Choosing Stone for Staircases

Among the many materials that can be used to create staircases, stone ranks among the top. Natural stone can create a number of different looks for stairs, whether you create the entire staircase from stone or just the treads.

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There are basically three areas within a staircase or stairwell where natural stone can be used: The tread or horizontal surface used for standing, the riser, which supports the tread vertically, and the exterior portion or stringers. Stone can be used in one or all of these areas, although most common is the use of stone slabs on the stair treads themselves. These can be combined with wood stringers and risers to complete various looks, used as floating stairs, or combined with more stone for a completely different look.

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Stone makes an excellent material for use on stairs because of its durability. Stone won’t wear out the way that carpeting will, and it isn’t likely to patina or show damage like wood. And while some people may be concerned that stone is slippery, the many pores that make up the surface of a slab of stone give it a lot of traction. In addition, the sealant used to protect the stone is also a slip deterrent, which will further add grip to the treads.

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Just as natural stone can be used to create several different styles from traditional to contemporary in other parts of the home, it can have the same effect on stairs. Using a honed travertine or limestone over the entire stairway is going to produce a very different appearance than a set of floating Bianco Venetino risers will.

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With the ability of natural stone to take on so many different shapes and edge profiles, using stone stairways provides infinite possibilities in style, while also providing a durable, long-lasting surface. If stone is being installed on the landings nearby, consider extending it through the stairwell and make an impressive statement.

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