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Cement Step Repair

This week’s tutorial is all about showing you a quick way to fix cement steps in less than one day.

Here’s the deal, you don’t need any cement experience to do this.

If you mess up it won’t be the end of the world either. After all, you already have a broken step, right?

I’ll walk you through this repair, show you all the tools and share the products that are DIY friendly.

Cement isn’t much different than playdough, although the former is a tad bit harder in the end!!

So let’s have some fun and get started πŸ™‚

Cement Step Repair Supplies

Here are the supplies you need

Yes, there are a lot of tools.

But read on and I’ll have a surprise at the end that could help πŸ˜‰

Here’s what you’ll learn

  • How to patch crumbling or broken cement steps

Your first step to fixing steps (pun totally intended, haha) is prep work.

Prep work: it’s not just for the prom, cement steps have needs too!!

I remember the prom and think cement steps need more primping than guys.

Seriously, all I did was comb my hair, buy some flowers, and rent a tux.

Chip off any loose or crumbling cement. You can use a hammer and cold chisel to do this.

You’ll also want to undercut the edges of the step. Undercutting is simply adding a v-shaped groove. This helps the new cement stay in place during freeze/thaw cycles.

Remove Old Loose Cement

Drill holes into the crumbling step using a hammer drill and Tapcon drill bit. Stick with me here because this tip can mean the difference between your step lasting years or falling apart.

Drill Holes with Hammer Drill


Add Tapcon Screws…They’re Awesome

Tapcon screws can then be screwed into the holes and act as anchors for the new cement. This anchoring effect should be used on areas of the step that are steep.

Use Tapcon Screws

You can use either your hammer drill or impact driver to tighten the Tapcon screws. I used Tapcons that were 1 3/4 inches long and like to have their heads 1/4 or 1/2 inch below the new cement.

Add Tapcons to Step

The one thing you don’t want is the screw heads to be sticking out above the new surface. So keep this in mind when tightening them.

Apply Bonding Adhesive (Important!!!)

Dust off the entire step. Loose cement or dust will hurt the bond between the new cement and the old step.

Remove Dust and Loose Cement

For repairs that require more than 1/2 inch of cement, you should consider using Quikrete Bonding Adhesive. This product is fabulous at getting new cement to bond with the existing step.

Apply Bonding Adhesive

Let the adhesive dry for 2-3 hours before applying the new cement.

Wait for Adhesive to Dry

Now that you’re done with prep it’s time to go to the big dance. And I’ll show you all the right moves, like what cement to use and how to tool it.

Using the right cement and tools (and believe it or not, they all fit in your car’s trunk)

It’s amazing that your holiday turkey might weigh more than the cement in today’s project.

You can buy 20-pound pails of Quikrete Quick Setting Cement. So you don’t need to be a strong person to fix cement steps, contrary to most TV shows.

Quikrete Cement

I like using this kind of cement because it sets up in 15-20 minutes. Yes, you’ll have to move fast but don’t worry. I’ll show you how to save time.

Measure the height of your step. Cut a piece of wood that’s at least that height. You’ll want the wood to also be the length of the step because it will serve as a form.

Make Wood Form

Spray the form with Pam, yes I recommend Pam cooking spray! Primarily because you probably already have it. Pam prevents your new cement from sticking to the wood form.

Spray Form with PAM

Trust me, Pam is a remarkable cement or concrete tool. If it stops steak or chicken from sticking to the grill then cement is no match!

Place the wood form against the step. Place cinder blocks again the wood to hold it in place.

I chose to use Quikrete Quick Setting Cement for this project for its quick drying time. And this was an absolute necessity since there’s no other way to
access the house except through these steps.

After watching my video you’ll likely have a good idea of how fast you need to work. It’s not that hard but you do need to keep track of time so that the cement doesn’t harden on you (or your front steps!!!)

Mixing the Cement (this stuff sets fast)

Before mixing up the cement have all of your tools ready so that you can move quickly.

Estimate how much cement you need then add it to a plastic tub. Create a crater in the cement then add your water. This makes it easier to mix the cement with a shovel or hoe.

