Concrete step removal / replacement


I have some concrete steps in the den that used to be exterior steps into a breezeway. The previous owner converted the breezeway into a den and I'm redoing the room now. The steps have an 11" rise and I want to replace them with 6" rise steps.
The steps look / sound really solid. Is there any chance they are solid cement? If they are, I can't imagine sledge hammering them very effectively. Is there another non-explosive way to remove them?
Also, are there any sources you could refer me to for step designs / plans? I'd like something along the lines of floating planes (is there another name?) vs. another solid piece like the one I'm removing.
Thanks, crabshell
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Your breezeway is below grade on one side? Having trouble picturing the situation. Or are these steps down from the den, in a well in the breezway floor, to an exterior door?
Either way, going to a shorter rise will require a longer staircase.
Can you post pictures somewhere, and post the link back here? Picture= 1000 words, etc. We will be able to give much better advice. There is no 'standard' way to pour concrete steps- they could be solid, they could be over a dirt core, they could be hollow.
aem sends...
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The breezeway / den is on a slab. The rest of the house is peer and beam, so there is about a 20" difference from the den to the kitchen. The top of the stair -- sort of a landing I guess you could call it -- extends about a foot from the kitchen. So if I make the first step right at the edge I gain enough room so that the stair doesn't have to be longer. However, since the area behind the stair will become sheetrock, I may have to have the first step extend otherwise what keeps the sheetrock from being kicked?

If they're solid, is a jackhammer required?
I'll try to take a photo...
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You add a hardwood 'riser' under the door opening, leading down to the first actual step. But if there is a door between the the breezeway and kitchen, you need a landing outside the door.
Can you crawl under the house and see the back of the steps? That should be a real good clue if they are hollow or not.
Once you figure out how to demo the old steps, I'd replace with wood. Big-box has precut stringers and treads- may have to search for non-treated wood, but even the treated stuff would be appropriate looking in a breezeway. Or, the local precast concrete place sells concrete stringers suitable for use with 3x12 treads of whatever material, for that 'floating slab' look you were going for. Are the steps square-cornered in sideways profile, or does each step have a bullnose on the front. If they have a bullnose, the odds are they are hollow precast.
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Just to be clear the breezeway is now an interior room (den). The breezeway was sealed off on both ends to make the den.
There is no door between the kitchen and den (there used to be and the frame was even left in place) so no need for a landing. There already is a riser in the doorway that leads to the first step -- about a 1" - 2" drop. But I've seen room transitions -- typically 1 foot level changes, that have no riser, just a drop off to the first step. I'd prefer that if it doesn't present a hazard or look funny in order to keep the step from encroaching into the room any further. It is a small (32") opening between the rooms however so it's not your basic level change within a single room.
The steps are up against the concrete that forms the perimeter of the foundation so you can't look behind them. They are separated by a gap however.
They are squared off with no bullnose at all. They appear to be poured in place. I also risk digging up the floor slab where they attach, requiring a patch to make that part of the floor level. So maybe I need to live with them. I guess that's why room garage and similar conversions are never perfect.
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Possibly, if they were exterior. Or they could just be several inches thick, with fill dirt underneath.

Jackhammer?
Sorry, can't help you there. If it were me, I'd just build some wood steps and carpet over them.
-Tim
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It's probably not solid. It's much cheaper to fill with dirt than with concrete. But some people are crazy...
In either case, rent a jack hammer and it will be done in no time.
good luck
Crabshell wrote:

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I figured it would be hollow or solid concrete. Never thought of dirt fill. Maybe that's why it seems so solid...
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