Marble Stairs Detail; The Shadow Line

Select the suitable stairs finish is a hard mission, especially for homeowners. There are a variety of finishing materials, details and style. Marble is the common use material that is strong and has a nice appearance despite it classic style. Personally as much as I love marble but i struggle to find a modern details. The shadow line detail is a method to get a modern appearance, that is suitable for the most type of marble. The shadow line has flush clean look with no overhang nosing to have a modern appearance. With a thin black granite underneath the riser, it shows each step by itself individually.

Marble stairs, with shadow line detail
Marble stairs at Labib 2 building, Gaza Palestine By architect Zahi Alrayyes and marble from Zomord Marble.

when to use the shadow line detail

As mentioned before the shadow line detail is suitable with many kinds of marble. It’s the best choice with marble that have different tones like Flower Beige marble as shown in the below photo. The shadow line detail will separate each step by its own, then people will not easily notice the difference in marble tones. Also it’s suitable with marble that has many veins, it displays the beauty of each step. On the other hand, it’s not nice with clear marble that look similar tone and doesn’t have veins. It’s not a bad choice but it won’t add much to the marble and stairs. 

Shadow line steps
Marble stairs at Labib 2 building, Gaza Palestine By architect Zahi Alrayyes and marble from Zomord Marble. The marble is Flower Beige a Turkish product that has a variety of veins and difference in background tones.

Installing shadow line marble stairs

The shadow line detail is simple and cheap detail comparing to another marble details. Because its regular straight steps with a 2cm black granite underneath the riser. Granite is prefer to used and not marble, because it’s thin we need a plain black color. Also granite is more rigid material to avoid the break the 2cm piece through cutting process. Personally I prefer black shadow line to be thinner than 2cm but then it will become weaker. There are three types of black granite, beside artificial stone read How to Select Black Granite article for more information. Artificial stone is not suitable because it will efflorescence and appear with with grey and white spots. The craftsmen need to cut the granite using saw cutting machine at marble factory, and then to glue it with the riser according to floor and riser height.

shadow line stairs marble installation
how to install shadow line marble stairs, Gaza 2019 by Architect Zahi Alrayyes. Marble from Zomord Marble and installed by A. Muhassien

In conclusion, It’s not the only modern marble stairs detail, but it’s suitable for marble that has variety of tones or density veins. The shadow line detail is cheap compared to another modern marble stairs details. Also it’s well-designed, the design is avoiding water collecting and has no fine details that could break in the future.

FAQs

Can i do shadow line detail for porcelain tiles cladding stairs?

Yes, where a piece of black porcelain can stick using tile adhesive to the step rise. Then it’s filled with cement mortar as shown in the following drawing.

Drawing for stairs shadow line detail using tiles cladding stairs. By Zahi Alrayyes 2020

Marble Floors Disadvantages

Installing Marble at Floor, ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2019

Marble flooring give the interior an elegant appearance, however marble floor have many problems because marble is sensitive. Installing marble at floor is more sensitive than wall. At wall dust and water will slide away from marble, but on floor it remain at marble ruining it surface.

Level surfaces problem

One of marble floors disadvantages is surface level. After extracting marble from quarries , marble cuts into slabs using band saw or bridge type saw. Band saw produce a wave surface, comparing to bridge type saw it’s produce a straight surface. During installing of marble flooring, craftsman has to level the floor surface. IF the marble cut using band saw machines craftsman has to arrange the tiles in a way to avoid different surface level.

To check if marble surface leveled, keep you eyes at floor reflection, the reflected photo has to be straight not sporadic or wave. In case that marble surface isn’t leveled, it requires grinding marble and polishing it. Personally I don’t recommend grinding marble because original grinder will lose for longer period. 

Fragmentation of marble Surface

Another marble floors disadvantages is surface fragmentation. Marble floor has to be always clean, where dust and sand at floor with people movement will scratch marble surface, marble will lose reflection of marble. When small area in marble scratched it will affect other areas and will make the surface look bad. Although i prefer grinding marble only if the marble surface scratched, it will return as it installed last month.

Marble flooring disadvantages
Marble flooring disadvantages, Omani marble, Gaza 2016

Water as we discussed before, its ruin marble. Grinding marble surface can protect from natural factors like dust and water, but marble sides and back will gain water. It will gain water if there is a problem with sewage or water supply system underneath the marble. Therefore marble sides and back has to be protected against water and moisture.