When putting in a new set of concrete steps at your home or business, you’ll ultimately need to decide between two options; precast concrete steps or cast-in-place. Both are significantly stronger than wooden steps, allowing them to hold up to changing weather and high volumes of foot traffic for many years. However, when it comes down to choosing between the two, in most cases, precast concrete steps are the better option.
To begin with, precast concrete steps are built off-site in a factory, rather than at the site itself. This allows them to be moved in and installed quickly, usually in under an hour, which drastically cuts down on labour costs. They can also be installed easily at anytime during the year, unlike cast-in-place steps, which require a great deal of effort to install during colder months. As an added bonus, precast steps generally look better because of the controlled environment they are built in. In contrast, cast-in-place steps are created by pouring a concrete mixture into removable forms that are erected on site and removed after the steps have cured.
Precast concrete steps are also substantially lighter than cast-in-place steps because they are created with a hollow interior. As a result, they do not stress the residential or commercial foundation wall, and put less weight on the base, which ultimately means they are less likely to sink than heavier cast-in-place steps and can be easily adjusted if any settling occurs. The light weight of precast concrete steps also allows more versatility in the installation process, allowing the contractor or installer to choose the option that best fits the building.The only downside to choosing precast steps is that you are limited to the sizes the manufacturer has on hand, which may not always be suitable for certain commercial and residential setups.
Ultimately, in most commercial and residential scenarios, precast concrete steps are the best option due to their quick installation, light weight and low price point.