The front steps in front of my house are deteriorating. I am trying to get a contractor to replace the limestone slab steps with concrete. For example, enclosed is a picture of my estimate from 2016.

The steps are steep, is there a specific type of concrete that might work better than 4000 PSI mix? Are there any red flags in the estimate, or other specifics I should be looking for or asking about?

Picture of the front of the house Estimate of work

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    Check out this help page. Job pricing and "shopping" are off topic, so we can't help with "the best quote" or a "reasonable price", but the other points of your question seem like they could support a factual answer. – JPhi1618 Feb 16 '16 at 20:45
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    Have you considered landscape block stairs? Might be much less expensive. – DA01 Feb 18 '16 at 2:23

I'm not a concrete expert by any measure, but here are a few questions I would have about the job. I'm not looking for you to answer them here - they are just questions you should know the answer to and possibly should be a part of the quote.

  • Are you sure you want the same rails replaced in the new steps? Won't they be damaged when removed and if so, who pays for new rails/posts? Are they also replacing that stone "slope" the rails are sticking out of?

  • Does the current stair design meet all building codes or will it have to be modified to meet code? Check on rise/run measurements, landing requirements, ok to have rails on just one side, etc.

  • Do you require any building permits or inspections to get this completed? Who pays for the permits?

  • Are they hauling off and disposing of the old material? You may be able to shop for cheaper demolition since that is unskilled labor.

  • Do you want a time estimate in addition to pricing?

  • One of the railings already came out, the other is loose and I can probably remove it at any time. I will ask about building codes, permits and removing debris. I assume that they know how many days are required for the job, so I did not focus on time. Should I worry about that? – Gandolf989 Feb 16 '16 at 21:03
  • It depends on how much it matters to you. If one guy says it will take $8k and 3 weeks and they can't start till April, but another guy says $9k and will have it completed by the end of the month that's something you might want to know. I just wouldn't want you to make a payment and agree to it just to find out its going to take 3 months or more to get it done. – JPhi1618 Feb 16 '16 at 21:10
  • 3 weeks would be a problem. I guess I need to know that it will be done within a week. – Gandolf989 Feb 16 '16 at 21:31

This is just a rather long comment.

Your steps look to be in relatively good condition. I am not sure which area of the world you are in but it looks like you have a difficult task of getting up to your door. Also your current stairs look to be in relatively good condition. I understand they may have some wear and tear but I do not see obvious signs of buckling or shifting (I know we don't have close-ups). My recommendation would be to have this current concrete coated in an epoxy. You could even do something similar with the rails. I fear that after digging out your yard and pouring new concrete it may not look as good as this in 5-6 years.

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    The picture that I posted is old. I wanted to ask the question, but did not have a current picture at work. There are cheek walls on each side that are crumbling, the steps need a hand rail and I don't think that I can just replace the cheek wall. Some of the limestone slabs that form the steps have moved and I had to reset the top two steps because they became unstable. Mostly my wife is not going to be happy until we have new steps. – Gandolf989 Feb 16 '16 at 21:30
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    Ha, that's ok - I think that's the real reason for most home improvement projects. Happy wife, happy life. – JPhi1618 Feb 16 '16 at 21:33
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    This is a rather large in that there are so many variables. The maintenance of the surrounding dirt is a big part of the wear and tear on the stairs themselves. I would want to see examples from any contractor I picked and I would go by and look at their work - if they don't give addresses out I don't give money. Have you thought about digging out and doing the stairs in wood? – DMoore Feb 16 '16 at 21:36
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    I can't imagine my wife being OK with putting in wood steps. The contractor that I am looking at has done work in my neighborhood and they have a good reputation. – Gandolf989 Feb 16 '16 at 21:40
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    So your wife wants something that will look good right now but in a couple years or less might show issues and is basically impossible to replace. Opposed to doing a fancy step pattern with maybe a landing mid yard and you could replace or fix things at will... You might want to show her the difference in price and show her that the wood steps can look just as good and includes a trip to europe. – DMoore Feb 16 '16 at 21:53

In case anyone is interested here are the finished steps. The contractor was able to reinstall the existing hand rails. They are a little corroded but a coworker suggested using marine jelly to remove the rust then we should be able to paint them. The contractor needed three days to remove the old steps and install the new steps. We paid an extra $500 for exposed aggregate, but I think it was worth it. They are much nicer and more stable than the old set. Thanks to all who posted.

Finished steps

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