel and... yeah, that didn't work. Got about 3" from a brand new wheel to it being completely gone. Guess there really is a reason they sell masonry wheels. The cuts weren't as deep as I wanted, so I chiseled out the old concrete, using the cut to provide a neat edge. Unfortunately, during this time is when I discovered WHY the crack formed, why the top step was higher than the floor, and why the top step always seemed a bit loose to me.

The top step is on top of the concrete block foundation of the house. Whoever built the house put blue plastic on top of the block so they wouldn't have to fill it and formed the concrete over it. The garage floor settled more than the foundation, so this part broke off. Unfortunately, the concrete does not stick to the plastic they used; I can move the top step back and forth without any trouble as it's attached to absolutely nothing. (It is so loose that I think I could simply lift up on the top step and lift it right out of place.) Because of how this was done, the step breaking like this was inevitable.

I've attached pictures of where it stands now. I had the idea of continuing to cut out the garage floor concrete as I'd planned, grinding the bottom smooth, and putting in a piece of 2x material to replace the top step back onto the floor slab, using tapcons to bolt it to the garage floor and L-brackets to bolt it to the walls near the front of the step. Other than this, I really have no ideas. Really hoping somebody here will have an better/easier idea than this - appreciate any advice.

 
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Old 06-06-20, 10:48 AM
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I would just take a hammer and smash out all that concrete. Or use a rotary hammer and chisel. Just dont break any of the block. Get rid of the vinyl. Once you do, you will likely be left with the open concrete block cores. A cup wheel on a grinder is useful for smoothing out and removing anything you cant chip out... it just makes a lot of dust. A water bottle with a hole drilled in the cap makes a nice squirt bottle to keep it wet and keep dust down. Get spray foam for large gaps, shove some crumpled up newspaper down the holes about 6". Then cover that with a little spray foam. You arent filling the whole core up, just make a plug. You want to fill those cores with concrete when you patch the floor.

No, don't use any wood, patch this with concrete.
 
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Old 06-06-20, 11:21 AM
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That certainly sounds a LOT faster, easier, and longer lasting than my idea! Going to go with that - off to buy some spray foam, wheels, and another bag of concrete. Thank you so much.
 
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Old 06-06-20, 11:24 AM
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Just to ensure you know what I meant, this is a cup wheel.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-4...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

And be sure its clean before you put the new concrete on. Wetting the old concrete will help the new concrete stick better.
 
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Old 06-06-20, 11:26 AM
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I want minimally expanding spray foam for this application, correct?
 
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Old 06-06-20, 11:28 AM
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Not necessarily. You can use the foam for big gaps, just use it sparingly so that it doesnt overexpand. You just need to cover the newspaper and have enough foam there to support the weight of the concrete until its hard.
 
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Old 06-06-20, 11:31 AM
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Got it - thank you again.
 
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Old 06-06-20, 04:02 PM
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And in the future a diamond blade will cut through that concrete all day and all night!
 
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