At The Stonemasonry Company Limited we never want to miss an opportunity to take on a project that is a little bit different, and for us our work at Walton was just that. The renovation, consolidation and partial replacement of this 3 flight stone staircase is not usually the type of work we undertake, with the majority of our work being on brand new staircases.
This type of work comes with a completely new set of challenges that our teams don’t usually encounter, for our design team this included having to take into account considerably more constraints than normal, and for our manufacturing and installation teams this meant having to pay much closer attention to continuity, usually our teams are installing steps that have all been manufactured at the same time, from stone sourced at the same time and from the same quarry, or even the same section of the quarry, whereas here our teams were combining original and new materials together whilst trying to achieve a seamless finish.
In terms of the design constraints, usually we have more flexibility as the staircase layout can be adjusted or changed depending on other design factors, but in this case we had to stay within the confines of the existing layout, drawing what was existing and finding creative ways to factor in the repair and replacement of stone and any fortifications that were required.
In addition we had to consider that the curtail step on the 1stFlight was different to the 2nd and 3rd flights. The curtail step (or Drum) on the 1st Flight (the first step of the entire staircase) needed to be much smaller due to the access point/walkway that was so close (as per the picture below).
As always we had to consider that the moulding of the curtail steps on flights 2 and 3, and the last steps of all of the flights, had to align perfectly with the landing apron (as seen below) all without altering the existing layout of the staircase or changing the existing thin landings and seamlessly matching the existing and the new.
Although in itself this type of apron design is not unusual for our team what makes this of particular note on this staircase is when this consideration is coupled with the fact that the first step of each flight, where the staircase springs from, is at the smaller end of this unique teardrop stairwell. This meant that not only did the first step need to be designed and shaped to match the apron, but the moulding of the next 2-3 steps also needed to be designed to match this unusual curve, mimicking it and thus not hindering the overall impact of the shape.
This layout, and the features of the steps, coupled with a small going on the winder steps, left limited space on the steps to accept the spindles this was a design challenge that our team had to overcome to ensure a safe, comfortable staircase, whilst ensuring that installation and repair was still practical, all the while making sure the staircase remaining aesthetically pleasing.
For our masons there was even more work to be done with the repointing and fortification of all of the joints and crossets, along with the partial replacement of an estimated 50% of the steps, as well we repairing landing cracks.
All of this work had to be fully designed and coordinated to ensure colour continuity to ultimately create a unified piece. The staircase was then sanded, sealed and finished, ready to be handed over to our clients.
Whilst this is not the type of work that The Stonemasonry Company Limited usually undertakes, the preservation of the original design features and the challenges that that presented gave our team an opportunity to hone their existing skills, resulting in a unique and striking stone staircase.