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Outdoor stairs facelift - smoothing concrete

Junior Contributor

Outdoor stairs facelift - smoothing concrete



We've removed the tiles on the back step and the plan is to smooth the concrete underneath and then paint it.

Our plan is to do this with an angle grinder.


Grateful for any thoughts on the following:

- Is the angle grinder is a good idea / what other approach could we take?

- What's a good angle grinder for this job? We also have the front steps to do, so ideally it wouldn't be to expensive but still quality.

- What additions would we need for the angle grinder (assuming something to get rid of the bigger leftover bits of concrete and to smooth it)?

- What other tools would we need? PPE of course, but also some sort of vacuum for the dust?

- Anything else we should know?


Thank you!


Trusted Contributor

Re: Outdoor stairs facelift - smoothing concrete

Dusty work! Make sure you get good face mask/respirator because this gets very dusty! A dust extraction system is obviously ideal but they're not cheap and certainly wouldn't be worth the investment for such a small job.


Grinder is perfect for the job so you're off to a good start there. Do you already have one? If not, you don't need a specialised model, just go with one you'll be able to use for other jobs in future, ie. cordless and one that matches your existing battery system (if you have one). It's definitely worth going for a 125mm capacity.


The diamond grinding cups that you can get and some people may jump to are overkill for this because you're dealing with cement, not concrete. Cement is much softer than concrete fand those diamond cups will tear the cement apart.


Because cement is softer, you can do this with flap discs. You could start by chiselling away the chunkier bits then hit them with a 40grit flap disc to finish off any of the chunky bits. Then, with a steady hand, switch to an 80grit flap disc to even/smooth it all out. Take note of the angle of the flap discs to avoid taking big chunks out of areas. To make it easier to get a finer finish, I'd then switch to a black plastic grinder attachment (the name of it escapes me) but it allows you to fit a flat round disc to it (like an orbital sander, but for grinders) and pop a 120+ grit disc on there.


That should do the job.


Depending on the finish you're looking for, you could stop at the 40 grit flap disc step then skim coat the steps with a cement finish so it's even all over rather than seeing the bricks and mortar lines.

Handy and helpful
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Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Outdoor stairs facelift - smoothing concrete

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @tremas. It's great to have you join us and many thanks for your questions.


It's great to see the knowledgeable @ProjectPete has provided comprehensive answers to your questions.


For your ease of access, these are the abrasive flap discs and the sanding backing pads Pete was mentioning.


We look forward to following along with your project and would encourage you to let us know if you need further assistance or would like to share your results with the community.




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