Concrete steps are a good option for your interior or exterior. Not just rough, grey cement anymore, concrete steps can be made to resemble marble, granite and other stone simulations. Concrete steps are durable and come precast, or they can be poured in place. Many companies specialise in concrete step production, or you can pour and set your own steps depending on your preferences.
Precast Concrete Steps
Precast concrete steps are manufactured in moulds and come in a variety of popular sizes. Precast concrete steps are lighter than poured concrete; they're hollow due to the mould construction method. Another benefit of precast concrete steps is the lack of mortar joints, or seams. Because the steps are manufactured as one piece, water leaks that can occur in wood and brick steps are eliminated. Another benefit of precast concrete steps concerns foundation attachment. Precast steps can be purchased to fulfil building codes, eliminating the need for inspections that may require adjustments to the steps. Precast steps are bolted directly to the house foundation, thus reducing the likelihood of the steps shifting and sinking. Precast concrete steps are more expensive than poured concrete steps and require large cranes to set them in place.
Poured Concrete Steps
Poured concrete steps are durably constructed, usually over banked dirt, and often reinforced with metal bars, rebar and gravel fill. Poured concrete steps must be built according to local building codes and are open to building code enforcement inspection. Because poured concrete steps are built on location, they are cheaper than precast steps. They also are easier for walkway or sidewalk design continuity. Steps, patios, walkways and driveways can be poured at the same time, eliminating a one-piece-at-a-time look to your home's exterior. Patterns and textures can be stamped into the wet concrete; colour can even be premixed into the concrete and poured, eliminating the need to paint the steps.
Concrete Step Care Benefits
The biggest advantage of concrete steps is that they require minimal care. Wood steps eventually rot and are susceptible to fire. Concrete steps may erode after many years, but can be patched. Chipped edges can be repaired with concrete patch on a do-it-yourself basis without the need for costly professionals. Concrete steps are fireproof. They can be treated with an acrylic sealer and a cement primer, and painted (or left natural) with an acrylic paint formulated for concrete. After the paint dries, a top coat of sealant can be applied to further weatherize exterior concrete steps or provide a sheen and protective coating for interior steps. Concrete steps are easy to clean; they can be scrubbed with water and detergents or pressure cleaned. According to This Old House online, worn concrete steps can be resurfaced with polymer-based concrete resurfacing formulas and returned to a smooth, new-looking state.
Many precast concrete steps are customised with slip-resistant surfaces or tread strips. Precast concrete steps are beneficial in cold, icy climates if purchased with built-in defrosters that melt ice without having to apply salt, cat litter or chemicals. Poured concrete steps can be made safer with non-slip tread strips or impressed corrugation applied during the drying process. These strips grip the shoes, reducing the potential for slipping on wet or icy steps.
- Everything About Concrete: Prefab Concrete Steps
- Concrete Construction; The Art of Concrete Stairs; Tom Klemens; April 2008
- This Old House; Sealing and Painting Concrete Flooring; Steve Thomas
- This Old House; How to Renew Concrete Surfaces; Joseph Truini
- Home Improvement Super Pages: How to Paint Concrete