Beauty of modern balusters is quite diverse: the use of the latest technologies makes it easy to realize the fanciest and the most refined design. It is difficult to manufacture and install the marble balusters, but the result will exceed your wildest expectations. Marble is resistance to the impact of weather conditions and mechanical damage and make the stairs look luxury, which is why it is mainly used for outdoor structures.
Human imagination knows no limit: different materials are used for decorating the stairs. However, fancy wooden lace and intricate iron forging are paled by the greatness and monumentality of stone balusters, while marble models are especially beautiful.
Forms and types
Stone is seemingly difficult to process. However, the use of modern equipment allows you to reach the diversity. There are following types of marble balusters:
- They have angular, faceted shape, while the cross section has a polygonal shape.
- They are characterized by round shape and different distribution of thickenings.
- The lightest and the most elegant stone pillars, decorated with exquisite carving. Such work is carried out with special instruments and requires high professionalism.
Masters distinguish 12 shapes of marble balusters, but the most popular models are “classic” and “drop”. The former are characterized by thickening in the middle part of the rack, while the latter smoothly extend downwards.
Marble balusters can be processed in many different ways: polishing, burnishing and even artificial aging. After that, they look very effective, but also cost much more.
Manufacture and installation
Manufacture and installation of such heavy elements requires careful calculations. Both the diameter of all parts of column and its proportion to the railings and anchorages should be carefully calculated. Comparative characteristics of balusters are given in the table below.
When planning the design of marble balusters, you should consider the critical values: the ratio of baluster height to the width of all elements must not exceed certain values.
Stone processing is a laborious process. Therefore, marble blanks are made with the help of certain equipment: as a rule, bridge milling machines with CNC (computer numerical control) or manual profile machines are used for this purpose. To grind the rack of the necessary shape, you should perform its drawing in the graphic computer program and convert it into the numerical coding that the machine can read.
Before installing the balusters, you should carefully measure the stairs and mark the attachment sites. In this, you should observe the following rules:
- Maximum allowable distance between the rack centers is 15 cm.
- Gap between the elements of adjacent supports must not exceed 11 cm.
- Foundations of pillars should either coincide with the outer edge of steps or be slightly below: projection beyond the railing borders is inacceptable.
Marble railings are mounted on the pre-fortified stone boards (which are cemented to increase the strength of structure). The racks are fastened on the metal fittings or cylindrical pins with a diameter of at least 1.5 cm.
Alternative to marble
Elegance and luxury of marble racks are obvious. Their only disadvantage is high price and trouble finding the material. Those who wish to decorate their houses with noble natural material should pay attention to the balusters from stone of other species.
- Granite is strong and very beautiful stone. It is resistant to moisture, low temperatures and contamination. But most importantly, granite balusters are characterized by the diversity of shades – from pale gray to bluish-green.
- Sandstone is easy to process. It is characterized by dense velvety surface and warm color scheme and matches well with other types of stone.
- Artificial stone can be a good and more economical substitute for natural materials. Its main advantage are wide opportunities for variations: balusters made of artificial stone can remind of marble, travertine, granite or sandstone racks.
Modern artificial stone for the balusters is made of different types of colored concrete, natural sand or gravel with addition of coloring agents. High-strength fiberglass is used for the reinforcement of mixtures.
Beauty and cheap: plaster as a worthy replacement
Natural stone can be a real zest of design: granite, marble or sandstone balusters serve as a worthy decoration of the stairs. However, if you can’t afford the baluster from the artificial stone, it makes sense to take a closer look at the low-cost modern materials, among which plaster deserves special attention.
First of all, we should note its lightness and ecological compatibility. Besides, it is easy to work with, and not subject to deformation and simple to paint, which makes it possible to imitate any expensive materials, while plaster balusters are light and easy to install. The only disadvantage of such baluster is relative fragility: without proper treatment, the support can start to break down in 1-2 years. However, due to the low price of material, manufacture and reinstallation of pillar is quite cheap – for example, replacement of granite baluster costs 5 times more.
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