Stairs, Treads, & Risers
Stairs, Treads & Risers: Manufacturing
Durite has been involved in Restoration, Design, Manufacturing and Construction of Stair Treads and Risers spanning several decades. Any unique shapes, designs and models can be Manufactured from simple treads to the more sophisticated 3D single piece tread & risers.
Each stair tread depending on it’s own environment requires special attention. As an example in many schools, kids like to jump on stairs from a higher elevation. If this concentrated force could not be absorb at impact like a shock absorber by the tread, the minimum that could happen would be the fracturing of the stair tread. This could also lead to the dangerous conditions of stair nose breaking at impact and causing the jumper to be in sever danger.
Our work with stair treads began with replacement and restoration of the Art Deco Era stairs. Through the passage of time, we learned about different color cement and type of stones that made a certain step. Cement colors in Green, Yellow, Purple, Brown and Crimson, where desired colors for flooring & steps. During the Deco period playing with many colors of terrazzo reached its peak in design. Ironically this design movement was taking place throughout Europe and the Americas.
Cement Based Stair Treads must be reinforced with steal bars (mostly ¾" from top). Even today when Cement based treads are manufactured, this steal reinforcement is necessary. Through the years especially in a salt and chloride environment steal corrosion expands the volume of steel by almost three times, causing the fracturing and breaking of the stair surface. The fracture would eventually lead to breaking and crumbling of the surface and a slow deterioration. There are some theories about using epoxy-coated rebar to delay the corrosion process, but eventually when salt ions find a little nick or crack in the epoxy coating they will focus on that weak point and even accelerate the corrosion process.
Durite mostly manufactures Tread & Risers in Epoxy Binders. Either for Terrazzo, Concrete Polymer and or other materials. Tread & Risers Can be separate (usually more cost effective), or they can be a single piece at ninety degrees angle(not glued and mitered). Or tread and risers can be at an angle like 70 degrees (a favorite of designers). Thickness of epoxy stairs can be at 1/2" thickness required for single piece tread and riser casting.
Steel treads can be welded to a center stringer, like wings of airplane visible from all sides. Stringers can be cladded with same material, seamlessly transforming the stairs to a free standing art piece.
Some stairs require templates, Tread & Risers can be in elliptical, moon-sliver, concave, or bumped out shapes. Tread & Risers can be from a single material or multi-colors like a ribbon traveling to the left and right of the stair treads. Stairs can be translucent, similar to frosted glass.
Nosing of Treads (without Risers) can be a straight edge (ninety degreessharp), or rounded edge. Thickness is 1/2" but at the nosing it can look like 2" or any other dimension within design reason.
None-Slip Nosing can either be strips of epoxy and Carboradom (Silicon Carbide) similar to a very rough sand paper. Or None-Slip Nosing can be more elaborate, as metal strips inserts (typically 1/8" in Zinc or Brass that can be inserted in one or several parallel lines and raised up from the stair surface by 1/8" for foot grip).
Most stairs / risers that Durite Manufactures are Epoxy based. Other polymers does not stand to the constant surface honing by foot traffic and traction.
Acrylic Polymers even though very attractive and could achieve water clarity, are not molecularly stable yet. They can fracture or amber. Other materials that are Polyester based can last longer, but once the surface ware’s off it cannot be brought back to factory level shine.
In recent years Tread design are lending heading towards combining fiber-optics at nosing. Nosing that extends and pass the Risers by 1" or more, can have low voltage diodes emitting lights embedded for downward lighting, way finding and alerting the person’s visual field by making it safer to see the edge of the tread, especially when the treads are black in color or other colors that its hard to see the edge of the stairs while descending.
As new materials such as Photo Emitting Crystals and Phosphates are being perfected. The use of strips for illuminating stairs in the event of electric outage and way finding will no longer be necessary if treads can illuminate or project downward light.
New treads will have inbuilt features for way finding in the dark, including in Parks, Sidewalks, Airports, Transport Hubs and other public areas.
In future, photovoltaic solar power could be imbedded in the tread surface, electric current stored inside the tread and with low voltage diode lights couldbe emitted from the stairs as needed. Similar to our many landscaping lighting.