Whether you have an elevated patio, a drop down from the entry door, or a hilly slope that isn't easy to climb, you need exterior steps. The most common types of outdoor steps include treated wood, natural stone, brick, and concrete. If you're leaning toward concrete, take a look at the benefits of this building material.
Shape and Size Selection
Not every step has a straight vertical surface that runs perpendicular to a horizontal one. Some steps are curved or need special shapes to fit into irregular spaces. The beauty of concrete is that a contractor can form it to fit your needs. Unlike wood or bricks, which are rigid, poured concrete starts out as a flexible material. This allows for some give, in terms of shaping, before it hardens into a permanent, solid exterior feature.
For example, a narrow or awkwardly-shaped area may require a small set of stairs. The ability to form concrete into different shapes allows the contractor to fit the stairway into the space precisely. This creates a finished look, without driving up your materials cost.
Along with the shape, you can choose the texture and color that your concrete steps come in. If you like the look of a traditional smooth gray-ish finish, you can choose this option. But if you want your concrete steps to have a stand-out look, you have options. Grooved and stamped finishes create a designer look, adding visual interest. If you want even more texture, an exposed aggregate finish looks like bumpy, small pebbles set in the solid surface.
Another benefit of choosing concrete for your exterior stairway project is the ability to add custom colors. Instead of the common concrete gray hue, mixing in specially-formulated pigments and adding stain can give your steps an aesthetic that sets them apart from the norm.
Aside from aesthetic issues, you need steps that last the test of time. As an exterior element, steps are constantly exposed to the wind, rain, sun, and more. While weathering can cause erosion over time, well-made concrete steps can last for years without warping or crumpling. Concrete is also rot-resistant, so it can stand up well to moisture.
You can ensure durability by caring for, sealing, and maintaining your steps by filling cracks and making minor repairs.
Creating custom steps for your yard or home's exterior can get pricey, and finding the just-right natural stones to set in your yard doesn't always come easy. But again, concrete is a material that contractors can mold into many shapes and mix into different textures and colors. The amazing flexibility of concrete to look like other (pricier) building materials makes it a lower-cost option that fits into a wider range of remodeling budgets.
In comparison to other stair materials, such as wood, concrete is fairly low maintenance. While you do need to care for your concrete steps, you won't have to constantly re-stain or re-seal them. You also won't need to buy special cleaners or rent machinery to keep them dirt and debris free. Provided you seal your concrete, a hose and light detergent/soap will keep them clean.
What happens if you want a change down the road? Fortunately, concrete is a strong substance that is easy to cover. Depending on your needs, you can cover your exterior steps with an outdoor carpet or veneer. Using a veneer gives your older concrete steps a completely new look by mimicking other materials such as natural stone (but without the hefty price tag of totally overhauling your exterior stairs).
Do you need a new set of concrete steps? Contact Supreme Concrete LLC for more information.