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Unread 09-19-2020, 08:15 PM   #1
TCATDI
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Increasing Concrete Stair Height

Hello,
In our garage, we have a concrete step that is 5.75" high from the garage floor. The height from the top of that step to the floor of the house is 8.25". I never really paid much attention to it, but it was pointed out that this violates local code, and I can see now how it is a tripping hazard for those who are not used to the height differences of the two steps. I have uploaded a photo. The top surface of the concrete step has a rough coating of epoxy paint. The step should be raised 1.25" to make the two risers the same.

For materials, I was thinking of using something like patio stones cut to size, and attaching the pieces to the step using thinset mortar. Or I could use two layers of 1/2" quarry tile, with the two layers of mortar making up the remaining 1/4"

Do any of you have better ideas for solving this problem?

Thanks!
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Unread 09-19-2020, 08:38 PM   #2
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Whatever you decide to use, you'll have to grind the surface of the step off to remove the epoxy down to bare concrete. Is that something you're able to do?
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Unread 09-19-2020, 08:45 PM   #3
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But I think you still require at least three risers before you have "stairs" per code, Tom.

Maybe our local compliance inspector will correct me on that.

But if you just wanna even up your risers, what Kevin said.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-19-2020, 09:07 PM   #4
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The total height from garage floor to house floor is 14". I just did some quick searches; one source shows a maximum riser height of 7" and another source shows 7.75" or even 8" (https://inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Stair_Risers.php).

Minimum riser appears to be 4" so there would be enough space to accommodate three risers of 4.7" each.

Maybe removing the concrete step and building wood steps (with two or three risers) is easier than grinding the epoxy off and trying to get an even surface of two layers of tile at the correct height.

Adding another riser would of course add another tread, which uses up more floor space in the garage. Maybe that's not a problem; I could even put a short railing on the wall for added safety.

Thanks for the input!
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Unread 09-19-2020, 09:51 PM   #5
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I certainly was not suggesting you need another riser, Tom, I was pointing out that the building code applies to stairs and I don't think you have stairs until you have three risers, which you do not have.

If you just want to have both your risers the same height, that's certainly acceptable, of course and a good idea to my thinking.

Adding height to the step you have would appear to be the easiest way to accomplish that, you just need to decide how you want to do it. But, as Kevin suggested, the first step (no pun intended) will be to remove the coating from the top of your existing step if you plan any sort of cementitious topping to increase the height.

If that existing step is poured-in-place concrete, removing it is not gonna be easier than anything except maybe lowering the garage floor.

There are various codes as you've determined, and I think you'll find you can go as high as 8 1/2" per rise on some. I haven't had to deal with that for years and don't recall just which code requires which riser height and tread depth parameters.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Last edited by cx; 09-20-2020 at 07:59 AM. Reason: typo
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Unread 09-19-2020, 11:25 PM   #6
jadnashua
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The least expensive option might be to use a bonding agent after cleaning off the epoxy paint, and then just pouring some more concrete on top of the step.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 06:13 AM   #7
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I think there's some type of mixture that can be use at 1 1/4" and will work as a wear surface. I'm not sure what it is though.

The bagged concrete mixes usually require a minimum of 2" thickness, but may work at less than 2" if they're over solid concrete like yours.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 11:45 AM   #8
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Thanks to all of you for the great input. I understand now about the "step" vs. "stairs." Based on the input, I'm thinking that the best option might be some sort of wood surface to raise that step higher to achieve equal "riser" heights. I'll have to make sure it is firmly held in place, such as with a couple of countersunk masonry screws.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 01:19 PM   #9
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That could work. Dress it up a bit and call it a feature.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 02:46 PM   #10
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https://www.homedepot.com/p/Quikrete...0360/100318505

Quikcrete's sand topping mix can go from 1/2" to 2" thick, at at less than $7/bag, after you put up some forms, would be quick and easy way to raise the step height.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 03:22 PM   #11
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As a practical matter, Jim, I say that's just not gonna work in this application. Mixed with Acryl 60 in lieu of water it might, but even that's questionable at 1 1/4" on a step.

But he could certainly try it on accounta that's what it says on the bag.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 06:01 PM   #12
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I'd use Maximizer concrete (Home Depot) bonded to the old step. It seems to get really hard. I like the idea of grinding the epoxy off first.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 08:39 PM   #13
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I just can't see topping mix being a good wear surface. If tile was laid over it, I think it would be fine. I use it for shower pans all the time, albeit with some sand added.

But I wouldn't leave it bare to walk on.
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Unread 09-20-2020, 11:41 PM   #14
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I'm going to offer an alternative, assuming it won't interfere with something else in the garage.

How about doubling the size and making it a platform? Having worked with some of the "older generation" I became aware that a "staging" platform actually provided a better approach. Picture an armload of whatever and instead of grabbing a doorknob with one foot on each level, one could pause on the platform and more easily enter. Try it. Works for all ages.

I'd make it out of lumber.
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Unread 09-21-2020, 09:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbidetooth
I'm going to offer an alternative, assuming it won't interfere with something else in the garage.

How about doubling the size and making it a platform? Having worked with some of the "older generation" I became aware that a "staging" platform actually provided a better approach. Picture an armload of whatever and instead of grabbing a doorknob with one foot on each level, one could pause on the platform and more easily enter. Try it. Works for all ages.

I'd make it out of lumber.
One thought I was going to put forth was to add layers of plywood to build up the height of the step (construction adhesive to glue the wood to the step... or counter-sunk concrete screws if you don't mind more work). Since it's in contact with concrete, might need to be pressure treated.

But I'm liking Peter's suggestion. It provides more attachment points by adding wood to the face of the step as well. The main supports can be cut to the height of the existing stair, and then layers of plywood to build up the height.

The other thing to consider is that the final surface needs to be non-slick.
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