The final consistency should be like super thick ice cream. Scoop the cement up with a margin trowel and dump it between the wood form and step. Push down on the cement to compress it against the form. Once your cement is packed down you should use a steel trowel to make it level.

Trowel on New Cement

Use a level to check that it, well, is in fact level. Look for any low or high spots. Fill low spots with extra cement and remove high areas with your steel trowel.

Levelness of New Cement

Remove the wood form and fill voids on the vertical surface. You can either use your steel trowel or level to check that the vertical portion is plumb (aka straight up and down). This process is just like the one you did for the horizontal area of the step.

Fill Voids

Once you’re satisfied with the shape of your step you can use an edging tool to round off the edge. This is a nice touch and also helps preserve the structural integrity of the step.

Shape Step Edge

Smooth the surface of your step with a grout/cement sponge. You’ll totally love the texture the sponge leaves behind and it also gives super-smooth transitions between the old and new surface.

Smooth Cement with Sponge

Steps for Longterm Success (pun intended)

Keep the new cement moist for as long as the directions state. In this case, it’s 48 hours.

Keep New Cement Moist

You can then cover the cement with plastic to preserve the moisture.

Cover with Plastic

The final thing you need to do is seal the new cement. If you use Acrylic Concrete Cure and Sealer by Quikrete there’s no need to spray the cement step with water. This kind of sealer can be sprayed immediately after the cement has set up and it’ll keep the cement strong for years to come.

Seal New Cement

You’ll literally get your curb appeal back in one day by fixing your steps.

What’s Next

Our other tutorial showing how to install outdoor landscape lighting is fantastic – it’s an easy way to get curb appeal!

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.



Cement Step Repairs

  1. Dorth says:

    We were away for the winter (left Pgh for Fla), and when we got back noticed big cracks in our driveway. Our son will have to repair it this summer. My husband and I are both DYI handicapped. Thanks for all you great ideas.x

    1. Thanks Dorth, it was a super bad winter in Pittsburgh.

      You might be able to just fill the small cracks using a good crack filling product from Quikrete or Sakrete. Make sure to read the directions on the bottle and measure the width of your cracks to see if these products will work.

      I used filler with a putty knife and it turned out well.

  2. C Goodwin says:

    Nice job! Might suggest tamping vertically through the new patch, before removing the form. This might eliminate most of the voids that have to be filled later.

    1. Good suggestion, I push down as much as possible with the trowels. But tamping with something else might be a better option.

      1. C Goodwin says:

        That would be similar to contractors dropping vibrators down through the concrete, between the forms, when pouring a wall.

      2. heath says:

        You can use a palm sander with no pad on it as a vibrator. Usually works pretty well. Just run it over the board and will fill in most or all of the voids. Depending on thickness of the mix.

  3. Char says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Did almost this exact same thing, and something I thought would be an unbelievably huge expense [ -total removal and replacing] turned out fantastic! Thank you!

    1. Great job Char! Doesn’t sound like you spent a ton of money yet got a fantastic result.

      Did you use the same cement or a different product? I’d like to know because maybe your fix is better πŸ™‚

  4. anamaria says:

    I really enjoy all your tips. I was wondering if I could use this same procedure to repair the cracks in my cement driveway. They look awful and seem to be getting worse each winter. I really need to get these fixed. thanks

    1. Hi Amamaria, the cracks can be approached a few different ways. You have crack filler for small fractures. If you’re trying to repair joints you can use a different approach with backer rod and self-leveling products.

      What kind of cracks are your dealing with: small ones in the pad or expansion joints?

  5. Jeremy says:

    My front cement steps are not broken, but look old and tired. Do you have any reccomendations to spruce them up? Thanks for your posts!

    1. Thanks Jeremy, you could always try to power wash them or apply a penetrating stain. The stains look really cool, although I’ve never used them. Quikrete has a stain that doesn’t peel called Penetrating Concrete Stain. Check that out and let me know your thoughts.

