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How to Waterproof Concrete Steps

Kimbry Parker

Concrete steps are durable and long-lasting. Proper maintenance of concrete steps is important in preserving their appearance and increasing their life span. Waterproofing concrete steps is necessary for optimal protection against moisture. If moisture seeps into the concrete, cracks and holes will form. Eliminate large problems from water in the future by applying a waterproofing sealant to your concrete steps.

  1. Sweep the concrete with a broom to remove loose debris and dirt. Apply painter’s tape to surrounding areas that you do not want the waterproofing to get on. If you are waterproofing outdoor concrete steps, lay plastic sheets over nearby landscaping to protect them from the sealer and cleaning solution.

  2. Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of warm water. Add 1 cup of household ammonia to the bucket. Scrub the concrete steps thoroughly with the cleaning solution and a stiff scrub brush. Rinse the steps clean with plain water from a garden hose or with a bucket of water and clean rags. Allow the concrete to dry thoroughly.

  3. Stir the can of sealer with a paint stirrer. Pour the sealer into a paint tray with a liner.

  4. Dip a large paintbrush into the paint tray to absorb a generous amount of waterproofing sealer. Apply a thin, even coat of the sealer to the edges of the steps.

  5. Dip a polyester paint roller into the tray to paint the rest of the steps. The roller will give the steps an even coat of sealer. Saturate the steps with the sealer, smoothing it out with the paint roller. Avoid allowing the sealer to puddle in any areas. Back brush, if necessary, with the paint brush to remove any puddles or roller marks.

  6. Allow the waterproofing sealer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This generally takes a few hours.

  7. Apply a second, thin coat of the sealer to the concrete steps in the same manner as the first application. Avoid walking on the steps for at least 24 hours after the second coat of sealer has been applied.

  8. Tip

    Seal exterior concrete steps when the weather report calls for no rain for at least 24 hours. The temperature should be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A paintbrush can be used to apply the sealer to the steps, if you wish. A roller, however, will provide a much smoother, even coat.


    Wear protective eye gear, old clothing and rubber gloves when applying the waterproofing sealer. If applying sealer indoors, work in a well-ventilated area and wear a face respirator.

    Never mix ammonia with bleach or products containing bleach. The results can be toxic.