Concrete steps or terraced stairways are the most prominent feature at the entryway of many homes and public buildings, yet too often they get relegated to purely utilitarian status. Elevating concrete stairs from bland to grand makes them the dramatic focal point of any front entrance. Even greater visual impact is possible by combining decorative stairways with stamped or stained concrete walkways and landings that incorporate coordinating colors and patterns.
Concrete stairs can be poured right along with your walkways or entryway, so they can be colored and textured to match. Once you work with us to come up with a functional design for your front stairs, you can begin narrowing down your decorative options. Here are some ideas for creating concrete stairways that are a step above the ordinary. For more inspiration, browse through our photo gallery or ask us to show you portfolios of our past projects. The same methods used for coloring exterior concrete flatwork are equally suitable for stairways.
The most popular include adding integral color, staining, and applying dry-shake color hardener. Here at Mora's Concrete, we combine these techniques to produce unique color variations and marbling effects. Color hardener and integral color are the methods most commonly used with stamped concrete, with each offering advantages and disadvantages.
Concrete porch steps are often easier to color integrally because of their vertical step faces. But if you want the richness of color and added durability provided by a dry shake, it is possible to apply the hardener to stair risers if it's mixed into a paste first, says Chris Sullivan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ChemSystems Inc. He advises contractors to mix the color hardener with water and a concrete bonding agent to achieve a consistency similar to cake icing and then apply the paste with a small trowel or float before stamping.
There are literally hundreds of stamp patterns to choose from, ranging from slate, to brick, to cobblestone, to botanical and wildlife themes. Because today's stamping mats are often molded from the actual materials they mimic, they produce amazingly realistic results. By extending the pattern from sidewalk to stairway to landing, the overall effect is even more impressive.
Here at Mora's Concrete, we make a seamless transition from flat surfaces to steps by using thin flex mats or texture skins in the same pattern as the rigid mats used for stamping the concrete flatwork. Made from a pliable urethane, these mats are easily bent to a 90-degree angle to conform to stair risers. Another handy way to imprint granite, slate, and other stone-like textures on narrow step treads and vertical faces is to use small texture rollers.