      1. dar says:

        A retired pal had the same stuff, Jeremy,so this old mechanic grabbed an almost empty bag of mortar,pail&h20, using a windshield brush to thinly spread it…the wrought iron railing made it tricky,but the low profile brush was the ticket…surprisingly,it looks pd good an extreme canadian year after…

  6. Patti says:

    Wow … I definitely think I can handle this project … I wish I had seen this before deciding to rip out my old cement steps …
    Thanks for always showing such clear and concise ways to fix all those home upkeep projects that most of us need to hire a pro for … checking your how-to’s always makes that choice clearer for me … by the way, I replaced my shower surround with your help! Thanks again!

    1. Thanks Patti, your kind words make me want to do more projects!!!

      Glad your surround turned out great. Make sure to send me some pics, I’d love to see them πŸ™‚

  7. Joe Lydic says:

    Jeff! This is awsome! I actually need to do this exact repair at my rental sometime soon. Thanks for the tutorial video and info. You just saved me a bunch of prep time and research time. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Keep up the good work and thanks for all of the great info.


    1. Thanks Joe. Glad this helped and you’ll save a ton of money by DIYing your steps.

      This is a repair I know you can do πŸ™‚

  8. Sally Gillies says:

    I love your tutorials, Jeff. this is one i won’t do, however. i have no steps! Florida homes are like that! I had carpel tunnel surgery this week along with ulnar nerve realignment so i havent finished my penny backsplash yet. And typing isn’t that easy either. i’ll be back in ten days or so with pics of this interrupted project. So happy i found your site!

    1. Glad to hear your surgery went well Sally. That’s not easy to go through. Get better soon and when you’re back I’d love to see your penny backsplash pics πŸ™‚

  9. Sheri B says:

    My steps aren’t badly broken as in your demo. At some point, the steps and porch were “painted” red. The red is peeling off the front side of the steps. The peel appears to be about .5 inches thick. Could this be a non-penetrating stain like you mentioned in another comment? Or just poorly made steps that are coming apart differently than your demo?

    1. Hard to say Sheri. Do you mind sending me some pictures?

      You can forward them to [email protected]

  10. Wayne says:

    will be making cement stepping stones for my front entry. Have a 4′ section of grass beside my short entry walk and will use stepping stones to add a couple of chairs and a table to enjoy the summer.

    1. Whoa, sounds cool Wayne. Keep me posted on how you do it. I love stonework, it just has a classic look that lasts forever.

  11. Linda in Ky says:

    Love the videos! I really enjoy how you break it down to make it easy enough for a novice to understand. Watching them has made me brave enough to try my very first home repair myself and I succeeded! Thanks for the boost of confidence.

    1. Way to go Linda!!

      Good job getting over your fears and going for it.

      Thanks for liking my videos and if you ever want a specific tutorial please let me know πŸ™‚

  12. Debbie says:

    Thanks for all your great tips!!
    Debbie C.

    1. Thanks Debbie, glad to help any time πŸ˜‰

  13. Emily says:

    Well at least I know why my repair from last summer crumbled over the winter! And thanks to you I know what to do now.

    1. That stinks Emily, sorry to hear that. It was a really tough winter though. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

      Let me know if you have any questions this time around.

      What kind of cement product did you use last time?

  14. Gwyne says:

    Thanks for all the info.

    1. You bet Gwyne.

      Let me know if you try this project and if you have any questions πŸ˜‰

  15. Connie says:

    I don’t have steps, but I do need to sledgehammer out some concrete slab in my great room to replace floor outlets in a 30 yr old house. One of the receptacles shorted, flamed out and died a little while back. I can’t get exact replacements so I have to make the holes bigger to accommodate new boxes and receptacles. It seems like this process will work for filling in after the electrician installs the new outlets.
    I’m replacing carpet with hardwood so now is the time to do the repair! Also have a crack to fix.
    BTW I am a DIYer who always thinks a project sounds simple until I run into that “little” unexpected moment that throws me for a loop. C’est la vie!

    1. I hear ya Connie, that is the way it goes!!

      And for some reason it’s that way a lot for me, lol.

      Once you get started please feel free to reach out to me if you’ve got any questions.

