What kind of outdoor staircase to decide on?

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External stairs are exposed to the weather, so when designing them we should pay attention to the construction and the choice of durable material. We suggest which stairs are worth deciding.

When choosing the material for the exterior stairs, pay attention that it is consistent with the architecture of the house, and blends harmoniously with the garden. Let’s also look at the following parameters:

  • anti-slip – it is best to choose an anti-slip material for outdoor stairs, in this way we will ensure the safety of ourselves, all household members and guests. Anti-slip ability is marked with R symbol, let’s choose materials which fall in the range of R9-R13;
  • Wear resistance class – determines resistance to mechanical abrasion. In case of material for external stairs it must be more than IV (symbol PEI);
  • water absorption – is expressed with the E symbol. It means resistance to moisture. Soaking ability of the material for external stairs must not be higher than 3%;
  • Frost resistance – outdoor stairs should be as resistant to freezing and thawing as possible. Let’s choose materials whose frost resistance according to EN-ISO standard is above 100 cycles.

Types of external stairs

External steel stairs

They are purchased as ready-made elements that must be screwed together. The structure is characterized by lightness, it is made of black carbon steel or acid resistant steel. We must remember to protect such material against corrosion.

Stairs on an earth construction

In the case of stairs on the ground construction we cannot omit the stage of leveling the ground, pouring out fine gravel and its compaction. The edges of the stairs are fixed in the mortar; its type is selected according to the finishing material used.

Prefabricated stairs

The advantage of prefabricated stairs is the fact that they are available in various constructions – plate, string or cantilever ones. This kind of stairs most often constitute one element that is immediately ready for assembly.

What material to choose for external stairs?

After the construction of external stairs we still need to put something on their surface. On what material it is worth deciding?

Stone

It is the most exclusive and durable, and therefore the most expensive material. Basalt, granite, sandstone, marble or travertine are the most popular materials used for making exterior stairs. The safest stones are those with a matte surface, which protects against slipping. However, if you decide on shiny surfaces, make sure the edges are corrugated or use anti-slip pads. Remember also about proper impregnation of all types of stone.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are the cheapest and thus the most popular material for outdoor stairs. We can opt for clinker tiles, made of porcelain stoneware or terracotta. The advantages of tiles are low water absorption, frost resistance, high abrasion resistance and easy to keep clean. In addition, they are easy to match with the home’s surroundings because of the wide selection of patterns and colors.

Concrete

Concrete outdoor stairs appear in many projects. This material features affordability, high durability, fire resistance and ease of construction. It also dampens noise. The construction of concrete stairs looks massive, but it is simple. Importantly, they can be finished in any way you like and their width can be adjusted to suit individual preferences.

main photo: pixabay.com/ptrabattoni

Peter Bowers

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