Choosing the building materials for structures is just as important as designing them. There are a plethora of available materials one could use for their next building project: wood, metal, stone, brick. But concrete is one of the most common building materials used, and for good reason: it’s affordable, accessible, and durable.
Concrete is a go-to choice for floors and step treads for staircases. But if you’re still trying to decide between using concrete and any other building material, these advantages of using concrete may help you decide.
Economic, Universal, Low Maintenance.
Concrete can be bought almost anywhere, and is arguably the cheapest among building materials. Unlike wood, stone, or marble, broken concrete can easily be repaired or replaced, while other materials are costlier and would require one to get from the same source in order to preserve uniformity. Concrete does not require constant or regular polishing and cleaning, nor does it need special maintenance methods; one could simply pressure wash or mop concrete stairs to clean them.
Durable and Fire resistant.
Concrete is a safe option. It can handle heavy loads and high impact, whereas other less durable and more expensive materials such as stone, wood, or marble could break, bend, or crack. Additionally, concrete is fire-resistant, which is why it is often used for fire exit stairwells. Unlike metal/steel, concrete does not rust when exposed to moisture, nor does it warp, expand, or splinter like wood. Concrete can handle vibrations just as well, and is effective in soundproofing, making it ideal for hospital or school staircases. Concrete can retain heat, making it easier to heat stairwells and reduce the cost for heating, and can withstand almost all climates and seasons
Easily Installed and Molded.
Concrete is easy to use and easy to mold, and does not require skilled or specialized labor. This makes concrete both convenient and versatile. Handrails are also much more easily fit into concrete. Concrete can also be reinforced with steel bars to improve its durability and be able to handle heavier loads and impact. Other companies offer precast concrete steps to allow fast and effortless installation and construction of concrete stairs. Precast concrete steps also eliminate the huge disadvantage of concrete-step-making which is waiting for concrete to harden, and limiting construction when it rains. Concrete also allows having pipes embedded within it.
People often worry that concrete seems so plain and dull, but it can easily be customized. One could also opt to cover the concrete with tiles, or simply paint them over. Concrete stairs can also be coated with epoxy to be more durable, and aesthetically pleasing. Concrete on its own may look plain, but it is relatively more customizable than marble or wood, and could even be customized to look like marble (faux marble concrete). It can also be used with other materials, oftentimes to serve as durable base/foundation. Basically, concrete can be molded, colored, and textured to fit any design.
Concrete is as versatile, durable, and cheap as it is common. Knowing these advantages, you may want to consider using concrete in your next stair-building project.