On their own, concrete steps look cold and uninviting. A little texture, however, can do wonders. Concrete step liners are textured, rubber strips that are nailed to the inside front edges of concrete step forms. After the concrete is poured and the form boards are removed, the front edges of the steps are left with the attractive, textured imprint created by the rubber strip. Purchase liner designs or, if you want to create your own texture, make your own liner form.
Cut a 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick sheet of rubber or piece of foam board into strips that match the width and height of the front edges of the steps. Use a straightedge to ensure that the size and cuts are perfect. Cut rubber or foam board using a utility knife.
Carve one side of the strips with the desired texture, using a craft knife, rubber carving tools and sharp chisels. Carving the liners is much like carving a stamp, just on a larger scale. Scrape away material gradually, like an artist carving a relief out of wood. Common textures for step liners include brick patterns, natural stones, or repeating ridges. More unique approaches include using geometric patterns, text, hieroglyphs or plant and animal forms. If you include text, carve it in reverse.
Brush off all bits of rubber or foam left on the liners, using a paintbrush.
Nail the liners to the insides of the step form boards, with the texture facing inward. Place nails down the centre of the liners every 14 to 18 inches.
Paint the liners with concrete release agent, before pouring the concrete, to ensure that they separate easily from the cured concrete.
For colour to go with the texture, tint the concrete during the mixing process or paint the texture with concrete stain after the concrete has cured.