How are stone steps used outdoors?

Natural stone is widely used in the pavement of outdoor steps because of its superior physical properties and texture. As an organic part of the outdoor space environment, steps play an important role in traffic connection, landscape, and so on. Academic circles have carried out a series of studies on the characteristics of natural stone, stone processing method network, stone maintenance, and so on. They have also fully discussed the design methods and principles of steps.

China is now in a period of rapid development of construction. Some steps are shoddy and prone to many problems in technology and material selection. People have a lot of experience, but lack of systematic summary. Based on the application of natural stone outdoor steps, this paper summarizes the design and construction methods of natural stone steps, to provide an effective basis for exploring the design and construction of natural stone steps.

● Overview of stone steps

Stone is a kind of building material with architectural decoration function, which is processed from natural rock or synthetic materials. According to the causes of stone formation, decorative stone can be divided into natural stone and man-made stone. Natural stone refers to the materials mined from natural rocks and processed into blocks or plates, which are generally divided into marble, granite, slate, and sandstone.

● The function of stone steps

Natural stone steps have a very wide range of applications. Their universality is mainly reflected in the basic functions of steps, including contact function, separation function, and guidance function.

1. Contact function

Steps have the function of connecting traffic, which includes both vertical traffic and horizontal traffic. People walk on the steps and experience the changes of space and vision through the changes of different heights. If the two spaces are connected directly only in a simple way, it will often make people feel monotonous and boring. If a transitional space is inserted into the two spaces. Steps play the role of transitional space, which not only makes the spatial connection of different height differences possible but is also naturally rich.

2. Separation function

The definition of architectural space refers to the process of isolating some natural space from others through the action of some entity elements to form architectural space. To create a certain artistic atmosphere and spatial level, some buildings will use the combination of steps and spatial changes to create a richer experience space.

3. Guidance function

The setting of architectural steps often means the existence of another layer of space, which is easy to stimulate people’s desire to move forward. Wide steps will give people a stronger desire, narrow steps will add some mysterious colors, and spaces with different height differences can be guided by steps.

● Application occasions of stone steps

Due to the different needs of functional forms, steps are widely used in buildings, squares, and gardens. In different types of buildings, squares, and gardens, steps have different values and functions.

1. Construction

Natural stone steps are widely used in the entrance of modern buildings and the front square of buildings, which can effectively guide the external traffic.

In imperial palaces and temples, people often use granite to build steps to show the solemnity and sanctity of the building.

2. Square

The square is set up according to the functional requirements of the city and is a space for people’s communication activities. Due to the different needs of urban functions, according to the functional classification, there are citizen square, market square, building square, memorial square, life square, and traffic square.

3. Gardens

In the spatial layout of garden buildings, the terrain features often connect the buildings with traffic elements such as curves and broken lines, enrich the spatial level of the garden through the fluctuation of height difference, to form a visual change, improve the height of the viewpoint through steps, make the line of sight break through the boundary of the garden, achieve the effect of looking down or looking down at the future, and achieve the purpose of “borrowing the scenery”.

● Design principles of stone steps

1. Humanization principle

The humanized design principles of natural stone steps include the following two aspects:

Humanization of scale

The size of steps should follow the requirements of human scale, psychological space, and interpersonal communication, and the safety of people’s activities under different spatial states should be considered. The general rules for civil building design stipulate that the width of outdoor steps of public buildings shall not be less than 300mm, the height of steps shall not be more than 150mm, and shall not be less than 100mm.

Humanization of function

Steps can not only connect traffic but also have many extension functions. Steps are closely related to people’s activity behavior. Through reasonable design, the creative value of steps can be brought into play to meet the different behavior needs of users.

Rationalization principle

Steps are composed of steps and rest platforms. The form and scale of steps have certain repeatability and unity, and the spatial sequence is organized according to a certain order to meet the requirements of human behavior and activities.

Adaptability principle

Regardless of the scale of the construction project, the vertical design of the site shall be carried out to meet the requirements of traffic organization and drainage. Steps are an important part of guiding vertical traffic. Reasonable planning and design of the site can effectively guide vertical traffic. The original landform in the site is the precious wealth left by nature. The step design should be combined with nature, adapt to nature, and integrate with nature.

● Design method of stone steps

For the design of natural stone steps, the ultimate goal is to guide practice, so it is very necessary to summarize the method of step design. It is divided into three aspects: classical practice, spatial level shaping method, and structural mode reorganization method.

After many years of engineering practice summary, from the form classification of natural stone, there are strip stone masonry, stone slab masonry, spatial level shaping method, structural mode reorganization method, superposition method, combination method, natural stone step construction.

● The construction process of stone steps

For the construction of natural stone steps, the specific construction process is as follows:

Firstly, during foundation cleaning, some organic impurities and objects with large particle sizes on the base course shall be cleaned to ensure that the sanitation and flatness of the foundation meet the requirements for the next process.

Secondly, when plastering with cement mortar, it shall be applied evenly to lay a foundation for stone masonry. It is worth noting that the stone shall be soaked in water before masonry, dried in the shade of the backlight, and the back can be cleaned before construction. Finally, within 24 hours after the completion of stone paving, staff shall regularly spray water for maintenance, and pedestrians are prohibited from stepping on it in a short time.

If surface processing and anti-skid are required, the granite surface can be treated, usually including fire surface, water spray surface, sandblasting surface, ax cutting surface, machine planed surface, pineapple surface, and litchi surface. Among them, fire surface, ax cutting surface, and machine planed surface are often used for outdoor step pavement, and sandstone rough panel mainly includes sandblasting surface and litchi surface.

Well, there are many knowledge points involved in this article, which will be explained in detail in subsequent articles. Please cherish every stone!

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