If you own a store that has old concrete steps leading up to its entrance, you may have noticed they are starting to wear down, and you're wondering if you should replace them. If so, look for the following signs that it is time to replace your business's old concrete steps with new ones.
Surface Is Smooth
Usually, when concrete steps are poured, the contractor will even out the surface with a special trowel that will leave grooves in the concrete after the cement dries. This texture gives the concrete a rough surface that allows for people's shoes to grip easily, helping to reduce the risk of falls when the concrete becomes wet.
However, as concrete ages and is used heavily, these grooves start to wear down. Eventually, there is no roughened surface to provide friction. This lack of a rough surface makes the concrete extremely slick when it rains or snows.
If your steps' surfaces are smooth, you should seriously consider having new ones poured. If a customer were to fall on the slick steps, you could be held liable for their injuries.
Concrete Is Cracking
Another sign that your concrete steps should be replaced is when the material starts cracking. While a couple of small cracks may not be a cause for concern, several small to large cracks could mean that your steps' infrastructure has been compromised, making them weaker.
If these cracks are allowed to grow, the expansion and constriction of water inside of them during drastic temperature changes could make them larger. Eventually, you may see large chunks of concrete fall off of the steps. If this were to happen while a customer is walking into your business, they could hurt themselves.
Lips of the Steps Are Crumbling
Even if you do not see cracking, you may start noticing that the lips of the steps are starting to crumble. This is a sign that the concrete has started to deteriorate, whether from constant exposure to the sun or changes in the temperatures.
When the lips of the steps start to crumble, the structure of the concrete becomes unstable. A customer could step on the crumbling concrete and slip, or a larger piece could break off. Either way, leaving crumbling steps in front of your business could lead to the serious injury of customers or employees.
If you notice any or all of the above signs, it may be time to replace your business's concrete steps with new ones to keep your customers safe from injury and you safe from a potential lawsuit. Contact a contractor who specializes in commercial concrete projects to receive an estimate for having new steps constructed, as well as to discuss any safety options, such as handrails and a textured surface.