Are you trying to decide whether to purchase metal, wood or masonry stairs for access to your mobile office, construction trailer or modular classroom? If you’ve already decided on metal, what are the pros and cons of aluminum versus steel?

Compared to wood, steel and masonry stairs, aluminum is the ideal combination of strength and durability. It can be machined, formed and shaped, conducts heat well, is non-sparking and can be used near flammable substances, resists rust and corrosion, and is non-magnetic.

Some aluminum alloys rival medium-grade steel in strength, but aluminum is lighter in weight and less costly. In fact, it is aluminum’s high strength-to-weight ratio that makes it very useful in structural applications, particularly in the aircraft industry.

While wood is a very strong material, it’s also very vulnerable.  Harsh weather, water, and insects can wreak havoc on wood stairs causing them to rot and deteriorate.  Any painted finish will peel and fade over time and require repainting and other maintenance.

In the case of brick, stone and concrete steps, moisture can get in to mortar joints, causing the material to crumble. Bricks can shift out of alignment, loosen or fall out. They are also not particularly portable as they must usually be built on a foundation. When the structure settles, the foundation may settle at a different rate, causing cracks. Damaged masonry steps can also pose serious safety hazards when corners break off where a handrail was anchored.

Take a look at the selection of aluminum stairs by REDD Team, designers and manufacturers of code-compliant portable stairways, walkways, pedestrian bridges, wheelchair ramps and platforms. We recommend them for their premium products and excellent customer service.

Benefits of Aluminum Stairs

When your application requires strength and safety, explore aluminum for these reasons:

  • Strong and durable, yet lightweight and portable;
  • Aluminum is attractive in its natural state;
  • Unlike steel or wood, it requires no finish coating, painting or sealing;
  • Complex shapes can be extruded, creating stronger frame components that are less likely to loosen over time;
  • Can be customized to fit virtually any walkway and platform requirement;
  • Slip-resistant decking materials include self-mating extruded aluminum, wood or wood polymer composites;
  • Excellent thermal conduction; stairways remain cool to the touch;
  • Durable and low-maintenance
  • Less expensive than other walkway solutions;
  • Can be quickly dismantled, relocated and reassembled elsewhere;
  • Infinitely recyclable without losing any characteristics.

The main causes of slip-and-fall injuries are poor structural integrity, slippery surfaces, poorly constructed handrails, and environmental factors, such as mud, snow, ice, oil and grease. Aluminum couple with slip-resistant treads will provide excellent footing and traction to ensure safety.

Because it’s so versatile, aluminum and its alloys are used today in an amazing number of products, from cans and kitchen utensils, to parts for airplanes and other items that require a strong, light material. It can be deposited on the surface of glass to make mirrors, where a thin layer of aluminum oxide quickly forms to become a protective coating. Aluminum oxide is even used to make synthetic rubies and sapphires for lasers.

Metal stairs will provide you with convenient access to modular buildings, construction trailers, temporary offices, portable classrooms and many other applications. When strength, durability and portability are important, choose long-lasting aluminum steps instead of wood, steel or brick.