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

How to Select and Buy Marble

Marble Samples

Marble is a metamorphic stone, it’s formed when limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressures. Marble has more aesthetic than granite, veins add more to marble aesthetic value.
Select marble tiles and slab isn’t an easy mission, especially with the variety of choices in the market. Marble is a natural material extracted from mountains, each area in the mountain is different. It’s hard to compare marble types, because its similar in appearance but different in strength, water absorption and other properties we will discuss later in this article. For non expert who will get information from market, the flow of advice, maybe even conflicting advice, will make marble select process harder. Through this article we will go through marble properties and advice in FAQ style, try to read this article in full to get a well understanding of the process. 

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Palestinian Stone

Palestinian stone is located at West Bank Mountains. Commonly it caved in a rough texture to use in building facade cladding and for decor.

As Palestinian stones are limestone extracting from different mountains. Thus stone types are various according to location. Each stone has it physical specifications, where they vary in absorption ratio, rigidity and strength of bearing, leading to price differences. Most famous stone types are Njassa, Shyoukh, Slayeb, Tafouh, Barezit and many others.

Palestinian stone types

Njassa and Shyoukh are white. However Njassa is more white and has less absorption ratio which will remain white for longer type. In other hand Shyoukh Band 160 found deep inside the mountain, which is similar to Njassa stone specifications. Slayeb is red and yellow stone, its solid with a low absorption ratio. Taffouh is that yellow stone, while Birzeit is varied from yellow to grayish green but it yellow is more hue than Tafouh. There are other types found in Palestine like Beersheba stone in Negev desert. Its light gray color stone in similar tones, this gives architecture seem like it built from one stone building.

Stone extracted then cut in slabs then to different sizes and thickness to fit the required application. What’s makes Palestinian stone unique in facade cladding, its has a rough face where it shows architecture massive. The well-known two major sizes, the 25 cm height and 12 cm height its come in 3 cm thickness and random widths. Personally I consider 12 cm height is more beauty in scale and details, however 25 cm scale and details appear differently because it requires a different caving techniques. Increase stone thickness could be a solution to have the large size appears in nice details similar to 12 cm stone size.  

Palestinian Stone and Water Absorbing Problems

Palestinian stone as limestone has a high water absorbing ration. Specially that rough Palestinian stone surface is not treated for water absorption. The stone will yellow and convert to black color that have a bad appearance and could easily noticed. There are a few tips to take in consideration to avoid yellowing
First and most important to fix water leakage problems. Most usual problems happen in slab connection, where problems with indoor plumbing that affect the elevation stone cladding.
Also inverted beams around the building boundaries will prevent water to reach the Palestinian stone. The inverted beam has to be casting with slab to avoid water leakage. Another thing is to avoid installing water supply pipes at floor, and install the pipes in the false ceiling. In the false ceiling the problem will appear immediately, unlike floor installations. The cost of removing the false ceiling to fix the pipes is smaller than removing floor tiles for pipes maintenance.
Second tip is to temporarily connect stone together, use marble adhesive. Some craftsmen use gypsum to temporary connecting, but gypsum is organic material that wouldn’t stay for a long time. Then the place of gypsum mortar will be a gaps to collect water. The marble adhesive is better choice for traditional installing method – the casting -.
Stone types, cut sizes and arrangement have various alternatives, resulting huge methods to build and design of the building facade. Here are some photos of buildings elevation designs that created by Palestinian stone.

Palestinian stone Njassa 25cm height using traditional installing-method
Palestinian stone Njassa 25cm height using traditional installing-method. Gaza 2017

Stone types, cut sizes and arrangement have various alternatives, resulting huge methods to build and design of the building facade. Here are some photos of buildings elevation designs that created by Palestinian stone.

building using Slayeb stone , Gaza by ORIGIN DESIGN
Palestinian stone by ORIGIN DESIGN
Proposal for Palestinian stone building in Gaza using rough and smooth stone.