Staircase design – the masterpiece of a house
Stairs are essential elements in our daily life, a living pretty much impossible without such architectural elements. Wheter designed for interior or for exterior and produced from many different materials such as: stone, wood, glass, metal, concrete, displaying a classical or modern style and having a common or authentic unique design, stairs are a significant element of our existence, being more than a simple element for connecting two floors.
In terms of practicality, you will find stairs everywhere. Apartment buildings usually have concrete stairs, with service stairs (to be used in case of fire) made of metal; the interior service stairs are typically from concrete. As a combination of splendor and history, ancient buildings have exterior staircases from light color marble, wide and inviting, while modern offices, with their large windows and operating on several floors, focused on glass staircases, for allowing light to penetrate the most hidden corners. Lately the wooden stairs are more popular, in historical sites where we find them next to stone stairs, but also in private villas, as interior staircases for residents use.
Depending on functionality, stairs will have a simple design, derived from the concept of useful and practical work (staircases, fire stairs, industrial stairs) or a modern, bold design, with criss-cross and unique curling (interior stairs for offices, stairs for luxury residential projects). Basically you can have many different models of stairs, yet the design will depend on function. Exterior stairs are made of materials durable to environmental factors, usually concrete, stone, wood and metal.
Prior to implementing any specific project, you will need a feasibility study for establishing the capacity of project and calculating the report between investment cost and prospect of profit. The study is conducted by an architecture office the results should include, at least:
- Technical drawings in PDF and DWG format
- 3D Images
- Project for the feasibility study
- Implementation offer for stairs project
- Alternative solutions for studies with negative results
As soon as the function of the stairs is established, the materials have been selected and feasibility study was approved and implemented, we continue with materials acquisition. Usually the stair structure is made of concrete, to be later cladded with natural stone / wood. The classic stairs are frequently made of wood, no need for a solid structure. Wooden stairs, classical or modern, have the advantage of being available in different models by custom processing of surfaces (including those below the stage), considering wood a softer, easier to process material. More popular for interior, wooden stairs have the advantage of being lighter in terms of both weight and installation.
These stairs convey a feeling of intimacy, wood vibration is intense and soothing, with excellent results in low traffic (perhaps medium traffic) areas, yet will not comply for situations in which extensive durability is needed. For heavy traffic areas subjected to environmental factors, descending into the sea from high cliffs or in case you want to convey splendor, the most suitable solutions are stone stairways. A natural stone staircase withstands better under vibration and heavy use conditions.
Stone stairs installed in the exterior have concrete structure and eventually brick. Such a structure needs to be built in advance, as an element compliant with general project. As soon as the structure is ready, the next stage is cladding, having tiles with similar size compared to the concrete step, by cutting from the slab directly to required dimensions or using smaller tiles, such as floor cladding technology.
Installing tiles cut from the slab should follow these steps:
- Accurately measure tile size and cut slab with a circular saw blade, provided with diamond and abrasive discs for natural stone and a cutting table, if needed.
- Check the smoothness of underlay with a spirit level and level it, if needed.
- Check smoothness of cut tile; it should be uniform over the entire surface, so that stair is right. If not, install 4 self-tapping screws at a small distance (1 cm) from each tile corner, directly into the mortar of the granite staircase. Place tile above, adjusting height with a screw driver and having a spirit level for checking smoothness.
- Edge processing with an angle grinder with abrasive disks.
- Measure and mark the place of the stone stair over the concrete surface, applying adhesive (mortar) on the underlay but also over tile surface, lay tile over concrete stair and bind it to it. Use flexible glue, if needed.
- Always check smoothness with spirit level.
- Install the riser by following the same procedure. If stair is longer and exceeds the length and width of the concrete step, you should install first the stone stairs, then the risers. If this does not happen and the two are at a right angle, you can install riser first.
