There are various means of vertical transportation in a building, amongst which, the stair is a special kind of construction design, used for bridging a large vertical gap between two levels. It is constructed by dividing the gap into smaller vertical fragments. Traditionally, stairs are constructed mostly from woods, stones, and metals. Nowadays, apart from the traditional materials, RCC and fibers have grabbed a significant hold in market as the innovative and modern materials in the construction of stairs.
In the modern residential construction, along with an arrival of new materials, there is an arrival of innovative technologies with the added advantages. Despite this dynamic availability, people still maintain a unique fascination for using different varieties of stones for making stairs, such as natural stone veneers, natural stone step pavers, etc. to enhance the natural beauty of stairs, and impress the eyes of the viewers. Stone stairs are still in demand, they are cherished possessions like neighbors’ envy, owners’ pride.
Today, we are here to introduce you to the stone stairs, its types, finishes, along with the detailed advantages and disadvantages of each stone category. So, let us start with different types of stones used for the construction of stone stairs.
Types of Stones Used For Stone Stairs
Different types of stones are used in masonry, depending upon its local availability, budget, and frequency of use, and maintenance demand. Narrowing our study to stone stairs let us first list the most common stones used for stone stairs. You will find 4 types of stones in this list:
01. Metamorphic Stone
02. Sedimentary Stone
03. Igneous Stone, and
04. Artificial StoneLet us begin with the basic introduction of these types of stones, and take a look at how they are used for the construction of stone stairs.
01. Metamorphic Stone:
A metamorphic stone originates from a lengthy process of natural change from one type of stone to a different kind of stone through a mixture of heat, pressure, and minerals. The difference in a stone can be a texture change or change in color. The best examples of metamorphic stones used for making of the stone stairs are:
b) SlateLet us have a look at each of these stones in brief.
a) Marble Stairs and their Components
Marble is a crystalline carbonate rock that can accept any polish. It is a versatile, elegant, durable type of natural stone. Marble is mostly used in residential buildings, as it combines well with ceramic and wood. Marble stair treads are primarily utilized in residences due to their properties, as stated above. Marble flooring can be slippery, if it comes in contact with water.
b) Slate Stairs and their Components
Slate is a fine-grained homogeneous metamorphic rock. Slate tiles are mostly useful for interior flooring as well as for making stairs and wall cladding, as it is available in wide ranges of textures and colors. Slate is energy-efficient, fire-resistant, but brittle and absorbs moisture. As a result, people prefer to utilize slate stair treads in the interior of the house only.
02. Sedimentary Stone:
A sedimentary stone comes from organic elements like rivers, winds, glaciers, plants, and oceans. The best examples of sedimentary stones used for the creation of the stone stairs are:
a) Limestone Stairs
b) Sandstone Stairs
c) Travertine StairsLet us have a look at each of these stones in brief.
a) Limestone Stairs and their Components
Limestone is one of the most commonly used stones in construction. Limestone is often cut into blocks or slabs as per the size needed, and then these blocks/slabs are used as a stair tread. The main reason behind the abundant use of limestone stair treads is, they are strong and durable by nature. They have a natural and elegant look and are low in maintenance.
b) Sandstone Stairs and their Components
Sandstone is widely used all over the world as a common construction material. Sandstones are easy to work with, as they are relatively soft by nature. The main reason behind the use of sandstone stairs in the interior of residence is that they are non-slippery, available in a various range of colors, and low in maintenance.
c) Travertine Stairs and their Components
Travertine stone is one of the most frequently used stones in modern architecture. It is a type of natural stone falling under the category of limestone. It can be polished to a smooth and shiny finish, and is available in a wider range of colors ranging from grey to coral red.
