- Concrete Step Forms
- How to Form Concrete Steps: See the process, and get tips on pouring steps using liners or foam forms
- Using Step Form Liners: Learn how to take the look of your stairways to a new level using textured step liners.
- Concrete Step Design
- Concrete Step Projects
- Restored Concrete Stairway
- Concrete Skateboard Steps
- Incredible Floating Steps
Concrete Step Forms for Making Bullnose, Cantilevered or Textured StairsTips on buying forms and installing concrete steps
Many stamped concrete sidewalk, patio, and entryway projects also call for pouring concrete steps. But in the past, achieving decorative patterns on step faces often required using texturing skins and hand chiseling the joints.
Thanks to the introduction of premanufactured step forms and form liners, it’s now easier than ever for contractors to give the vertical faces and edges of their concrete steps a wide array of textures, patterns and profiles. These reusable molds offer pattern options virtually unachievable using any other forming method, and they save time and labor by eliminating the need for hand tooling or embossing with texture skins to achieve decorative detail. You simply attach the liners to form lumber using nails or adhesive, with minimal cutting required.
If you’ve never used step form liners before, you’ll be amazed at the decorative effects you can achieve. Cantilevered edge profile options include bullnose, round, and fancy edges. Step face patterns and textures include Roman slate, Yukon stone, cut stone and more. When you enhance your steps and step faces with integral color and color hardener, the decorative effects are unlimited.
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In terms of cost, step liners are a viable option on most jobs. They provide multiple reuses and have a life expectancy similar to that of high-quality polyurethane stamps and skins. What’s more, they produce a high-end look that many customers are willing to pay more for. The applications for step liners are not just limited to stair risers. You can also use them on the edges and faces of concrete wall caps, countertops, benches and seat walls. “Regular risers might get you $10 to $12 per linear foot. When using decorative step liners, you will be looking at charging $25 to $35 per linear foot, depending on the coloring process,” says Dave Blasedale, western region sales and training coordinator with Butterfield Color.
Here we give you an overview of the various types of step forms and form liners available, buying tips, and advice on getting the best results when using step forms.
TYPES OF STEP FORMS AND FORM LINERS
Use the table below to compare the average dimensions and cost ranges for concrete step forms and form liners, including textured polyurethane liners, foam form liners, and lumber, plastic and metal step forms.
Step form liners typically come in sizes to fit dimensional form lumber and are attached using finishing nails or adhesive. Because most manufacturers make step liners with several different textures and profiles, you can create a wide range of decorative looks. Proline Concrete Tools, for example, offers their polyurethane liners in four textures (Roman Slate, Denali, Yukon and Yosemite) and three profiles (flat, hammered edge and bull nose). All are available in four different heights and 8-foot lengths, making for 41 possible variations.
|Use these liners to give concrete step risers and edges the high-end look of natural cut stone with very little effort. A variety of textures are available, including slate, cut limestone, and more. Watch this brief product video to learn more.
|Liners for step risers typically come in 4- and 8-foot lengths and heights ranging from 2 to 7 ½ inches. Liners for cantilevered edges usually come in 2 ¼-, 4- and 6-inch heights, and can also be used to form the edges of wall caps, countertops and benches. Most polyurethane liners can be cut to fit specific step dimensions.
|From $59 for a 2-inch x 8-foot liner to $167 for a 7.5-inch x 8-foot liner.
|These forms are used most often to create a profiled edge on concrete steps. Common profiles include bullnose, round, or fancy edge profiles.
|Typically come in 4- and 8-foot lengths and heights from 2 inches (for countertop and wall cap edges) to 7.5 inches for steps.
|From $112 for 28 linear feet
|This is the most basic forming method for concrete steps. When you just use basic wood forming lumber, you can’t create stone textures and profiles. However, basic wood forms can be used to create interesting wood-grain textures, especially when roughened or sandblasted (see bottom photo).
|Come in standard dimensional lumber sizes (2x4, 2x6, 2x8, 2x10, etc.).
|As low as $3 for an 8-foot 2x4, this is the cheapest forming material, but often requires more labor to assemble.
|Plastic forms have several benefits over wood, including providing multiple reuses as well as being extremely flexible when a radius is needed. These forms can be used to create steps, patios, pool decks, walkways and more. The drawback is that they don’t create a texture. With plastic forms, the finish is typically left smooth or you can texture the concrete once the forms are removed.
|3.5-, 4-, 6-, and 12-inch heights; 12- and 16-foot lengths
|3.5-inch x12-foot plastic form is $36; 12-inch x12-foot form is $90
|These forms are typically used on commercial projects or when a large volume of work is being done. Metal is the longest-lasting forming material for steps and other flatwork. Flexible versions of metal forms (see bottom photo) are also available.
|4 to 18 inches in height and typically 10 feet in length
|4-inch x 10-foot steel form is $96.97, 10-inch x 10-foot form is $171.97 (prices from Construction Complete)
STEP FORM PATTERNS & PROFILES
A wide range of step liner textures and profiles allows contractors to create a variety of decorative looks
Polyurethane step form liners
Commercially available step form liners make it easy for contractors to take their work to the next level. These handy, reusable strips of textured polyurethane offer numerous options for textures, profiles, inside and outside corners and 90-degree intersections. Unfortunately, many contractors aren’t even aware that these liners are available, according to Harlan Baldridge, Pacific Northwest manager and technical field representative for Brickform, Rialto, Calif. “Most would be surprised at the number of contractors who haven't seen step liners, or if they have, don't use them to add value to their project,” he says. “I jokingly tell people I had both rotator cuffs rebuilt due to stripping and facing steps. Step liners save labor!”
|YOSEMITE STONE FLAT
|DENALI HAMMERED EDGE
|ROMAN SLATE HAMMERED EDGE
|ROMAN SLATE BULLNOSE
Courtesy Proline Concrete Tools
Foam step form liners
Foam step form liners can also be used to create a variety of profiled edges on concrete steps or wall caps, but unlike polyurethane liners, they will not add texture to step faces or edges. Some common profiles are shown below. To install, you simply place the foam liner on the inside of the wood step form, flush with the top, and secure it with nails or tape. Pre-scored break points on the liner allow it to accommodate various step heights.
Lighting in Concrete Steps