My dad came over to help with the project, and instruct Jake on what steps needed to be done. Dad had built similar things before, and Jake hadn't, so having that expertise was wonderful! Jake purchased the materials (quikcrete) and busted out the remainder of the step that was there. Jake worked too fast for me, so I didn't take a photo of the remnants of the old step, but I did get one of the blank slate.
We mapped out the basic size of the step, making it larger than the previous step. The idea was to have an extra space on the right side to set things down when we were unlocking the door. Also, it was two steps before, a full step and a tiny step, and we decided to make it one large step for ease.
Jake and Dad built a box out of wood scrap to use as the mold. They extended it as far out as they could without interfering with that water pipe, above. They also created it to have a slight slope, so any rainwater would all drain off, instead of pooling on the step. Then they mixed up the quikcrete one bag at a time, I believe. Being pregnant, I was inside most of the time, just coming out when they asked a question or to bring water or to see progress. This was back in August, and it is boiling hot where we live in August!
The process was mix the concrete, shovel it in, smooth it out, and repeat. They moved pretty quickly, but I could tell it was very physically demanding work, especially in the heat. The main thing I was surprised by was how many bags of concrete it took! I believe they used 10 or 12, and that's for a single back step. The bags of quikcrete are very affordable, it's just a decent amount of work.
We allowed it to dry overnight, without us our the dogs stepping on it. We used the front door for the remainder of the day to be safe. I was really surprised the next morning when I went to let Tex and Charlie out to go potty. Poor Tex didn't know what to think! He jumped over it in and out for a couple of weeks, until he finally got used to stepping on it. I, on the other hand, loved it! It felt like such a luxury to have a step into the house, especially such a large, roomy one. It definitely helped with my pregnancy-induced clumsiness as well!
You can see the slope in the photo above, but it is much less obvious in person. The positive thing is, it's been just a little over 3 months since it was built, and no rainwater has stood on it, despite some pretty massive rain storms. It still looks as great as it did they day it was built, and I still feel like a queen using the step. It's really nice to unlock the door, bring in groceries, call in the dogs, etc. And one of my favorite parts? Is this:
Jake carved that into the bottom right corner of the step. I can't say how much I love that sweet token of love. I still melt when I look at it.
Overall, I think this is a great project and could be customized in so many ways! The shape of the mold is up to you, as is any adornments. I originally thought it might be fun to press decorative tiles or objects into the side walls of the step while the concrete dried, but I ultimately was happy just to have a step into the house.