It starts slowly … a crumble here, a crack there … and you might barely even notice, or for a long time there might not be enough damage to worry about. Concrete radiates an aura of permanence, but eventually even that long-time trusty staircase up to your building entrance or the back steps behind the loading dock — that old staircase that nobody pays attention to — will start showing signs of strain and wear.
If it’s cosmetic, you can choose to leave it be, or if it’s in a highly visible area a quick fix will make a better impression on your customers and visitors. If it’s structural and it’s not addressed in a timely fashion, it can pose a safety hazard and get closer and closer to needing some serious repair or even replacement, costing serious money when it could have been fixed earlier much more quickly and inexpensively. A few dollars to fix the steps beats an expensive high-profile lawsuit any day of the week!
Concrete is built to last, after all the Colosseum is still (mostly) standing; Roman concrete is legendary for its durability. Outdoor concrete, however — and especially staircases — will eventually give way due to the construction boots and heavy items that are trudged and lugged up and down them. In a busy warehouse, chances are that getting people, palettes and equipment where they have to go takes precedence over keeping a set of stairs in pristine condition. Eventually those back steps will pay the price.
If water or moisture gets inside even a small crack, a freeze thaw cycle can exacerbate the process of deterioration. The expansion of the ice, followed by the contraction after it melts, can result in cracking or crumbling. Each time this happens, the water can ooze further into the concrete and make a small crack bigger. Without some attention, this will get worse each season and could create a dangerous structural problem.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had to repair the concrete steps at your facility, it’s time to learn about the improvements in the materials and techniques available that make this a much easier and more inexpensive project. A decade ago, a maintenance crew would likely replace crumbling concrete steps more often than repair them, but that’s changed as newer products designed for this purpose make more cosmetic and stable repairs.
But just to make sure, ask yourself if by making these simple repairs that you can restore the original integrity of your staircase. If it’s too far deteriorated, meaning too much spalling, chipping, or there’s a structural break you may need to replace it. It might not hurt to get a professional opinion if it’s come to that point.
Step By Step Stair Repair
If you’ve been putting off repairing your cracked or crumbling concrete steps because you think it’s a disruptive and expensive undertaking, it’s time to take a look at Watco Floors' QuickFloor® Curb and Step Repair. This product is a moldable formula with no framework needed, simply add water! This is a damp tolerant product with no grinding necessary, and it stays where you put it. It even clings to overhead surfaces both inside and out. It allows for a quick return to service, which can save you significant downtime vs. other repair procedures.
With QuickFloor® Curb and Step Repair, you can fix holes of up to six inches deep, and it sets in just 20 minutes (with 6-8hr curing). It mixes up easily in a plastic container and may be painted to match surroundings. You’ll need to remove any debris and unsound concrete from the area, along with any previous patching materials, before you apply. A few easy steps get it ready for repairing holes, scuffs and cracks in the concrete steps. After the initial set time (15-20 minutes), shave the material to follow the shape of the surrounding surface Always shave toward the common bonding lines between the repair mortar and the existing surface. Putting in a little bit of work now may just save your customers or employees from injury, as well as from a much larger and more expensive project in the future.
Watco is a leading manufacturer of concrete repair and patching products for commercial facilities. Let Watco be your go-to for all things dealing with concrete repair!