Selecting the stone needs to consider several factors, such as the function of staircase, durability against environmental factors, traffic conditions, weight, price. Choosing stairs for the staircase is important because most staircases will fail in time by breaking edges, due to poor thickness. The lifetime of your staircase usually depends on the installation procedure, therefore a faulty installation, without observing the technology, will result in stair damage. Granite stairs (granite stairs) are the most durable, with excellent behavior in outdoor environment and high-traffic areas. Marble stairs (marble stairs) are very popular for medium to high traffic and elegant spaces, both exterior and interior.
Marble convey a particular class, therefore being preferred for interior and exterior stairs in buildings and hundred year old large palaces. It can be also used for luxury villa claddings. Limestone stairs (stairs limestone) are used both in interior and interior areas, with low or medium traffic. Travertine stairs (travertine stairs) are used in indoor and outdoor areas, with low or medium traffic. Because of their color and texture, travertine stairs have a special beauty, conveying an archaic or rustic durability with exquisite accents (travertine stairs 2).
Stairs can be also cladded (using the classical technology applied for flooring and cladding) and with tiles smaller compared to those directly cut from the slab. Used slate tiles for these claddings (French pattern slate stairs) which end up very beautiful and besides have an excellent durability to environmental factors. Slate stairs are installed in areas with medium and large traffic. There are also used granite tiles (granite tile stairs), but those of marble and travertine (stairs with travertine tiles) are common. A flexible adhesive is used for installing stairs made up of tiles. Risers are usually selected from similar materials and installed with the same technologies. However, there are used different textures, considering the fact that stairs and risers have not the same level of usage. Because stairs should have a higher friction coefficient, just to avoid slipping, it is recommended to have them honed or flamed finish, while using a polished finish for risers with the benefit of easier aftercare.
New trends also promote the use of different materials for the stair and is riser, terrazzo being a solution for riser, bringing a cheerful note to staircases and besides it requires low aftercare. Different types of terrazzo mix pattern (riser mixed terrazzo) are made from vivid colors and by mixing models you will convey freshness into your claddings. For more balanced cladding projects, you can use a terrazzo with classic geometric patterns (terrazzo risers).
For interior decoration projects, stone stairs can have a spectacular design that will not involve a concrete or brick support. These can be installed on a metal stand by gripping or embedded into the stand. Depending on traffic, you should have 1-3 cm tiles with variable thickness.
Edge processing is essential
There are many natural stones available for your exterior staircases. A concrete structure is required but there are project with stairs cut into the stone block or processed directly on its surface. If you have a concrete structure, stairs can be made from granite, slate, marble, travertine but also from decorative stone (polygonal slate stairs). This is installed with a flexible adhesive (adhesives) and a grout (joint grout) for joints over 5-6 cm.
Based on the stone used and the expected traffic, stairs will have to be sealed for an extended lifetime. This procedure includes:
- Cleaning with a professional detergent (detergents). If present, you should remove stains (detergent for post construction cleaning) (detergent for grease stains) (paint stripper)
- Sealing with an impregnating sealer, following the stone finish. For polished finish use specific impregnating sealers (MPG sealer), (sealing agent Stone Oil) and for those with honed finish, we recommend products from the LTP Mattstone range (sealing agent Mattstone H2O) (sealer Mattstone).
- Finish with surface sealing solution (Ironwax satin) (Clear Wax) or color enhancer (Colour Intensifier). Impreganting sealing is necessary for stairs and sealing is enough for risers.
- Aftercare: incudes dust removal from stair surface (optimum with a vacuum cleaner), followed by washing it with a neutral detergent (neutral detergent). For aftercare, use professional solutions (detergent for honed surfaces) (liquid soap).
By #generatinginspiration, PIATRAONLINE delivers a wide range of integrated solutions for its customers, focused on projects with stairs. Stairs and risers from granite, marble, travertine, limestone (limestone stairs), adhesives, grouts, cleaning, sealing and aftercare solutions, available in a single package so that you personally control the entire order. As a result, all products are compatible and besides, you have the advantage of a specific delivery term, hence an improved time management.
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