Monday, September 15, 2014

New Front Step

Our house was built in 1999 and due to rain, snow and weather conditions in Iowa over the years our step to the front porch started to sink.  We had a classic case of "saggy step".  It had such a down slant that it made me nervous every time we had people over that they were going to trip as they stepped down.  Something needed to be done and we decided it was time to pour a new step and Labor Day weekend was the perfect long weekend to tackle the project.  
First thing to do...break out the old step.  Enter sledge hammer.  Tip number 1, cover up.  I covered the step with an old sheet to minimize flying bits of concrete and it worked really well.  Tip number 2, start on the edges and work in.  I started to break up the step Friday night and got as far as the picture below.  That was around 9pm and I decided to take a break till the following morning since the echoes of the sledge hammer could be heard through the neighborhood.  
 Saturday rolled around and more hammering.  I was able to get the step broken up and Trigg and I cleared out all the old chunks of cement.  Trigg tried to pick up every piece and if it was too heavy, he would tell me "That's your piece Dad!"  Trigg filled up a 5 gallon bucket, twice, with small broken bits of concrete!
Then it was time for some digging and building a form!  I dug two 40 inch footers, one on each side of the step.  Similar to a deck, if I dig footers down below the frost line, the step shouldn't move and shift with the changing weather (in theory).
 Sunday was cement day!  Trigg woke up ready to work!  He loaded up his dump truck with his tools and he was ready to roll!  With the form built, we were ready for cement.
 I borrowed a big cement mixer from some friends and that made a huge difference!  The large drum could easily hold 2 bags of concrete and allow me to add water and mix.  Through the whole project, Trigg was a big helper, willing to work when needed and willing to sit back and watch when needed too (notice the lawn chair in the shade, Trigg is making sure I'm doing a good job!)
 Labor Day = labor done!  New step poured and ready for traffic!
It turned out pretty good, although the top has a few spots that look a little different.  I may try to buff out the top using an angle grinder and a flexible sanding disc to give it a better look, but for now it's getting the job done!

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