Even in ancient times, rich people tried to surround themselves with luxurious products made of rich materials. That’s when it became fashionable to use the stone front stairs in the interior. Natural stone plays an important role in modern design. Today, marble and granite are used as the main facing material for the stairs. The popularity of this material is easily explained by the fact that such steps are durable, strong, and resistant to adverse environmental conditions.
What are monolithic steps?
Monolithic steps are the steps made of stone blocks. They are characterized by monolithic structure (which means that they are ready for installation). They are mainly used in street buildings, so it is logical that only hard rock, characterized by high strength and frost resistance, is used in their production. In addition, products made of such materials almost don’t wear off. Therefore, you can often see them in public places with a huge flow of people. These can be shopping centers, entertainment venues, office premises, public institutions, theaters, metros, etc. Moreover, stairs with the hard rock steps are recommended for use in the areas with severe climatic conditions.
Monolithic steps can have different surfaces. Everything depends on the treatment. They can be shiny like a mirror, sawn or polished. To make the polished steps anti-slip, they should be heat-treated.
As for the ends of steps, they are usually made of the same material as a tread. However, they can have a different texture. For example, polished ends are often made in combination with the heat-treated tread, or vice versa. Aesthetically, the combination of textures looks very beautiful and chic. Steps can’t be made without ends, since the latter protect the steps from chips. Besides, such products look complete.
Types and features of monolithic steps
There are three types of monolithic steps:
- Straight steps represent the most common, cheap, and simple option. If such steps are used for building a wide staircase, they are usually made in different lengths. The necessary step length is determined directly on the construction site, and the excess is cut off. Such approach allows to reduce the cost of the staircase without sacrificing its appearance and operational characteristics.
- Curved steps from linear segments. A distinctive feature of such steps is their versatility. If there is a large rounding of the stairs, using this approach is very beneficial from an economic point of view. The production of straight segments is cheap, and due to the large rounding, the edges will be almost invisible.
- Curved steps made of radial segments. The main feature of this type of stone step is the smoothness of lines. There is a smooth rounding along the entire product. The price of such steps is much higher than the cost of those made of linear parts; however, they look better if the staircase has a small radius. Such staircases will look monolithic with a minimum number of butt joints.
The basis of steps made of natural stone can have a standard size. It is made according to the individual dimensions indicated by the customer. They are also used in the design of treads and risers. Steps made of granite and marble facing slabs made are used for finishing any stairs inside and outside the premises.
If the flight of stairs is constructed from overhead steps made of natural stone, its width should correspond to the staircase. The presence of butt joints is unacceptable. Monolithic steps look original due to the combination of different textures and colors.
Experts who work daily on the manufacturing of the steps are well aware of the main characteristics of stone and know the features of working with it. Therefore, they can easily make the stone steps according to the individual sizes indicated by the customer, taking into account all your wishes regarding the shape and texture of the finished product.
Monolithic steps made of natural stone are quite heavy, so only the professionals should install them using special equipment. It is important that the basis of the steps is geometrically correct and reliable.
There are several methods to prevent the steps of stone stairs from slipping.
Most often, it is recommended to use anti-slip surface treatment of the step, in which the entire step is processed from the front side. This method of slipping prevention is the most reliable.
The second most popular method is heat treatment of the polished surface in the form of rough strips. The width of 5 cm is considered standard. These strips are made to order, while their width and quantity are discussed with the customer.
Another method is making cuts on the entire polished tread surface (the cuts must be parallel). According to the standard, they make three cuts (5 mm wide and deep) at intervals of 3 cm. Depending on the client’s wishes, these parameters may be different.
The simplest and the cheapest method is to attach an abrasive tape. It should be fixed to the steps when the staircase is already mounted.
Parameters of the steps
It is unlikely that you will find two objects with the same steps. Therefore, it is difficult to talk about some general parameters. Steps are usually made to order. Their minimum width is 300 mm, and the maximum is 2000 mm. The thickness of the step itself varies from 100 to 200 mm, and the length of the seamless step doesn’t exceed 3000 mm.
As for the weight of the ready-made step, we should note that this is a very heavy product. Its weight depends on the size and type of stone. So, for example, a linear meter of a 320-mm wide and 200-mm thick granite step weighs 180 kg.
Stone cutting machines are used in the production of the stone steps. They allow cutting the product of the desired size and texture out of blocks. Finished products are carefully packed. They are folded one by one, and pieces of wood are put between them. Folded stacks of steps must be tied with wire.
Installation of the ready-made steps
The process of installation of the solid steps is very difficult, because they’re very heavy. Therefore, the basis for the future staircase must be very reliable and have the correct geometric shape. You won’t cope with the installation on your own. However, the professional teams will perform this task quickly and efficiently.
Benefits and drawbacks of the steps made of natural material
Of course, any product made of natural material has both positive and negative sides. As for monolithic steps made of marble or granite, they have more advantages than disadvantages. This cannot but please the person who decided to make a staircase from marble or granite.
Monolithic granite steps (both marble and granite) are very thick. This feature makes them durable (they can serve for almost 500 years) and quite resistant to impacts and changes in climatic conditions. They aren’t afraid of severe frost and hot summer.
Despite the fact that such devices are expensive, their quality pays for itself. Such steps can be reused (repeatedly). This ability is due to the fact that they almost don’t wear off during the use and are difficult to damage even during dismantling. Dismantled steps are cleaned, renewed, and given the desired texture, and then polished or heat treated.
Stairs made of such steps look monumental. Therefore, they are used for the creation of majestic monuments. They decorate the embankments and fountains in the squares. They are used in the shopping and entertainment centers. We also use the natural stone steps to climb to the historical memorials.
In addition to the above, stone steps can have different colors and textures. After all, nature doesn’t create identical stone blocks. Every stone is unique.
All these clear advantages surpass a single disadvantage, which is that such stone products are very heavy. Their weight becomes a problem during loading, transportation, and installation of products. On the other hand, it ensures that your staircase will be strong and durable.