Stairs from natural stone at the entrance or inside the building is not only a great way to show your wealth, good taste and sense of style to your guests, but also a profitable design solution characterized by high reliability. Despite a quite high price, many owners of the country houses and cottages order the steps from granite or marble. To date, these are the most common types of natural stone, used in finishing works.
What’s so great about this material? Let’s find it out.
What type of stone should you use?
Marble represents a decorative material, characterized by softer or, on the contrary, more saturated shades, which makes it most popular for the use inside the large administrative blocks, banks, educational institutions, museums, galleries, theatres, etc.
There are many stone types of different colors and structural characteristics. However, they all share a simplicity of treatment, smooth surface and relatively small weight, which can become a decisive factor in planning the installation.
Granite is not so aesthetically attractive. However, many sorts are characterized by very fancy shades, which can be combined with different design directions. It has twice as great safety margin as marble and is highly resistant to the abrasive loads; thanks to this, granite steps are especially popular at the entrance of the building with high accessibility. Granite can serve you many years, remaining almost unchanged. It is also used for building the march stairs inside the building, less frequently – winding stairs.
What is “granularity”?
You can define the durability of stone by its granularity. This parameter defines the size of grains – mineral particles, forming the structure of stone (they can include both the elements of rock and the crystal formations).
There are three types of granularity:
- fine-grained – in this type, the size of grains doesn’t exceed 2 mm. Such granularity promotes the formation of the most solid stone texture due to the fact that the particles adjoin tightly to each other and lack of micro-cavities. Fine-grained granite is mostly used for building the steps of entrance stairs. It is characterized by high (but wholly justified) price;
- medium-grained is the most common type, in which the size of grains is 2-5 mm, which provides high degree of safety at an average cost. Medium-grained marble and granite are commonly used for different facing works, including as a material for the steps;
- coarse-grained – in this type, the size of grains exceeds 5 mm. This material is the least durable of all; it can crack under strong mechanical impact (for example, when the heavy solid load falls from a great height). For the rest, this is a good material for finishing the indoor and outdoor stairs, characterized by relatively small price.
Texture of the natural stone
The texture of stone plays an important role, as it directly affects its color and appearance, while they can change the price. For example, homogenous marble and granite without any shades and plays of color are the least appreciated. Therefore, it is used for purely practical purposes.
Laminated stone is much more highly valued. Such texture promotes the formation of fancy patterns on the surface, changing the color palette, etc. It is important to remember that granite or marble can’t be grown in a greenhouse as a plant. They are mined in the deposits, scattered throughout the world. Therefore, shipping costs can be several times higher than its market value. That’s why some sorts can be valued especially high.
The stone with streaks of rock is highly valued, and not only due to its aesthetic effect, but also for more mundane reasons. In particular, the presence of streaks shows that this is a natural stone and not a synthesized fake.
Granite steps- types and differences
The most popular (and cheap) types of steps are overhead and composite. This construction represents two plate blanks, attached to the concrete base of the stairs by means of primer. Vertical blanks are called risers, and the horizontal– treads.
Benefits of stairs with granite steps are undeniable.
- Firstly, their transportation and mounting are significantly facilitated due to their small size and weight.
- Secondly, the price of such steps is much lower that of solid or monolithic ones, which will be described below.
- Thirdly, horizontal elements can be placed under a small angle of inclination, so that the water doesn’t accumulate in the corners (which, leaking inside, can cause a devastating impact over time).
- Fourthly, using the small plate blanks, you can choose any picture or pattern for the whole stairs, combining different options in accordance with your preferences (or you can entrust it to the professional).
Overhead tiles can either consist of one stone type or include extraneous elements – for example, the step can include a strip of metal or other stone. It is usually provided with a slip-resistant surface, which is especially relevant in winter. In this, strips blend in with the texture of material and don’t spoil its appearance. The resulting step is called multi-texture.
Solid steps are characterized by incredible durability; using them, you can be sure that the stone won’t crack (and its surface will never fade). The production of such is a very hard and expensive work; using special equipment, you can build up to two-three pieces from a great rock. They can be mounted on the reinforced concrete basis, preferably with reinforcing cage. Before mounting the steps, you must execute all the necessary calculations to check whether the construction will withstand their great weight.
Stairs with so-called “monolithic steps”, made to order from granite blocks, are less commonly used. The result is a product in a “wildlife” style – with uneven, asymmetric edges and open rock layers. With the right processing, monolithic steps look quite impressive, even though it will cost you a lot of money.