Precast concrete steps are relatively new to the world of hardscaping, having been introduced roughly 50 years ago. They’re durable, attractive, low-maintenance, and affordable. They’re also easier to install than you might suspect. There’s significantly less work involved compared to poured concrete steps.
Read on to learn what you’ll need to do to install precast concrete steps on your property:
Tamping the dirt
Your new steps will be extremely heavy, and the dirt beneath them will need to be compacted for the installation to work.
Simply stamping down the dirt by walking over it won’t be enough. You’ll need a dirt tamper to pack in the soil. If you don’t own one, check with your local hardware or home improvement store, which may allow you to rent a tamper.
Measure the footprint of the steps using a tape measure. Transfer the measurement to the ground in front of the steps, marking each corner with a stake and then using string to connect those stakes. This will give you a picture of how much area you need to dig out to put the steps into position.
You’ll also need to measure the height distance from the ground to the entrance or top of your porch where the steps end and compare it to the height of the steps. This will help you figure out how much dirt you’ll need to remove. If the ground seems too low, you may need to add dirt so the steps are level.
Before you start to dig, make sure you’ve cleared the area of any obstructions – such as rocks, debris or grass. A straight-edge hoe can help you remove grass or weeds from the space where you’re planning to put the steps.
Dig out your soil until the installation area is the correct distance from your doorway or porch. Pack the soil using the dirt tamper we measured earlier. Use a level to make sure the space is even and straight.
You should use the tamper until the earth is very hard, to the point that it resembles hard clay or the dirt you’d find on a well-traveled dirt road. It should be tough to penetrate with a shovel.
This may sound like overkill, but hard-packed dirt is very important here. Precast concrete steps are heavy and the dirt underneath them needs to support this weight.
Place the steps
Once you’ve tamped down the soil and made sure the ground is level, it’s time to place the precast concrete steps.
This is NOT a one-person job. You’ll need a few strong helpers to get them into place. Once the steps are in place, make one last check to make sure the top step is level with your porch or entrance.
Do you still have questions about installing precast concrete steps? Turn to Woodward Landscape Supply. We have the landscaping and hardscaping products you need to make sure your backyard looks its best. Contact us today to learn more.