      I’d love to see your new hardwood floors πŸ™‚

  16. Britt says:

    Really enjoy reading all of your DIY articles. Seeing things like redoing bathroom floors and showers broken down step-by-step make doing them much less daunting.

    1. Thanks Britt. I think that once we see how simple a project can be it gives us hope that we can do it ourselves. Too often the books and magazines out there try to overcomplicate things or leave out some of the small stuff.

      It’s funny how the minor details can be the most frustrating part of DIYing. So I try to include that stuff in the tutorials.

      Let me know if you’d like to see a specific tutorial, I’d be happy to do one for you πŸ™‚

  17. Mr Hank Wolgast says:

    You might try tapping the outside face of the form with a hammer to help fill the voids on the front of the step. I would do this as you are putting the concrete in from the top. I have used this tip many times with good results.

    1. Thanks Hank, that’s a great tip. Next time I’ll definitely give that a shot.

      Do you have a certain kind of DIY concrete that you like?

  18. Mark J says:

    Looks pretty easy! Nice job!
    How many tapcon screws would you suggest using for any given situation? It looks like you used one screw about every 6-8 inches in the area that would need the heaviest amount of cement. Is that a good general rule?

    1. Thanks Mark. It’s hard to say how many to use. I spread them out about every 6 inches so as to not compromise the existing cement’s structural integrity. Putting the Tapcons in the area that needs the most cement is the best strategy for sure.

      Use a hammer drill and Tapcon bit to drill the holes. This is totally the way to go when drilling into cement. Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

  19. dennis allen says:

    great video jeff. the one thing I would change is to make the form the same height as the step.

    1. Thanks Dennis, that’s a great tip. A good one to follow especially if you want an easier way to keep the new cement level.

      I’ll tell you, I wish I could have done this but unfortunately the step beneath the one I repaired is all wonky πŸ™

      It’s only a matter of time before I have to fix that one, too. If it’s not one thing it’s another with homes. Always something to repair.

  20. Hannah C says:

    Thanks for posting this!! All the pics are super helpful!

    1. Glad to help Hannah, let me know if you need help πŸ™‚

  21. Pims Little says:

    Excellent advice. The devil is as ever in the details. Proper curing and sealing are key. Concur with tamping advice.

  22. Chris C says:

    Thank you for the tutorial!

  23. JR Atkins says:

    Jeff this is great stuff! I’m trying to sort out my own repair right now and maybe you have a tip. I need to fix the rounded curb on my driveway approach. Seems like the people who lived here before didn’t know how to back out of the driveway. Is there a good method to curving the curb? By the way your Pam trick is excellent!

  24. jim says:

    Great easy to understand video. Thanks again!

  25. Mark Wilder says:

    Hi Jeff, Thanks for th video, there’s a few great ideas that will come in handy.
    I was really excited when I read the subject line of this recent installment because I have crumbling steps that need repair, but mine are crumbling from underneath! My stairs span over my basement door and the space underneath is enclosed and quite humid. The concrete is falling little by little and there are some rebar exposed. Any thoughts on concrete patching the underside of the stairs?

    Oh, and one more thing, this mixture is primarily made up of medium and large pebbles. It’s odd to me.



  26. John says:

    It worked for me

  27. Jim Sanders says:

    It’s a pretty quick and simple process to fix up those crumbling steps, you just have to decide to do it. When we moved into our home, the front steps looked exactly like your example steps. It was years before we finally fixed it up and it was so simple. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  28. Jason says:

    Thanks for the info! I have a question though… I am wanting to apply a concrete stain to a front patio so after I repair the front steps adjoining this patio should I let them dry and wait to apply the concrete sealer until after I stain the concrete? In other words, will the new sealed step mismatch the unsealed concrete patio? Thanks!

  29. Wow, there are a lot of steps that go into this stair repair process! We’ve got some really old cement stairs that lead to our front door, and the might need a bit more help than this to look appealing again. I mostly think we should just take them out and replace them with a set of wood stairs.

  30. April Cook says:

    I have a few crumbling steps of my back porch that need to be fixed, and I so glad I found this information. Thanks for the tip on using Pam to keep the cement from sticking to the form. I would have never thought of that! Do you have any tips on what we should do if the form does end up getting stuck? Thanks for all the help!

