Precast concrete steps can be used for homes, businesses and practically any type of project using steps. The precast concrete steps are made by pouring and casting liquid concrete in a reusable mold off-site. They are then brought to the site and simply assembled or applied. This is an alternative method to "in-situ" or "cast-in-place" concrete which involves pouring and setting the concrete directly on-site.
There are considerable advantages to precast concrete steps. Using precast concrete shortens project time, there is no need to wait for the concrete to cure and weather is not a concern during assembly. Also, precast concrete steps are much easier to be made stable and will not become loose over time. In-situ cement block steps are easily dislodged by rain, snow, ice and heavy foot traffic. Composed as an array of individual blocks arranged to form a solid structure, the blocks must also have a concrete slab molded on top to form the landing. This is a costly project requiring not only block layers, but concrete workers as well.
The mold for precast concrete steps can contain a wide variety of textures, from simulated wood to simulated brick. This allows a consumer to purchase a particular type of stair steps that will survive a wide array of temperatures, climates, use and weather conditions.
By placing precast concrete steps on a cement slab, the step unit will remain solid. Having the landing cast into the unit, the precast concrete steps are ready to use as soon as they are placed into position. Another feature of the precast concrete steps is that most units are already prepared to attach a hand rail to them. This aids in the safety of the unit as well as the aesthetic appeal of the steps. An added benefit is that the precast steps are hollow, providing a convenient storage spot directly underneath the step unit.
Wooden steps are easily built; however, they can become tipsy, warped and loose over a short time. Wooden steps also are very smooth, making them slippery in wet and snowy conditions. Precast concrete steps can be ordered with raised ridges and bumps, which can aid traction in poor weather conditions. Unlike their wooden counterparts, precast steps will remain solid in all types of weather and will never loosen and become shaky and wobbly under foot.
Concrete steps can also be painted to match the finish of the building that they sit next to. If choosing a simulated pattern for the finish of a concrete step, the concrete can be painted to match the finish. For example, bricks can be painted red and wood can be painted brown and tan. Fine detail work with a trimming brush and a contrasting color can add much appeal and a life-like finish to a concrete step unit.