Deciding on Metal Stairs: To Custom Build or Buy Prefab Stairs?

Of the many elements which fit into this process, choosing the best option for metal stairs design is perhaps the most salient. Let’s look at a few of the most important factors to consider when making this crucial decision for your business.

Prefab vs. Custom Stairs: Which is the Most Cost-Efficient?

In planning a building, there are obviously numerous factors, such as functional and aesthetic considerations. However, the one factor which often supersedes all of these is simple: cost. One of the chief reasons to choose prefab metal stairs over custom building options is cost.

At first, this may be a surprising revelation. When looking at everyday material costs for custom stairs, your first impression might be that pre-made stairs are actually the more costly option. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes readily apparent that pre-manufactured stairs are the more cost-effective choice.

Upfront Pricing

The biggest challenge in construction is maintaining a consistent and accurate account of the costs involved. Material prices fluctuate, labor becomes less available, and unexpected hurdles arise. All of these lead to uncertainty in the pricing of the project. By choosing a prefabricated metal stair solution, you can combine dozens of line items into one.

Rather than having to calculate and source the design, materials, and fabrication of your stairs from disparate sources, choosing a pre-made option allows you to order a stair system that is perfect for your application. This dramatically reduces the variability in the overall cost. Whether you are a contractor looking to provide a more accurate quote for a customer, or you are a business owner trying to project costs over time accurately, premade stairs are the simpler and more consistent option.

On-Time Delivery

The variability of custom-made stairs is not only a consideration for cost; it is a consideration for time. Manufactured metal stairs benefit from the efficiencies of centralized manufacturing. It will go a long way towards ensuring that the product you need for your building will be ready when you need it. Compare this to having to outsource welders and source materials, and the advantage of having a pre-made product becomes clear.

Further, for more simple and straight-forward design applications, there is a high likelihood that a reputable commercial stair manufacturer will have several models prefabricated and in stock. Thus, if your particular design does not require a custom design, you will likely be able to have a completed set of modern stairs almost instantly. This allows you to reduce stress and avoid costly delays.

Reduced Risk of Modifications

Finally, when considering the cost, it is essential to remember not only the stairs themselves. But how they integrate into the building. When purchasing manufactured stairs, the company will be able to provide detailed schematics and measurements that will exactly represent the product you ordered. This allows your building team to construct the landings and the surrounding area precisely as needed. Compare this to a one-off custom set of stairs which may introduce slight changes in tolerance, often resulting in required structural changes to the building. These setbacks are expensive and time-consuming. But using manufactured stairs or stair kits will eliminate these setbacks entirely.

Prefab metal stairs can be portable and a time saver

Advantages of Prefab Stairs Over Custom Built Metal Stairs

Beyond the advantages as mentioned earlier in cost, consistency, and speed, there are safety and ergonomic reasons to select a pre-made staircase for your commercial building project.


The process of designing a safe and ergonomic staircase is deceptively difficult. Thousands of hours and vast resources have been devoted to perfecting the staircase design. Depending on the specific application, the ratio of height and depth, as well as the design of the treads themselves, can vary widely. Custom designing a staircase overlooks the highly detailed nature of the problem at hand and potentially puts your employees or customers at risk of injury.

Further, purchasing a pre-designed stair system ensures that the engineering and load-bearing capacity of the stairs has been thoroughly tested. In comparison, a custom-made set of stairs may contain unknown and untested materials or welding techniques. By sourcing your staircase from a reputable manufacturer, the design is both efficient and safe — as assured by several tests and experiences by previous customers.

Code Compliance

One of the most critical aspects of designing and building a commercial structure is ensuring that every aspect of the building is within compliance with the applicable laws and codes. These details can be exceptionally technical and complex. Not only are load-carrying and ergonomic considerations necessary. But ADA regulations, fire-safety thresholds, and even earthquake compliance can all be relevant factors depending on your use and location.

This is perhaps one of the largest contributing factors to why pre-made metal stairs are the best option in industrial or commercial use. Dedicated manufacturers of metal staircases can devote the time and resources into developing stairs which comply with the necessary codes. Further, a reputable company can serve as a valuable resource when selecting the best stairs for your situation. By discussing your location, use, and budget with the professionals at a commercial stair company. You are able to make sure that the final product fulfills every legal and functional aspect you require. In contrast, custom-made stairs are riddled with complication, risk, and guesswork. If you look to an expert for a perfect stair design or modern stairs are what you will get.

Why Prefab Stairs is Better for Industrial and Commercial Uses

When choosing between custom-built stairs or a prefabricated metal solution, some factors should guide your decision. Whether your primary concern is cost, legal compliance, safety, or time, pre-manufactured stairs are the obvious choice for commercial applications. Why wade through the time and expense of doing your own research? The expertise and solutions are already available, and all you have to do is choose.

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