How to Prepare and Lay Concrete Steps …

If you’re experienced at DIY or you’ve worked with concrete before then building your own concrete steps can be a great money saver.

Building a set of concrete steps is no easy task however, and requires a great deal of careful planning.

Here is a brief tutorial on how to go about preparing and laying concrete steps from scratch.

Step 1 – Calculate the risers and tread measurements …

For those of you who are unfamiliar with stair building vocabulary, a “riser” is the vertical section between the treads of a staircase whilst the “tread” is the horizontal face of the step.

To work out the overall size of the concrete stairs, you will first need to calculate the total rise, (height from the top of your staircase to its base).

In order to calculate the rise start by measuring from the first-floor level down and then divide that number to create risers of equal height.

The number of treads is always one less than the number of risers. Therefore, you would have a total of three treads for a set of steps made up of four rises.

Each tread should be around 12 inches deep for a rise of 6 – 8 inches.  

Building codes generally suggest that the minimum length of a tread should be at least 10 inches.


Step 2 – Preparing a base …

After you’ve measured the rise and tread, the next step is to prepare the steps’ foundations.

Start by digging out the ground 3 – 6 inches down, then removing any grass or topsoil. After you’ve removed the topsoil and levelled the area, you will need to fill the area with Hardcore (this is a mixture of gravel or crushed rock).

Finally compact the Hardcore into a solid layer and then tamper by hand to form a solid base.

Step 3 – Build the form …

The form is essentially a wooden frame normally made of plywood or structural framing members, such as 2x4s and 2x6s.

To build the form start by laying and cutting the side forms with a saw then use wooden stakes or braces nailed into the ground to support the forms.

Step 4 – Pour the Concrete …

You are now ready to pour the concrete.

You can either mix the concrete yourself which can be time consuming and labour intensive or order ready mixed concrete to be delivered straight to your site.

Begin pouring by starting from the bottom step and working upwards.

You can then use a hand float to smooth over the surface of the concrete and give it an even finish or alternatively use a broom to create a non-skid surface.


Order your ready mixed concrete today …

Maxi ReadyMix is the home of ready mixed concrete solutions.

We can deliver a wide range of ready mixed concrete to projects of all sizes from our wet batch concrete plant in Whetstone. To order your ready mixed concrete please visit our home page by clicking here or get in touch by calling us on 0116 289 1234.