Yard Steps

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lee197960_0
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue 19th Jan, 2016 3:46 pm

Yard Steps

Post by lee197960_0 » Thu 17th Dec, 2020 1:10 pm

Hello all, hoping for some advice (not being the most DIY savy).

We have some concrete steps into the back yard and unfortunately the cement/bedding material has started to come away. Typically most of it is falling down behind leaving aprrox an Inch gap, there is no access to the rear unfortunately.

How do I go about filling the gap without loosing most of the cement down through the hole? Does anyone have a nifty trick to stop this happening?

Many thanks
Lee
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Cubist
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu 24th May, 2018 3:53 pm
Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Yard Steps

Post by Cubist » Thu 17th Dec, 2020 4:59 pm

Hi Lee,

Its hard to tell from the photo but it looks like the steps are concrete and the end of each step is supported in the brickwork to the left and, I'm assuming, further brickwork on the right. They also look fairly new - were they recently constructed do you know?

Theres a fair chance the builder may have infilled between the brickwork and under the steps with building sand which will settle and/or wash out in heavy rain. Can you see any evidence of washed out sand on the path or beside the brickwork on the right?

If not, the question becomes 'Wheres the infill going?'

Another question would be are you using a pressure washer to clean the steps? They're really effective at blating the infill into the lower recesses.

To end on a suggestion - you could try to fill the gap of the lowest step with some sharp sand and keep an eye on it to see if the level is dropping over time. This might suggest that the sand is washing into cavities into which the sand is being washed.

Cheers and hope this is of some help.

Feltwell
Posts: 5760
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Yard Steps

Post by Feltwell » Thu 17th Dec, 2020 5:34 pm

You could try putting some EML (Expanded Metal Lath) in there - get a roll of the narrow stuff, cut it to length, bend it in half but so that it is still wider than your gap and push it into the gap, middle first - if that makes sense - so it springs out and grips the step above and below, and bulges into the gap, not out of the gap.

Then put just put a little mortar in to begin with and push it up & down into the EML to bond it to the steps - let it go off for a day or two, then point up fully.

EML:-

https://www.toolstation.com/galvanised- ... 20m/p18233

Hope that helps.

If you want to really go belt and braces then get some SBR bond and put it in the mix. Or for a cheap alternative put some PVA wood glue on the sides of the gap before you put your mortar in, it'll help it stick. Premixed mortar, sold dry in a bag, is fine and good for small quantities, just mix it up by hand with a trowel in an old bucket.

CliffordPope
Posts: 644
Joined: Tue 16th Nov, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: Yard Steps

Post by CliffordPope » Thu 17th Dec, 2020 5:45 pm

It's not clear from the picture whether the steps overlap each other a bit or not.
If they do, even by only 1/2", then I'd suggest holding a wooden batten in place inside the slot using a hook screwed into the wood, filling the gap using the wood inside to stop the mortar falling inside the void, and then when set unscrewing the hook.

If they don't overlap then there isn't really a gap suitable for filling with mortar - it can't attach to thin air over a void. In which case I'd just fill the void with anything that will go through the slot - sand, soil, squashed cans, scrap iron, broken fence pieces, etc etc until full and then work mortar in on top. Whatever happened to the debris you'd then be relying on the mortar sticking the underside and back of the two steps.

lee197960_0
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue 19th Jan, 2016 3:46 pm

Re: Yard Steps

Post by lee197960_0 » Sun 20th Dec, 2020 4:53 pm

Hello Cubist, Feltwell and CliffordPope

Many thanks for taking the time to answer my query. The steps are new(ish) although from before we owned the property. There doesnt appear to be anything in the void between the steps and the wall they back on too. The flight is approx six feet from top to bottom so presume this wouldnt be filled with anything.

I dont own a pressure washer so nothing to do with me :) Some good suggestions and I'm pretty sure I can find some mesh or similar to plug the hole prior to filling.

Thanks for your help. Have a great/safe Christmas all.

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