When putting in a new set of concrete steps at your home or business, you’ll need to decide between two options; precast concrete steps or cast-in-place. Both styles are significantly more durable than wooden steps and will hold up to changing weather and high volumes of foot traffic for many years. However, in most cases, precast concrete steps are the better option between the two for the reasons outlined below.
The main difference between the two options is the construction location. Precast concrete steps are formed off-site in a factory, rather than at the site itself. Because they are pre-built, they can be moved in and installed quickly, which drastically cuts down on labour costs. They can also be installed year-round, unlike cast-in-place steps, which require a great deal of effort to install during colder months. As a bonus, precast steps generally look better because they are built in a controlled environment. Cast-in-place steps are created by pouring a concrete mixture into removable forms assembled on-site and removed after the steps have cured.
Precast concrete steps are also substantially lighter than cast-in-place steps because they have a hollow interior. Lower weight puts less stress on the residential or commercial foundation wall and base. Heavier cast-in-place steps are more likely to sink and are harder to adjust if any settling occurs. The low 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 when choosing precast steps is that you are limited to the sizes the manufacturer has on hand, which may not always be suitable for specific 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.