4 Benefits of using Solid Stone instead of Concrete

At The Stonemasonry Company Limited we are very proud of the fact that we only use Solid Stone in all of our pieces. On occasion we are asked to produce something in reconstituted stone or to clad a concrete staircase, and whilst these are possible solutions we feel that there are numerous benefits to using solid natural stone. 

 The following are just some of the reasons that we think that Solid Natural Stone Staircases are a great option for our clients.

 1. Natural Stone Staircases are easier to Install than Concrete staircases clad in stone. 

This is due in large part to the fact that pre-cast concrete staircases come to site in one piece so there is less flexibility, as access has to be generous. Whereas our stone staircases are delivered on pallets containing 1 or 2 steps, which are installed one by one. In addition, if concrete is poured directly in place on site, it can be a messy and logistically complicated procedure. Whilst this might not be an issue if the staircase is installed early in the construction process this limits the ability to install a concrete staircase once site works are further along. Although our masonry work can produce dust, the control measures that can be put in place to minimise the dust are easier to implement than anything that can be put in place to minimise the impact of concrete pouring, meaning that a solid stone staircase can be fitted much later on in a projects construction, or even retrofitted in a completed property. 

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2. Natural Stone is more environmentally friendly than concrete. 

Our simplified supply chain, along with the more straightforward manufacturing process are the main reasons for this, as demonstrated in the below illustrations. There are less transportation stages involved, our material is extracted from the ground and then hand shaped without the need for large scale machinery and additional materials. In addition the moulds that need to be manufactured for concrete to be cast into requires the use of timber and steel that can usually not be re-used. 

Concrete Supply Chain

Concrete Supply Chain

Stone Supply Chain

Stone Supply Chain

3. The project management is more straightforward for our clients. 

Because at The Stonemasonry Company Limited we complete all of the work ourselves, including the engineering of the staircase, the rebating of pockets or manufacture of a steel stringer, as well as design, supply and manufacture of the staircase and even of the balustrading if requested, meaning that there are not multiple subcontractors to co-ordinate. Whereas, usually, to have a stone clade concrete staircase would require utilising a concrete provider for the main structure, a mason for the supply, manufacture and installation of the stone cladding, as well as a separate balustrade supplier, this can impact both accuracy as well as project progression.

With a solid natural stone staircase, as all of the elements are provided by the same single point of contact, there are never any conflicts when it comes to after care, as it is always clear whose responsibility it is to return to site to assist with any issues. From a project management point of view, having a single point of contact for the full design and manufacturing process makes things much more straightforward for our clients. Lastly, the decision to procure a stone clad concrete stone staircase needs to be made much earlier in the project process in order for the design and multiple trades to be co-ordinated, which makes the solution less flexible than the solid stone alternative.

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4. A concrete clad concrete solution will never be as slim as is possible with natural stone.

From the perspective of design aesthetics there are fewer joints on a solid stone structure compared to a stone clad concrete structure, making the staircase more of a monolithic type structure in appearance. Finally there are endless possibilities in terms of soffit design when using natural stone, whereas in the case of a concrete structure the underside of the staircase is often plastered, which leaves little room for variations in style and this also adds further thickness to the staircase structure. All of this can be seen in the following illustration-

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Solid stone has stood the test of time, and it is this longevity, durability and sustainability that makes the use of solid stone a natural choice. We feel that the variety of staircases that can be produced in natural stone, including Floating and Post Tensioned Solid Stone Staircases, as well as more traditional Cantilever Stone Staircases, as can be seen from our portfolio- (https://www.thestonemasonrycompany.co.uk/work-1). We hope you enjoyed this read and found it informative but if you would ever like to know anything more about the possibilities with natural stone don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Emma Garner