03. Igneous Stone:
An igneous stone mainly forms through volcanic materials like magma. The best examples of igneous stones used for making of the stone stairs are:
a) Granite Stairs
b) Basalt StairsLet us have a look at each of these stones in brief.
a) Granite Stairs and their Components
Granite is one of the most versatile and frequently used types of natural stone. Granite is hard, durable, long-lasting, bacteria, and stain-resistant, and easy to maintain. They are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. We can thus use the granite stone as the stair treads. If you want to know more about the basic things regarding granite stone, have a glance at one of our articles
After knowing the basic things, if you are interested to know more about properties of granite stone, you can also read:
b) Basalt Stairs and their Components
Basalt is a dark-colored, fine-grained stone. One can utilize basalt in the tread of the stairs by cutting basalt into dimension as per the required size and shape.
04. Artificial Stone:
An Artificial Stone is produced by mixing marble powder, resin, and pigment, and then casting to form a block. For the final output of slabs, slabs are supposed to pass through different treatments, e.g., cutting, calibration, grinding, and polishing. The best example of artificial stone used for the creation of the stone stairs is:
a) Terrazzo Stairs and their Components
Terrazzo is a type of stone that offers an ability to make any concept to reality. Terrazzo provides limitless options in designing stair treads. Thus, it is famous for the terrazzo stair treads amongst all the components of stone stairs.
Now, let us discuss some major components of stone stairs.
Major Components of Stone Stairs – Stone Step
A staircase is made up of many parts. Let’s look at one of the most significant components of stone stairs i.e., Stone Step in brief, as stated in “The Textbook of Building Construction”.
01. Stone Step:
Stone Step mainly comprises of treads, risers, nosing, and stringers. There are 5 different types of stone steps generally used in residences. So, let us have a look at these unique stone steps from a close view.
a) Rectangular Stone Step
Rectangular Stone Steps are the steps in which the top back edge of one step supports the lower edge of the other.
b) Spandril Stone Step
Spandril Stone Steps are the types of stone steps in which the mason cuts the stone step to give a plain soffit.
c) Slab Tread and Riser Stone Step
Slab Tread and Riser Stone Step is the type of stone step in which the flagstone slab works as a tread and riser, similar to the timber step.
d) Cantilever Tread Slab as a Stone Step
Cantilever Tread slab is the type of stone step in which the step is formed by tread only without any riser.
c) Built-up Stone Step
Built-up Stone Step is a kind of stone step in which the tread and riser of each step are the thin slabs of stones.
For more information on different components of stairs, glance at our articles named:
Let us now discuss about various types of stone stairs.
Types of Stone Stairs
Looking at the application of stone stairs in residences, let us classify the stone stairs depending on three major categories:
Case 1: Types of stone stairs based on their layout
Case 2: Types of stone stairs based on the type of stone used
Case 3: Types of stone stairs based on on-going trends
So, let’s see all the above-stated cases individually.
Case 1: Types of stone stairs based on their layout
The design of the building can determine the layout of your stone staircase. Factors that are taken in count are the ceiling’s height, the shape, and size of the room or landings at the top and bottom. Thus, we can classify types of stone stairs based on their layout. So, let us have a quick look at the types of stone stairs based on their layout.
Let us now see some more types of stone stairs based on the types of stone used for the stone stairs.
Case 2: Types of stone stairs based on the type of stone used and the way of their arrangement
There are various uses of different stones depending on the local availability of same, counting the size, and the type of aesthetic feature. So, let’s have a look at types of stone stairs based on the type of stone used and the way of their arrangement.
Let us now see some more on-going trendy stone stairs.
Case 3: Types of stone stairs based on ongoing trends
Along with all the classic types of stone stairs, it is essential to know some ongoing trendy stone stairs with interesting designs that make a visually appealing view of the stone stairs. So, let us have a glance at such impressive, smart stylish design of stone stairs.
After selecting the appropriate type of stone stairs, now it’s the turn for selection of a type of stone finish.
Varieties of Stone Finishes Used in Stone Stairs
At the time of selecting the stone either for an interior or an external staircase, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the type of stone finish along with the color and size. Stone Finishes refers to the worked surface area of the stone. Stone Finishes vary with the variation in the type of stones. Here are the popular finishes generally used.
