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Should I reinforce my concrete staircase?

We've had some serious rain in the last month or two and I stepped outside and noticed the ground must have settled leaving a 2-3" gap beneath our concrete staircase leading to the back yard. There doesn't appear to be much of anything supporting it now.

From ground level, you can see sunlight shining through from the other side:

 Is this going to cause a problem in the future? If so, how should I go about fixing it?

Thanks so much for your advice!
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Posted 2015-07-02T22:38:03+0000  by SteveTrousdale SteveTrousdale

Hi Steve,

Thanks for joining us here on the community!

For starters, I would first begin with your gutters and downspouts to make sure where the rain is going. I appreciate you taking the time to upload photos; it gives us a better idea of your situation.

Since the erosion is occurring underneath the concrete staircase, bigger issues may lie with water seepage into the foundation. I would strongly suggest that you check the crawlspace/basement if there is one behind/below the staircase. 

If damage is seen, then you'd most likely need to hire a contractor to ensure the foundation is sound. 

Hopefully, at this stage of this happening, this is why you should at minimum make sure the gutters and your yard drainage is doing its job properly. I say this because if you simply fill the gaps with soil and/or cement, history can just repeat itself.

You will need to make sure that all water runoff that occurs goes away from your home, and that it doesn't settle next to it, as is the case here. Check the yard to ensure it is graded away from your home, as well as inspecting the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are doing their job properly.

Then, and only then, you can now repair the area underneath the staircase. As stated before, be sure to check the foundation or interior areas to see if any damage has occurred from the rain. 

Now, you can inspect the staircase underneath. Remove any loose areas, and fill in the area with a high-quality cement and patching trowel. Be sure to be careful when doing this, as the support of the staircase may have been jeopardized by the erosion. 

This is a generic overview of how to stop the water from coming underneath and repairing it. If you have any further questions or concerns, please let us know here.



Posted 2015-07-04T15:58:06+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
Couldn't agree more Joe!

Prevent additional damage by directing the flow of water away from the foundation.

A French drain is a great idea. Click the link for a great example posted by my good friend Ingar (aka Green Giant).


There are pros that lift and support settling foundations.

In their process, they use jacks and/or hydraulic lifts to move the foundation back to original position.

Then they stabilize the foundation with concrete or other supports to prevent future settling.

One of the keys to their repair is ensuring the "footer" is placed upon firm earth.

So, you might expect a pro to dig beneath your stairs to establish a firm footing.

The photos you provided are excellent and show that the joint between the stairs and building is cracked, but not yet fully failing.

That means the time for your repair is now ... before additional damage occurs.

The Community is a great place to seek help, and a great place to share results.

When done, please take time to come back and share repair steps with other members.
Posted 2015-07-07T16:08:30+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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