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Design & Materials Newsletter / Blog

In this section of the website, we regularly post interesting items of news and updates from the Self-Build Industry. Examples include the latest amendments to the Planning System, design trends, materials innovations, changes to the Building Regulations and lots of tips and advice on building your own home. Since September 2016 we have been following the Self Build Journey of two of our clients.

Concrete Staircases

A concrete staircase being installed in one of our projects – February 2016


Helical staircase with glass balustrade and polished concrete finish


Polished Terrazzo finish


Contemporary – cantilevered concrete steps


A curved staircase with glass balustrade, chrome handrails and marble finish

Our Materials Manager, Dan looks at the growing popularity of concrete staircases.

For more than 20 years we have, as standard, supplied concrete upper floors with solid walls throughout to our clients. The feedback from our clients is that their new homes are extremely quiet and have that unmistakable feel you only get with a solid structure plus the added benefit of a high thermal mass – no mention of the creaks and echoes associated with hollow timber walls and floors. Twenty years on, more and more clients are now asking for a concrete staircase to be incorporated into their new home. So why would that be, what are the benefits and how does it impact on build costs?

Fire resistance
In the event of a house fire a solid concrete staircase will remain intact much longer than timber thereby increasing the safety of your family and home.

Acoustic benefits
Concrete stairs are much quieter than their traditional timber counterparts.

Benefits to builders
Concrete stairs are installed as the work proceeds thereby giving the builder unrestricted access to the upper floors (see image opposite). A timber stair is fitted towards the end of the build. Therefore the builder (and visitors and clients) have to use temporary ladders to access the upper floors – as you can imagine that is less than ideal. That also makes it awkward for the builder when moving materials to the upper floors.

Finishes
You can fit whatever style of handrails and balustrade you choose but the big difference is the options you have for finishes. Popular choices are polished concrete, marble, limestone, stucco, engineered wood, natural hardwood treads, terrazzo and of course carpet.

Thermal mass
A concrete staircase will improve even further the already high thermal mass of a new masonry built home.

Flexibility
Because they are delivered to site ready made from the factory linked to the fact that concrete is a fluid material, you can mould a concrete staircase into virtually any shape or style e.g. curved, helical or spiral.

Build costs
It costs less than you may think – for a straight flight stair in an average family home of say 200m² typically it will cost only £2,000 more than a timber stair – worth consideration given all the benefits.

Suitability
Concrete staircases are only suitable for masonry built homes.

Dan Mutti
Materials Manager

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