What I'm Seeing Now


Smoothing Mortar Onto A Damaged Concrete Stair Is NOT A Repair

Smoothing mortar onto a damaged concrete stair is NOT a repair.

And I see it all the time. 

It will not work.

It will not last.

It will not stay smooth and solid.

It will crack.

It will chip.

It will look worse than it did before the "repair."

Why do people do it?

Because they do not read  the instructions on the bag!

Homeowners go to the home center.  They know what they want.  They see a couple of different bags of mortar.  They choose which one they want.  They go home.  And they get to work!

Sidewalks are 4" thick for a reason.  Concrete needs to be about that depth, or more, to stay solid and not react to hot and cold cycles.

You cannot, that is CANNOT, veneer concrete with a thin mortar patch.  Even if you make it look cute! 

It will react to hot and cold cycles, not to mention weight!

My recommendation:  hire a professional!  Or know what you are doing BEFORE you attempt doing it!  And when all else fails, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!  And if you're buying a house that is made ready to sell by a homeowner who has done lots of cute things like this, hire a home inspector!  And learn about what you want to buy.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 8 commentsJay Markanich • March 19 2016 03:16AM


Yes, that won't last the winter.  Unfortunately, when many are selling their houses, they just take the cheap route.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 4 years ago

Cheap, ignorant and unprofessional, Debbie.   To say the least.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Concrete anywhere...steps, sidewalks, sills...is not a DIY project...unless you are a mason !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. Buyers miss a lot of defects looking at the big picture and are often burned without professional help! Enjoy your day"

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 4 years ago

Lol... I know, it's sad and I see it all the time. Good for a chuckle 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 4 years ago

Looks like the seller is trying to make the minimum required repairs to sell the house.  That it won't last is the buyers problem.  All the more reason for a professional home inspector like yourself.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 4 years ago

Jay- add that to a carton of duct tape and you'll have the DIY special. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 4 years ago

S&D - what?  You are supposed to know what you're doing?

Wayne - most people would recognize this as a "fix," without realizing it is NOT one!

Fred - I could have this post at least once a month.  But thought it might be time.

Stephen - quick fix, quick sale!

Kathy - thinking further, wouldn't some good duct tape spread all across there prevent that stuff from cracking?  So, I guess you're right. What color do you recommend?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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