    1. If you spray the form with Pam and make sure all the wood is covered the cement won’t stick. That’s truly my best advice πŸ™‚

      You’ll be fine πŸ™‚

  31. john says:

    my step is not broken but has fallen away from the house wall. any ideas how to fix, please

  32. Eddie says:

    Time. No labor :(side job price)

  33. Cory Sheldahl says:

    Hey jeff–what if the stairs aren’t eroding but rather separating from your original form? Do I put more cement in the gap or will that force the stair to move even further away, eventually breaking the stair off altogether? It looks like a repair job that somebody put in new stairs over the original set and now it’s moving away from the landing

  34. Tim says:

    My steps have not crumbled, but they have settled over time, and also slightly pulled away from the house. Could your technique work to level the landing and each of three steps? Or am I better off jackhammering them out and starting fresh?

    1. Tim, you might want to try leveling them first to see if that’ll work. It’ll be cheaper. Then, if they still crumble after a year or two, you can decide whether to jack hammer them out. Old steps are such a pain in the butt!!!

  35. Deborah Reyes says:

    Hi Jeff, so here’s my dilema. I have 5 steps to my frt door, the third step up broke off the entire corner on the right side and I am attached to a neighbor on the left side, also wrought iron rail on broken side. The frt form would work but I have an entire open area on side. I did have a thought of building a cinder block wall on side first anchored to existing area, then form and fill in broken corners, what do you think? Any ideas? 😭😭🀒🀒. Thanks

  36. Vincent Low says:

    These instructions are awesome. Thank you so much! One question on the sealer. I’m a bit confused on WHEN to seal it? Do we let the new concrete dry first? Should it be applied right away? Thanks!

  37. John Gary says:

    In your vedio you showed one step that needed repair and you used 3 bags of quick concrete-I have three steps that need repair ,my question is how do I judge how much concrete I need

  38. Mark T. says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. What I’m dealing with is a bit different. Maybe because it’s a 160 year old house, I don’t know. First of all, the cement steps are steep, 12 inches. While brushing away the broken and loose concrete from the riser, I discovered that behind the concrete is a lot of loose stones of various sizes, some as big as softballs. It’s apparently not solid concrete. I could send you pictures if you want. Im trying to do this myself and not have to hire a contractor. I’m hoping you can give me some advice on how to fix this. Thank you, Mark

  39. Valerie says:

    Hi Jeff, I found this video to have such great content. I really feel like I can fix my broken concrete steps outside my home. Every time I have asked my man to do it he said it’s going to cost a lot of money and we will need 30 bags of concrete. The stairs are only broken in a few places. But the stuff ya’ll used looked reasonably affordable. Is doing it this way cost effective..? Thanks again!

  40. Elizabeth says:

    Hello, Very helpful blog. I have some old steps on my porch that are crumbling. I think they are worth saving, thought it’s a close call. As I am cleaning up the broken places, it appears that the porch was filled with rubble, gravel, and sand. This now pours out of the broken vertical faces. I can’t clean it up completely. Do you have a recommendation?

  41. Georgia says:

    Thanks, Jeff
    This looks very helpful and the detailed step-by-step process breaks it down to be manageable overall. Is it possible to fix the landing which, though still in one piece, has lowered to an uncomfortable height because of the repeated pounding of stepping down out of the house to go out to the backyard? It is sealed on the outside of the house so there’s no access from the side. I’m wondering whether there’s a way to somehow pump it back up into place with some sort of inflatable or fillable bladders, or would it be best for us to concrete a wedge over it to level the grade this collapse has created? Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  42. Aakash says:

    Thank you for your valuable Posting, and it was very informative. We are also offering similar Services. For more details please visit our web site retrofitting services in hyderabad

  43. Martin Mellstrom says:

    Nice tutorial! Question: Once the final step is done (in my case, application of “Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure and Seal”),
    how many days/hours until people can use these repaired steps?

  44. coconuts buy says:

    I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble.
    You are incredible! Thanks!

    1. Thank you, I hope it helps with your project

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