Poznań – the Polish capital of microcement stairs. Interview with Tomek Grabarczyk [photos]
Poznań is famous for billy goats and Marciński croissants. Now it is starting to be known as the capital of microcement stairs, thanks to Tomasz Grabarczyk, the owner of the Twója Ściana company, who mastered the technology of microcement stairs to perfection. Today, Tomek reveals the backstage of his work, explains what the implementation process looks like and why more and more customers choose this method of finishing the stairs.
At the beginning, please tell us what is the history of your business, how did you start, what are you doing now and what is the profile of your clients?
T.G .: I have been running the company since 2015, in the initial phase I dealt mainly with painting, simple finishing works such as putty, panel assembly etc. Over time, decorative plasters have been added to my offer, and so gradually they became my main activity. At the moment, we no longer provide services other than microcement and architectural concrete. We operate in Wielkopolska, Poznań and the surrounding area, sometimes we also travel on business trips. We work mainly on the primary market and serve individual clients who buy semi-detached / terraced houses.
How many microcement stairs have you made in your career, how many do you make each year?
T.G .: We don’t keep exact statistics, but I think that we already have about 100 pairs of stairs in our portfolio. We are currently working in a team of 3, with a strict division of responsibilities, which is why our work is very efficient and time-optimized. In a month, we are able to prepare up to 4 pairs of stairs and finish up to 8 pairs! Occasionally we have projects where we cover two flights of stairs with microcement, then we have 32 steps on one project.
Why do investors choose stairs made of microcement and not, for example, wooden or covered with tiles?
T.G .: Customers choose our service for many reasons. They are looking for alternative solutions to wood and tiles, and microcement or concrete perfectly fit into the current trends in interior finishing. The stability of material prices speaks in favor of microcement in relation to wood. The price of wood for stairs is systematically growing. Moreover, an additional barrier is the availability of wood and carpenters who can perform the assembly, which is why our service is very attractive to potential customers. The financial aspect also speaks in our favor, because our service is competitively priced for traditional solutions.
What is the investor’s journey from the first phone call to you to the finished staircase?
T.G .: We have a strictly developed procedure, thanks to which cooperation with our company is transparent and pleasant 🙂
After the first call from the customer with the inquiry, we ask the customer to send basic information about the implementation – the number of stairs, the number of steps, dimensions, photos of the stairs and the location of the construction along with the date of implementation, which the potential customer is interested in.
Then, based on this information, we prepare an offer. After its acceptance, we sign the contract, collect the advance payment and book the date. Before signing the contract, we invite the customer to see our projects live, thanks to which our clients have an idea of what their implementation may look like at the end of our work. We choose the color and prepare samples with the possibility of finishing.
We divide the work into two stages.
- Stage 1 – preparation of the substrate (implementation time 4-5 working days) is performed after the staircase is finished, approximately in the middle of all finishing works at home.
- Stage 2 – application of microcement (implementation time 3-4 working days), we do it after most of the finishing works are done at home, most often after us is only the installation of the railing and housewarming 🙂
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to the implementation of microcement stairs?
T.G .: I can mention two of the biggest challenges we face in our work.
The first one is to provide the service at home and with customers living inside during work. Sometimes we have such projects and they are a big logistic challenge, we have to synchronize the technological stages with the events and duties of the household members, fortunately such projects are not that common.
The second one is incorrect step heights. While the difference of several millimeters in relation to the rest of the steps is difficult to notice with the naked eye, the difference of 5-6 cm on the last step causes great discomfort in walking, not to mention the visual aspect. Our record is 25 bags of self-leveling screed poured into the stairs. This is 625 kg of dry mortar mix!
In addition to making stairs, you also conduct training in the application of microcement on stairs, could you tell us something more?
T.G .: I lead thematic training at the Festfloor headquarters in Warsaw – on average once a month (learn more: microcement training). The groups are intimate, maximum 10 participants. The course consists of a theoretical and a practical part. We discuss the details of work in the system of making stairs with the use of cement boards, unusual situations during implementation, etc. In the practical part, I show live the process of preparing the stairs for the application of microcement and the application of the microcement itself. The training lasts about 6 hours, and each participant receives a diploma confirming participation in the training, a Festfloor microcement test kit and a discount code for the first purchase in the online store – 15%.
If you are looking for a microcement contractor from Poznań and the surrounding area, check out Tomek’s website.
Gallery: microcement stairs by Tomek Grabarczyk