01. Brushed Stone
02. Flamed Stone
03. Honed Stone
04. Polished Stone
05. Leather Stone
06. Tumbled Stone
Let us check out these Stone Finishes with outline details.
01. Brushed Stone Finish:
The brushed Stone finish looks a bit worn out, built makes the surface non-slippery.
02. Flamed Stone Finish:
Flamed Stone Finish makes the stone porous and leaves a rough and textured surface. Therefore, only highly crystallized stones such as quartzite, granite, and limestone can get a flamed stone finish. It gives a rustic look without changing its color or inherent properties.
03. Honed Stone Finish:
Honed Stone finish creates a slip-resistant and even scratch-resistant surface. It yields a smooth texture ranging from dull matt to a satin shine.
04. Polished Stone Finish:
Polished Stone Finish gives a glossy, shining surface with highlighted colors and texture. Walking on them may turn challenging as it makes the surface quite slippery.
05. Leather Stone Finish:
Leather Stone Finish looks like a piece of leather with a textured and pebbly surface. Tiny pits and fissures on its surface give it a natural leather look.
06. Tumbled Stone Finish:
Tumbled Stone Finish provides aging effects and generates an antique look. Tumbled stones have a soft and smooth appearance.
Along with the stone, some other materials are even used for making of stone stairs. Here are the materials used along with the stone to make it more eye-catching for the viewer.
Variety of Materials Used Along with the Stone for Construction of the Stone Stairs
For the construction of stone stairs in different styles and making it more interesting, we can even use some other as follows:
03. RCC or Brick Masonry
We can use glass as a balustrade to make stone stairs look more elegant.
In the stone stairs, metal can be used for following purposes:
i. We can use metal components to provide structural strength to the stone stairs.
ii. One can utilize metals for balusters.
ii. Metals are used as the strings in the stairs to provide added support to the stairs.
03. RCC or Brick Masonry:
We can use a stone slab as a cladding material on stairs constructed with RCC or brick masonry.
You can even have a look at a basic guide to precast concrete stairs for incorporating it into your house.
Stone stairs can be made visually more traditional by accompanying it with a wooden baluster.
Before concluding the article, let us have a look at two-faced implications of stone stairs.
Advantages of Stone Stairs
The advantages of the Stone Stairs are interesting enough and they are narrated here for your quick view:
01. Stone stairs provide a bold statement of style and elegance to your house.
02. Stone stairs projects a “wow” factor to the visitors.
03. One can construct the stone stairs in various styles.
04. Stone stairs last longer if compared to wooden stairs.
05. Stone stairs are sound-proof and fire-proof.
06. Stone stairs are easier to clean and free of producing dirt and dust.
Disadvantages of Stone Stairs
Like the dark sides of a coin, there are some odds, which we may call disadvantages of the Stone Stairs. These are as follows:
01. People on the tight budget may find the stone stair construction plan quite expensive.
02. The stone is cold by nature. So, walking on a stone stair can give an unpleasant experience to the user especially during winter.
03. Stone is little slippery by nature. So proper sealing is mandatory if we are using stone stairs at our residence, especially when stairs can come directly in contact with water (in exterior).
04. Stone is very heavy in weight, so there are chances of cracks if subfloor flexes at all. So, for eradicating this defect, substantial reinforcement of subfloor is required, which is expensive.
05. The stone stair is difficult to maintain if compared to other stairs.
06. If stones are not available locally, it may become expensive.
07. Being natural, they often vary in color, shade and texture.
This is in brief about the stone stairs. We have seen a lot of stone styles used in different types of stairs, their major components, different types of stone stairs, various stone finishes; with a variety of materials other than stone for stone stairs; their advantages and disadvantages that can be used. It is essential to know that stone stairs demand intensive craftwork. Stone stairs can be installed at our homes but you have to consider all the factors mentioned here. .
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