Marble stairs have a timeless elegance, and are the centrepiece of many homes. Of course, with the range of choices available today, the white marble staircase that so many princesses have swept down in film and fact isn’t the only option. You could have a granite tile staircase, or a bright Silestone stair with the same durable and practical features that make marble such a hit. But if your stairs aren’t stone to start with, how can you convert them?
Stone tiles – the easy way to convert to stone stairs
Using marble tiles or thin slabs to cover existing stair treads and risers is the easiest and probably cheapest way to convert to stone stairs. By choosing your tiling carefully and hiring a professional to do the installation work, you can create an effective and attractive marble, granite or other stone staircase without major building work.
But what about the weight?
There are a number of issues to consider when deciding how to convert your stairs. The first and most important issue is weight. Even if you are replacing existing treads, the stone tiles or slabs will still weigh more than their wooden counterparts. It’s critically important that you make sure the staircase can safely support the extra weight. Remember to assess any supporting walls and beams as well. This is mainly an issue with wooden stairs – concrete stairs are better able to handle the additional weight.
Replacing the whole staircase
Particularly in cases where weight is an issue, replacing the whole staircase may be the better option. This also gives you more scope for making design and aesthetic choices. As an example, you can choose from traditional stairs or floating marble block stairs. These latter are secured into the wall at one side, eliminating much of the visual clutter of stairs. However, they do need a strong supporting wall and are best installed at the construction stage.
Do my banisters match?
A beautiful staircase can be seriously let down by poor banisters. If you’ve invested in converting your humdrum treads to marble, make sure your banisters are up to scratch. They don’t have to be carved from matching stone (although there’s a reason that look is so popular in palaces) but they should be well maintained and in a coordinating style.
Outdoor steps and stairs
Replacing outdoor steps with marble or limestone stairs is often easier as there are fewer surrounding walls and other features to consider. Stone slab steps in the garden need to be properly seated to avoid subsidence, tilting or cracking. Short flights of external stairs (such as up to the front door) can easily be replaced with stone on a concrete base, and are often very effective. Improving the kerbside appeal of a property can have a disproportionate affect on the sale price and also make it a joy to come home. Longer flights of external stairs (such as to an upper floor apartment) are ideal candidates for being converted to stone even delicate stones like marble are very weather resistant and require minimal upkeep.