Most homes not on slab foundations have steps leading up to the front and back entrances and the majority are either wood or concrete steps. Some slab foundations don't require steps, but just about all crawl space and basement homes need at least two or three steps.
|Freshly poured and finished concrete steps with rough texture to prevent slipping.||Rounded "wrap around" or "return" steps. Integrally colored and stamped.|
In most cases, concrete is the preferred material for building steps. Concrete has a few distinct advantages over other materials.
It can become overwhelming when you consider the design opportunities with concrete steps. They can be customized to fit the style and architecture of any home or landscape. Whether you prefer rounded shapes or squared shapes, concrete can be molded to suit any theme. Structural shape is just once aspect of the overall step design. You also need to consider the cosmetic choices.
The faces of the steps can be simple and flat, or dressed up considerably using one of several styles of cantalievers. Cantalievers will dramatically enhance the appearance and character of concrete steps.
Another exciting option for steps is texture. There's always the option of the normal broom finish and there's nothing wrong with it. It will always remain the most common texture. But concrete steps can also be done with the exposed aggregate finish or stamped to resemble other materials like brick and stone. The only texture not recommended for steps is a smooth texture, especially on exterior steps. The last thing you want is to have someone slip and fall down a set of concrete stairs.
Of course, color options with concrete are continuously growing in popularity. Concrete for steps can have color added integrally or it can be added to the surface using color hardeners, stains, and dyes. There is wide array of colors ranging from subtle to vibrant which can be utilized to suit anyone's taste or compliment any surroundings.
When designing concrete steps, there are a few guidelines that need to be followed for obvious safety reasons. Risers can be anywhere between 4 and 7 inches tall, but they must all be the same within a set of steps. This includes the rise from the top step up to the door threshold. Depth of the treads should be at least 12 inches, but a little deeper is better. Treads should also slope away from the house with at least 1/4 inch per ft pitch and no more than 3/4 inch per ft. This is to prevent water from standing on the step treads.
It's no mystery why home builders use concrete steps versus other materials. The cost, speed of installation, versatility, and durability, make concrete the ideal choice.