Thrifty Concrete Front Porch Redesign Ideas?
We recently purchased a great 1920s bungalow in Atlanta. We have a few issues we're trying to solve with the concrete front porch. The main issue is that the five concrete steps up to the house are terribly engineered. As you can see from the pictures, there is a section without steps on the left and an overhang boobie-trap on the right. The steps themselves vary significantly in width and the risers are different heights. We have had numerous accidents already from visitors.
Whatever we do to even out the steps, we would like to have match or look as though it was intended, with the main level of the porch. It's in fairly good shape although the paint is a little worn with some water marks as well as two cracks (one close up pictured) that run the width of the porch. So, making it look coherent with the steps as well as a little refresh.
I don't necessarily need to stick with concrete so all suggestions are welcome. I do want to keep with the theme of the 1920s bungalow. I am also limited a bit by the fact that any more layers on top of the current patio may go above the front door's threashold.
A few thoughts I've had:
1. Tear out the existing steps and repour even steps with concrete. Paint the entire porch to match and hope that the cracks and water stains are somewhat covered.
2. Redo the steps in concrete or brick and do a thin layer of wood decking over the existing concrete on the porch and paint it.
3. Demo the entire thing and repour. I received an estimate of around $9k to do this which is well over our max hopeful budget of $3k.
I've talked to a few concrete people who have concrete solutions but yet to find someone that can step back and provide some suggestions that simply resolve the issue with the steps and tie it together with the patio.
Thanks much for any suggestions.
Here are my thoughts (and I've worked with a lot of residential and commercial concrete step applications over the last 40+ years, poured my first one in 1969):
You'll save a bundle of $$$ by doing everything yourself. That being, delineate with sawcuts and completely remove the steps. Repour with uniform (treads and risers) reinforced concrete steps, tied into the porch concrete with doweled rebar. After a thorough cure time (28 day minimum), sandblast everything, then apply a textured (thin-bonded), low-modulus epoxy overlay with (broadcast) quartz sand aggregate to all surfaces. It will look decent and not out of place with your house's character, will have tenacious, non-slip characteristics when wet, and will also effectively deal with the existing porch floor cracking.
Total material cost, including rental of a 90-lb electric concrete breaker and sand-blaster, should be well under $2000.
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