stairs, staircases and railings from stone

Opinion: Stone for indoor and outdoor stairs


One of the most favored natural stone types for crafting staircases is granite. It boasts superior hardness, low absorbency, and exceptional resistance to wear compared to various other stones. Robust and enduring granite stairs are indispensable in high-traffic public areas where constant abrasion and wear are common. Granite surfaces naturally offer better traction, making stairs safer to traverse. Granite staircases promise both practicality and longevity.


Granite can exhibit stunning colors and patterns, but premium granite stairs will come at a considerably higher cost compared to those fashioned from standard, usual granite hues. Since the exotic aesthetics of granite does not impact its quality and durability, there's no cause for concern if opting for the more budget-friendly option. Instead, the durability of granite is primarily determined by its shade intensity. Darker granite shades tend to be harder, while lighter ones are softer. Thus, standard dark-toned granite stairs will perform just as well as dark ones featuring an impressive exotic pattern.


For upscale staircases, quartzite presents itself as a viable choice. Its hardness, durability, and resilience are on par with granite. However, while quartzite, like granite, can withstand outdoor conditions, opting for quartzite for outdoor stairs is a luxury. The patterns of quartzite are striking, but so is the price tag. Therefore, a considerable budget is necessary for such staircases. A far more economical alternative is stairs crafted from unassuming black or gray basalt. Basalt stairs, like granite ones, boast longevity, resilience to temperature fluctuations, and crucially, slip resistance, as basalt inherently offers a non-slip surface. The surfaces of other natural stones can be rendered non-slip through specialized treatments.


One of the most sought-after materials for indoor staircases is marble. Despite being twice as soft and fragile than granite, its allure becomes apparent when admiring its elegant classical patterns. Marble staircases in homes represent an exceptional luxury detail, demanding meticulous care and attention. Marble stairs require much more maintenance compared to granite ones. Walking on marble steps is better done while wearing soft slippers, and immediate cleaning is essential if any liquids are spilled. Marble is particularly sensitive to acids, which can corrode its calcareous particles. A drop of vinegar or a crushed berry on marble steps can alter the stone's color, resulting in unsightly stains.


In Northern climates, using marble outdoors is not recommended, as it is less resilient to extreme weather conditions than granite, and exposure to air pollution and acidic rainfall can mar its surface. To enhance the resistance of marble stairs and reduce the likelihood of staining, impregnation is necessary. Fortunately, impregnating stairs is a simple process. All you need to do is purchase a stone impregnator, apply it to the steps, risers, sides, and other components of the stairs, and allow it to dry. The impregnator will penetrate the stone's pores, creating a barrier that prevents liquids from seeping in. This makes the stone non-absorbent. Over time, the impregnator will naturally wear off, requiring the procedure to be repeated. Stone stairs can be professionally impregnated, restored, and cleaned by stone care specialists.


Luxurious onyx stairs share similar properties with marble, but they are even more delicate and softer than marble stairs. Onyx stairs are relatively rare and are typically found in upscale environments. While their visual appeal is remarkable, opting for onyx stairs might be less practical if they'll be subjected to regular foot traffic rather than being purely decorative. Nonetheless, with proper care, even onyx stairs can maintain their flawless appearance. Additionally, lighting can be installed beneath the onyx steps, illuminating the entire staircase when turned on, creating a magical effect due to the stone's translucency.


Two more types of stone commonly used for both indoor and outdoor stairs in southern regions are travertine and sandstone. These stones exhibit varying degrees of hardness and porosity, with their characteristics greatly influenced by their geographical origin. Similar to basalt, the surfaces of travertine and sandstone are naturally slip-resistant and impart a warm aesthetic. While travertine and sandstone can be confidently employed for stairs in warmer climates, their suitability in northern countries may be limited. These stones are more prone to the effects of weather and temperature fluctuations when compared to granite or basalt.


A great alternative to natural stone stairs is stairs made of artificial stone. These stairs do not require impregnation, making them easy to clean and maintain even in high-traffic areas. Steps covered with sintered stone (also known as ultra-compact surface), engineered quartz, ceramic and porcelain will be much lighter than those made of natural stone due to the thinner profile of artificial stone slabs. This not only saves on transportation and installation costs but also preserves a few centimeters of space. The thinness and lightness of artificial stone steps make them particularly suitable for multi-story buildings and easy to install in small rooms. Additionally, you can find pre-made ceramic steps with anti-slip grooves, elegantly rounded edges, and risers (see photos).


The most durable and least absorbent artificial stone material, capable of enduring heavy traffic in public spaces, is sintered stone. Steps can be clad with 6 mm thick strips of sintered stone. Sintered stone is also suitable for outdoor applications, as it resists temperature and humidity changes. All varieties of artificial stone are non-porous, preventing liquids from seeping into steps, thus facilitating easy cleaning. High-quality artificial stone steps closely resemble real stone stairs, offering a lighter-weight and often more economical alternative.

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