LESLIE: Jean in New Hampshire, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JEAN: Hey, my back steps are made of solid concrete …
JEAN: … and the bottom one is breaking away from the rest of them.
JEAN: And there’s about a two-inch gap.
TOM: Ooh, that’s a big one.
JEAN: Plus the railing is loose, too. I was wondering if I could fill it in with some cement.
TOM: But not regular cement. What you want to use is a patching cement. It has an epoxy component to it which makes it very sticky so it adheres well and it’s not going to fall out. That step configuration is going to be pretty elastic. It’s going to move. It’s going to expand and contract and if you use a traditional, plain, cement patch it will crack very quickly and fall out but if you use an epoxy patching compound it won’t. QUIKRETE makes several good products that will do the trick for this.
JEAN: OK, and can I also fill in the holes where the railing is, too, with that?
TOM: Is the railing loose?
TOM: OK. Well, if the railing is loose you’re going to have to take the bolts out, fill the holes or, depending on how it’s set up, you could rebolt the holes in; you could use lead shields; you could use a different size fastener; you could use a mounting plate. You have to look at a more mechanical way to adhere this because putting the patching compound in there is not going to make the railing stiffer.
JEAN: OK, sounds great.