Building Stamped Concrete Cantilevered Steps

Building Stamped Concrete Cantilevered Steps

Some people call cantilevered concrete steps “floating steps” because they look like they’re hovering. Although they appear as if they aren’t touching their foundations—they are. Stamped concrete cantilevered steps are not only extremely durable but also trending in the construction industry as they open unlimited new landscaping options to homeowners.

If you’ve been thinking about installing cantilever concrete steps on your property, keep reading to learn more about the materials and equipment needed for this type of project and the steps you must follow to ensure success.

Materials & Tools

To create stamped concrete cantilever steps, you’re going to need a variety of materials, including:

  • 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 Framing Lumber (as needed)
  • Concrete Wire Mesh
  • 2 x 4 Screed Board
  • 2 x 4 Stakes
  • Mixed Concrete
  • Concrete Stamps
  • Curing Compound
  • Sealant
  • Coloring Agents (optional)
  • Liquid Release Agent

You’ll also need several tools, including a tape measure, chalk line, line level or laser level, 4-foot level, 2-foot level, hammer, shovel, magnesium float or concrete trowel, orbital sander, tamper, chisels, sealant applicator, wheelbarrow, drill, nails, and screws. Plus, an air compressor and brad nailer are convenient, time-saving optional tools.

Additionally, you can use Stamped Concrete’s Cantilever Step Liner or Wood Cantilevered Liner to simplify the process and avoid complex forming.

How to Create Concrete Cantilevered Steps

The following step-by-step instructions for building your own floating concrete steps assume that you have decent construction knowledge and experience. Please be aware that all types of concrete work are physically demanding and require specialized expertise and skill to perform safely and correctly. A lack of relevant experience can lead to poor results, and concrete is unforgiving. Once it’s set, it’s set!

Step 1: Plan & Lay Out the Project

Materials & Tools Needed for Step:

  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk Line
  • Framing Lumber
  • Stakes
  • String
  • Level
  • Nails & Screws
  • Hammer
  • Drill

The more you plan out each phase of your project, the better the result you are likely to achieve. Give some thought to where you want your floating steps to be located, and then use 2 x 4 stakes and string to define your perimeter. Once you have the perimeter precisely how you want it, you can attach 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 framing lumber to the corner stakes to create a basic form. Remember to frequently check your level! Being meticulous helps to ensure successful results.

Step 2: Use Cantilever Step Forms

Materials & Tools Needed for Step:

  • Cantilever Step Liners/Forms
  • Razor Knife or Chop Saw (if reducing liner length)
  • Screws & Nails
  • Drill
  • Liquid Release Agent
  • Bristle Brush
  • Concrete Putty Patch (Optional)
  • Inside Corner Liners (Optional)

Framing concrete step forms traditionally means using plywood rips to form the cantilevered effect in an otherwise rectangular form. However, when you use pre-formed cantilever step forms from Stamped Concrete, that’s no longer necessary. They are available in 6-7.25-foot lengths, can be cut to any size you need with a razor knife or a chop saw, and are molded to create the appearance of real stone. 

If there are any gaps, slide an inside corner liner in these gaps and fill them with putty. It’s important to ensure there aren’t gaps where concrete could slip behind the forms, which can cause bulging. 

Screw or nail these liners on your framing lumber, apply some release agent with a bristle brush, and pour the concrete directly against them. 

Step 3: Pour the Concrete Into the Forms

Materials & Tools Needed for Step:

  • Mixed Concrete
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Coloring Agents (Optional)
  • Concrete Wire Mesh
  • Concrete Stamps

You can mix your concrete once you have your steps properly framed and secured, with your cantilever step forms affixed to the face boards. If you want colored concrete, you will add coloring agents to the concrete mix. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the concrete is properly mixed. If you have a lot of forms you’re filling in, order truck delivery from your local concrete supply store.

Before pouring the concrete, place a steel wire mesh or rebar into the form to prevent future cracking.

Lastly, if you are going to use concrete stamps on the surface of your floating steps, you will need to do so at the proper time before the concrete mix sets too firmly and doesn’t accept the pattern.

Step 4: Finish the Concrete & Allow It to Cure

Materials & Tools Needed for Step:

  • Screed
  • Magnesium Float or Concrete Trowel
  • Tamper (Optional)
  • Orbital Sander
  • Curing Compound
  • Brush or Roller
  • Chisels & Scrapers
  • Sealant
  • Sealant Applicator

Once you have your concrete poured into the cantilever step forms, you will need to get to work right away screeding (leveling) and finishing it with a float or trowel and tamper (please check your concrete mix to identify if tamping is necessary). Concrete finishing is an art that requires experience to achieve good results. If this is your first time doing this, hire a professional to ensure better results.

Be sure to tap the boards or run an orbital sander on the outside of them to vibrate the concrete mix and expel all the air pockets from it. Otherwise, you can end up with a popcorn effect on your final product.

After finishing the concrete, apply a curing compound with a brush or roller. 

Allow the concrete to dry and begin curing for at least two days before fully removing the cantilever concrete forms. Use extreme caution when removing the forms to prevent chipping and scarring the concrete’s surface.

If there are minor flows, use chisels and scrapes to fix them. Then sweep the concrete off and gently hose it with water.

Before applying the sealant, allow the concrete to cure fully, which typically requires a few weeks to a month. Please consult the concrete manufacturer’s instructions for complete cure times, as they will vary based on the mix you use.

Start Your Project With Stamped Concrete

Stamped Concrete offers all the tools and supplies you need to complete your cantilevered concrete step project. If you have questions about this type of project or need help selecting the best products, don’t hesitate to ask one of our Stamped Concrete’s pros. Our team is here to help you ensure project success by providing high-quality concrete supplies and expert advice.