Concrete is the most widely used and popular building material in the world today. It is used as flooring, slabs, walls, walkways, roofing tiles, and support columns as well as many other structural components and even decorative elements.
It is only natural that it also be used as both an architectural element and a design aesthetic in a building or home’s entrance stairs and steps. Entrance steps are exposed to weather and it’s a good choice to pick a material that is strong and durable.
Concrete can be poured into forms constructed on-site to build steps, but sometimes it might not be worth the trouble of forming and mixing the concrete. Sometimes it might be better to install precast concrete steps. Precast stairs are built off-site and delivered to and installed on the job.
Comes in many shapes and sizes
Precast concrete steps, or precast steps, offer a variety of attractive possibilities for architecturally attractive entrances to buildings and homes. Available in numerous standard precast sizes, it can be simple to find just the right set for any project.
Should the right size not be available, many companies can make a custom cast unit for the particular needs of a specific building site. It’s the same kind of service as with custom concrete countertops.
The needed measurements are made and then the work takes place in a controlled environment like a working hall where the temperature is right all the time and moisture as well. Then, when the stairs have cured, it’s time to coat them and move them to your home.
Many different styles are possible
Precast concrete steps may be ordered in a variety of finishes and styles, including but not limited to stone, stucco, brick, and mixed elements. Like with concrete floors, decorations are only limited by imagination.
When the decorations are done in a controlled environment, they are more likely to succeed. No sudden rain or another hazard will ruin them. Also, proper time can be taken to have them just right and stairs can be set to easily workable height.
Can come with different equipment for different needs
Some companies offer the availability of matching handicapped ramps, which are a nice pairing with the precast steps for public access buildings and homes that need to be retrofitted to accommodate the changing needs of their elderly residents.
This is of course something regular poured stairs can have as well, but it is option here as well. To say, precast is not limited in this sense.
Can be a cheaper option
The advantages in installing precast concrete steps instead of opting to form and pour steps on-site are distinct. Unlike steps that are poured on-site, precast steps do not require building an expensive foundation slab that reaches down to the frost line on which to set them.
If you’re doing the pouring of the steps yourself, this is not true of course. If you don’t put any price tag on your work, it will be much cheaper than precast. On the other hand, if you do they will be closer to each other your own work winning as you’re not paying all the extras that are involved with ordered work from contractors.
You would need to do some calculations to get a proper picture of precast concrete vs. cast in place. All of it depends on size, complexity, concrete and material prize, and labor cost. The more work it will be, the cheaper it will be to DIY.
They are hollow and therefore less likely to settle any once in place since they are much lighter than solid poured steps. Since they are installed with blocks under each corner to even out weight placement, movement rarely takes place and if they should shift, it is a simple matter to lift the steps up and reset them.
This can be seen as a good side I think. More than likely the stairs will search their place, but the adjustment is quite simple and can be done by anyone. When the stairs are poured, they are there to stay unless heavy work is involved.
A solid stair is likely to stay whole
Precast concrete steps are poured with treads, landings, and risers all made as one large solid piece. There are also no mortar joints or any other gaps in the concrete in which water can seep and cause cracking if it freezes.
This is another thing that can be done with poured concrete steps as well, but against other options, it’s a good thing. Cracks and water getting is probably the biggest reason why concrete cracks and the cracks widen so a solid piece of the stair is good protection against that in freezing conditions.
Stairs are made to last
Many precast sets protect their own facings with the presence of a built-in overhang of up to one and one-half inches. Most manufacturers pour and cure their steps under controlled conditions to assure quality.
As stated before, the conditions where the stairs are made are stable. This is something that a concrete worker usually working under the open heaven can appreciate. Too many times sudden rain has made extra trouble for me.
Precast is affordable solution
Most are very reasonably and affordably priced. Estimates are always available before purchasing. These stair sets are far less expensive than brick or stone step construction or pouring steps on site. Some even come with handrails ready to install.
Prices for precast concrete steps are frequently less than $1000 per unit. The cost will depend on the size of the steps the builder will need, the finish selected by the customer, delivery fees, and other installation charges.
Such units can also be used as stacked outdoor terrace areas and patio entrances by design. With the necessary units embedded in a slopped grade that allows the steps to carry people up a terraced area in a beautiful design. Today’s designers and builders know what a focal point architecturally precast stairs can be for their projects.
The advantages of precast concrete steps are many and I think these are a good alternative to traditionally poured stairs and other options as well. A bit depends on what kind of look you want and sometimes the environment might have a few needs.
Personally, I like the look of stone and concrete, that would be the main reason to get something like precast steps. Another reason would be if I need something durable and easy to clean and low maintenance.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering getting these. I’d say browse more stores and contact the manufacturer to get a list of their options and what they are good for.