Installing steps and counter-steps Find out everything you need to know
Installing steps requires attention and handiness, but we're here to help you out. Inside the house, steps can be polished (sleek) and thus have a low level of adherence, but outside, they should be skid-proof, especially if we are talking about public projects where Romanian legislation requires anti-skid stairs. The recommended stone finishes in these situations are: flamed, honed and brushed.
Installing: before anything else, take all the necessary measurements using a measuring tape. A step’s length determines the number or pieces or slabs of natural stone needed and the size of the last piece that completes the others. In order to find out the number of counter-steps, you’ll have to measure the height of the staircase, from top to bottom using a level. The number of counter-steps results from the height of the stairs divided by the width of the counter-steps.
Steps are installed onto a screed on which you apply adhesive or simply onto the adhesive. It is recommended that you use only adhesive if you know that the surface is made out of high quality concrete. If it is not even, the steps can crack in time. These cases of perfectly poured concrete are quite rare.
The adhesive is spread onto the concrete and then the wet screed is laid. The step is firstly hammered “cold” using a rubber hammer to check if the fit is right. If the size is right, the step is taken out, coated with adhesive and hammered back in place. Use a level to determine if the slab is perfectly horizontal. The process is repeated for every step. Start with the top step.
Mix&match: The aesthetics of natural stone steps (marble, travertine, granite and limestone) are fairly simple. Steps and counter-steps can be mixed and matched depending on the materials used. Most of the time we use the same material or the same colors for both of them, but you can also go with a contrasting pair, whether similar colors, but different shades or totally opposite nuances for bolder interior design concepts. The rest of the decor should match the materials you decide to use for the steps and counter-steps.
A special solution is applied for protection, after sealing. You can do a simple test. Pour water onto the stone: if the water infiltrates, the solution is not a quality one and you should use a different one. Sealing is highly important. The durability of the steps depends on it.
Range of products that can be used for cladding steps:
PIATRAONLINE offers a wide range of natural stone destined for step-cladding. And our travertine, marble, granite and slate come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Moreover, we can help you with different profiles: bull nose, half bull nose or polished bevel edge. Our step pieces come in standard sizes or can be custom cut to meet your project’s requirements, following your own stencil. For better results, our specialized team can be dispatched at your location and execute the stencil with precision. It is recommended that the person measuring be also the one that installs the steps.
Finally, keep in mind these pieces of advice:
1. Always check the quality and aspect of the concrete on which the steps are installed. You may need to remove some of it or use leveling screed.
2. Damp and clean the pieces of stone before applying adhesive.
3. Do the “water test” on the first step to check the quality of the sealant. If water infiltrates, use a different one. We recommend a professional product such as LTP Mattstone / LTP Color Intensifier – for honed, brushed or flamed surfaces and LTP MPG or LTP Mattstone H20 for polished surfaces – see the entire range here.
4. The person that installs the steps should be the one also making the measurements to avoid misunderstandings that can lead to buying more stone or buying too much, which can delay the project.