Concrete steps on patios and porches are a durable, affordable option for homeowners seeking to upgrade entryways into their homes. However, unfinished concrete, especially if it is poured on-site using forms, can have sharp edges and corners; these are potential safety hazards if someone trips or falls into them as they can cause serious lacerations. The good news is that removing these dangerously-sharp edges and corners is not difficult and can be accomplished by the average do-it-yourself homeowner. Below is more information on what tools and materials you will need and how to convert sharp concrete into safer, rounded edges and corners:
How to round edges and corners on concrete steps – tools and materials you will need
Cup wheel grinding disc
Vinyl concrete patch
Stick of chalk in a bright color
Steel wire brush
100-grit sandpaper sheet
Garden hose with spray nozzle
How to round edges and corners on concrete steps – a step-by-step procedure
1. Mark the area to be rounded with chalk – it's easier to know where to grind if you mark-off the area to be removed in advance rather than trying to grind "on the fly." Use a stick of bright-colored chalk to color the edges and corners that need to be ground down to shape and size.
2. Select a cup wheel grinding disc – cup wheel discs are designed to attach to angle grinders and are expressly-made for masonry and concrete work. Cup wheels come in various sizes and configurations, so choose one that fits your angle grinder's spindle and disc housing. In addition, purchase a diamond wheel if you plan to do an extensive amount of grinding; diamond wheels are faster-cutting and longer-lasting, and those characteristics make them worth the extra expense for long-term use.
3. Protect your eyes, face and hearing – before beginning any grinding work, it's vital that you take steps to guard yourself from serious, potentially-debilitating injuries. Always wear a full length face shield when grinding to protect your eyes and face from flying debris. In addition, angle grinding concrete produces tremendous noise, so wear ear plugs or muffs to keep your hearing safe from harm.
4. Grind the edges and corners – after donning your personal safety equipment and attaching the cup wheel to the angle grinder, begin making your grinds using successive, light strokes across the edges and into the corners. Do not place the cup wheel directly on top of corners, or it may cause chipping; instead, work your way gradually across corners and round them slowly. Remember, it is much better to remove too little material rather than too much. Keep grinding until you have removed the chalked areas.
5. Clean the edges and corners– once you finish grinding, use a steel wire brush to scrub the areas you ground in step 4 in order to remove loose bits of concrete. After scrubbing, spray the concrete thoroughly with a garden hose spray nozzle to remove dust and fine debris. Allow the concrete to air dry before moving to the next step.
6. Apply concrete patch to the edges and corners – in order to provide a smooth, finished look, you need to add vinyl concrete patch material to the freshly-rounded corners and edges. To apply, scoop a small amount of the patch material onto a putty knife and lay it down in thin layers on the areas you just rounded. Concentrate on filling pockmarks and larger imperfections, and be sure you round off the material with the putty knife when you are done. Allow the patch material to dry completely.
7. Sand the patch material – once the patch material has dried, sand off any rough edges with a piece of 100-grit sandpaper. Give the steps one final rinse with the hose to remove the sanding dust.
Now that you know how to round sharp edges on concrete, you can take care of other issues like cracks with concrete resurfacing.