Precast concrete steps work for many people. These are available in many sizes and shapes, and are set up on site instead of poured on site. Here are a few of the benefits and drawbacks so you can decide if this is the best choice for you.
Since precast concrete isn't poured at the location they will be used, they are delivered in solid form. Precast concrete tends to be less bulky and lighter than poured concrete is. The entire set of steps will be a solid piece. Since there are no mortar joints or other gaps that water can creep in to, the steps aren't as apt to shift. Precast steps are also set on blocks that will allow even weight distribution. All of this means the chances of the steps sinking or settling are slim. This can be an advantage in areas that receive lots of moisture, or where the ground is prone to settling.
Another benefit of using precast steps is that it is simple to create a wider step area. Several precasts can be placed side by side, creating a wide area of stairs. This is useful for businesses who need more access, or homes with lots of traffic.
Precast concrete steps can be found in many colors and finishes. If you don't like the look of concrete you can opt for a stone look. Many people will choose to use a step that appears to be brick and concrete. This is done at the factory with concrete stamps and coloring. It will cost you more for these options, but it's still much cheaper than installing natural stone steps.
Precast steps are an affordable way to get sturdy stairs. It may be less expensive to create your own mold and pour the concrete, but this can be a hassle. For those who want the convenience of steps without the back breaking work, the money can be worth it.
Since the steps are made off-site using molds, ordering custom sizes can be costly. A new mold will need to be created, or several molds used for custom sizes. While it's possible to find these steps in a large variety of sizes, if you need a custom size you can expect to pay quite a bit more.
Precast steps can't just be shipped through the post office and set up at your convenience. Even though these tend to be lighter than standard concrete, it will still require heavy lifting and preparation of the area. They can be installed as a DIY project, but you can expect to need to solicit the help of several friends.
Precast steps can be stacked to create larger staircases. This can be an advantage, but will also require a lot of additional work. Stacking steps will require that they be stabilized and secured to one another. Most companies will make bases for up to 5 steps. Above and beyond that, you may need a professional to consult with.