Our client was undertaking a beautiful complete refurbishment of their classic terraced home in Lambeth, south London. On meeting with them it was clear that the stylish renovation was to extend to the external approach and entrance to their home.
We surveyed the site and produced drawings for the client to feedback on, and approve, before commencement. York stone was chosen to replace the unattractive concrete. Once all details were agreed, the stone was worked by hand in our workshop by our banker mason Jacob. A banker mason does the final preparation work on stone-masonry blocks.
To restore the property’s authentic period facade, we replaced the stone steps, plinth, paving and metal railings.
The project took just under two weeks to complete and our client was extremely happy with the outcome.
Impressed by the high standard of the work, several neighbouring residents got in contact during and after the project’s completion with requests for quotes for their own properties. Winning new clients this way is one of the best endorsements of the team’s skill, hard work and attention to detail.
50mm-thick York stone treads were chosen with a bullnose leading edge and full bullnose returns. A new plinth was also chosen with a pencil edge finish along with railing refurbishment including handrails. The stone was worked by hand in our workshop. All bullnose details were created by templating the bullnose (curve) onto the stone slab and then slowly spinning the stone into shape. This is done using a variable speed grinder with changeable grade sanding pads and finished with a fine sanding by hand. The sharper edge returns on the rear of the treads were worked with traditional mallet and chisel.
Our first job was to remove the railings and old concrete treads to allow the prep work to begin. The concrete treads had been cast in-situ so we carefully broke them up to expose the original arch, or part barrel style vault, on which the steps were built. A small amount of replacement brickwork was needed to the top of the vault to ensure its structural integrity and to provide us with a solid base to install the new steps upon.
The old path leading from the pavement to the steps was broken up and the old base beneath it also removed. A new base of type 1 aggregate was laid and compacted to its required height to allow the 50mm thick paving to come in at the correct height. The first riser and tread was then laid on top of the paving.
The setting out of paving and steps is vital to ensure even sized risers and treads can be fitted. Precise measurements will in turn ensure the top platform stone and / or door threshold are at the correct height, at the top of the new steps, to align with the bottom of the front door. Without the correct measurements, calculations and setting out, staircases can often end up with steps of differing heights. This can result in a far smaller step at the bottom or sometimes at both top and bottom of the staircase. This not only looks poor but can unfortunately increase trips and falls too.
The ironmongery which was removed was then stripped down and treated prior to installation towards the end of the job. Once all paving steps and plinth stones were fitted the pointing was carried out with a colour mix that we recommended, and was approved by the client. Small core holes were measured, marked and drilled in the treads and plinth stones to allow the reinstatement of the handrails and railings. All metalwork was protected with anodised paint prior to the finishing coats.
Once the final coat of paint on the ironmongery was finished, site cleared and cleaned, the painting contractors went on to complete the final part of the external refurbishment.