Concrete and Cast Iron Staircase Designs

Concrete and Cast Iron Staircase Designs

Concrete and Cast Iron Staircase Designs Concrete stairs are usually seen in commercial properties but they can be found in residential properties too. Popular in the 1930s they have recently seen something of a renaissance. Stairs constructed from cast iron are more often located outside a property, as an exterior fire escape or as a means of accessing an upper-storey flat. If cast iron stairs are installed internally it is most often in the form of a spiral staircase.

Concrete Staircase Designs

If you are aiming for a minimalist, functional interior style then concrete stairs will contribute greatly to such a look. However, it is possible to soften their harsh appearance with wooden cladding or carpet, clever use of timber handrails and other details. Concrete stairs can be mass-produced off site and then installed by a builder, but for a one-off job it is more economic to construct the stairs in situ. The usual method of construction is to construct timber formwork to act as a mould for the wet concrete, which is then removed once the concrete has set.

Concrete stairs are durable but not without their problems. Spalling occurs when moisture gets into minute cracks in the surface and then freezes in cold weather, causing the surface of the concrete to break away. Spalling can be difficult to stop, for once the surface has broken off more water can find its way in. Another problem is the corrosion of reinforcing bars or mesh embedded into the concrete, which can cause serious structural failure. This problem is rare, but when it does occur the entire staircase will have to be replaced.

Cast Iron Staircase Designs

A newly built cast iron staircase can be expensive to buy, but if you are very lucky you may be able to buy a second-hand example. Old Victorian industrial buildings often contain cast iron spiral stairs, so it is worth enquiring with reclamation yards to see if they have anything that might be suitable. Cast iron stairs are constructed the same, whatever their shape and size, from sections bolted together. Virtually maintenance free, the only thing you may have to do is tighten or replace some of the nuts and bolts, particularly at handrail junctions.

Spiral Staircase Designs

Installing a spiral staircase will make an unusual and impressive addition to a house, opening up new possibilities in the use of interior space. Spiral stairs rise in their own space and so take up much less floor area then any other type of stairway, hence one of the prime reasons for installing such a staircase is the need to cope with a lack of space.

The idea of installing spiral stairs rarely occurs to homeowners, and when it does it is usually dismissed out of hand. Certainly, as the main staircase linking the ground and first floors spiral stairs are not really a practical option, especially in a household that includes children, the elderly or disabled people Yet for a secondary staircase when space options are limited, spiral stairs will make an original and ornate feature. In a small house which does not have space for a straight flight staircase, a spiral staircase can be used to gain access to the loft or attic space. Not having to use a loft ladder each time makes this space much more user-friendly, and the fact that a previously uninhabitable room has been made usable means the cost of the staircase is easily recouped. One of the main disadvantages is that, with the steepness of the rise and the continuous turn, moving larger items of furniture to the upper floor is a real problem. Spiral stairs may be constructed from either wood, metal or concrete. They can also be built against a wall, in which case the outside edge will be supported by the wall structure, or they may be built free-standing with all structural support deriving from the central post.

15. December 2010 by admin
Categories: DIY Home, Stairs | Tags: , | Comments Off on Concrete and Cast Iron Staircase Designs


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