Precast concrete steps can save time and money when adding stairs to your home. They come in a variety of textures including wet cast, acid etched, marble and more. Often you will be given the option to include anti slip strips as well making them safe for your loved ones. You may be thinking that the special design you have had in mind will not be possible. This is not the case usually.
Precast concrete steps come in all shapes and sizes and if you can not find a prefabricated stairway to fit you special design, most companies that make precast concrete steps will make them exactly like you want them if you provide them with the proper dimensions.
But if you were thinking of something elaborate like a spiral stairway, chances are you will still find what you are looking for. Most things you can come up with have already been thought of and designed in the past and when you have a truly original idea, concrete companies are more than happy to work them out with you so you are happy and they make money.
Precast Concrete Steps Advantages
• Quicker to erect
• Much less work involved for you or your crew
• More cost effective in most cases
• Quality finishes available
• Standard sized to code
• Stairs are cast as one piece and therefore have no joints or gaps to weaken
• Precast concrete stairs are hollow, making them less likely to settle than solid concrete stairs
Measuring your Home
When measuring your home for precast concrete stairs it will be vital that you know the terms we have defined below. Then you will need to know the common extremes so you do not violate any building codes. The risers of stairs can be anywhere from 4 to 7.5 inches and the tread depth can be from 10 to 19 inches and generally becomes longer as the risers become shorter. The maximum pitch should me no more than 42 degrees. Keep these basic rules in mind when planning for your pre-made stairs.
Also take into consideration that many companies that make them will have some pre-made that may be less expensive than having them custom made, so check around and see of you can use some of those before settling on an exact measurement requirement for your stairs.
Common precast concrete step sizes include 3 feet wide stairs with any where from 1 to 7 steps ranging from 6 inches to 8 feet in height. Three feet is the most common width for home entry ways, but they also come in 3.5, 4, 5 and 6 feet wide sections.
Terms to Know
Tread: the part of the step that is used to step on or “tread” upon.
Riser: the part of the step that raises to the next step. The vertical rises between steps.
Pitch: the angle of the stairway given in degrees. The slant of the stairs.
Going: the usable length of the tread or the measured distance from the tip of the tread to the riser.
L-Step: consists of a tread and a riser.
Installing the Steps
The above information should be all you need to get started. Some of you may be wondering about installing the steps. Truth is, it is best to have them installed by the manufacturer because they all pretty commonly include installation. Unless you are privileged enough to have a construction crew and equipment at your disposal, you will want to take them up on their offer to install the precast concrete steps.
Although they are hollow and lighter than solid cement stairways, they are still too heavy to install without heavy machinery. A crane is normally used to install the precast concrete stairways that are more than a single step. Most precast concrete steps are equipped with built in metal cable loops for the crane to pick them up and lower them into position by.
Even though you will have to pay to have them installed, usually they will still be less expensive than if you were to build the stairway yourself from scratch and you will save a whole lot of time and stress. Concrete steps are not the easiest concrete structures to build by far, as you may know if you have any experience in the trade.
Photo by Payton Chung, Creative Commons Attribution License