Updated on March 15, 2021
The entryway to your home starts well before you step foot inside the front door. First impressions are made prior to guests entering your living space, and how you choose to complement your exterior can make a world of difference.
Your front steps are quite literally the walkway into your most cherished space, so performance is as important as presentation. The path leading into your home is both high visibility and high usage — and therefore needs durability, functionality, and appearance.
Enter, granite. Granite is characteristically beautiful, but it is equally low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing, making it the perfect choice for entryway steps. Natural stone instantly increases curb appeal and adds an air of sophistication, while also boasting superior durability. Compared to wood, brick, and concrete alternatives, granite outperforms them all under harsh conditions and elements. Able to withstand the freeze/thaw cycle, granite steps won’t chip or degrade, and are virtually maintenance free as opposed to their counterparts, making them an investment that will last a lifetime.
Unlike other building materials which may only suit modern or traditional designs, Swenson Granite Works’ granite steps can be used in any setting, with unmatched versatility. Available in stock and custom sizes, these steps and stone treads enhance all design styles, and are backed by Swenson’s lifetime warranty.
Choosing a Finish
Whichever granite steps you choose for your home, you can rest assured that they’ve been created with the utmost care, quality, precision and craftsmanship. The process is intricate, carried out by Swenson Granite Works’ craftsmen, who take blocks of granite from the quarry and saw slabs from the block to the right thickness. They are given a thermal top using a high pressure torch, in order to have a non-slip finish. The granite is split out to the appropriate size with a hydraulic splitter. Additional edge finishes are applied, depending on what the customer is looking for.
Swenson Granite Works stocks split face or rock face steps at its nine retail locations. Split face steps are created using a hydraulic splitter to provide a rough texture that blends well with natural wallstone and flagging.
WOODBURY GRAY™ split face steps, surrounded by Weathered Quarry Wallstone
Rock face steps are split larger than they need to be, and then trimmed to size by hand with a hammer and chisel. This leaves the edges bold and rocky. The edge will actually protrude beyond the top dimensions of the step.
WOODBURY GRAY™ granite rock face steps
Swenson Granite Works stocks WOODBURY GRAY™ steps and offers six other colors of granite for custom order steps: CALEDONIA™, CAROLINA CORAL™, AUTUMN PINK™, DEER ISLE, BETHEL WHITE® and CAMBRIAN BLACK®. Also available for custom order is INDIANA LIMESTONE-FULL COLOR BLEND™.
Edge finishing options include thermal, sandblast, sawn, polished and bush hammer. Custom fabricated steps suitable for any application, including radius edges and angled edges, are also an option.
The process for purchasing steps is fairly simple: visit your nearest Swenson Granite Works store, choose the steps, prepare the base, and have the steps installed.
Customize Your Entry With Your Choice of Step Style
There are several different types of designs you can choose for your steps. Once you have your design in mind, an expert can guide you over the phone, via email, or in-person at one of their nine retail locations. You can also hire a contractor to work with you, and each Swenson location has a list of contractor references for your convenience.
Here are some common designs to consider:
Traditional Rectangular Set of Steps
Woodbury Gray granite rock face steps
Woodbury Gray granite rock face steps with custom engraving
The basic rectangular set of steps is a very common entrance to front and back doors. This is a standard set of Woodbury Gray granite thermal top, rock face steps.
Watch as a Swenson crane truck operator installs a traditional rectangular set of steps.
Tiered Step Sets
Tiered step sets wrap around all three sides. They are designed by layering the steps on top of one another, decreasing in size as they go up. The steps resemble a tiered wedding cake.
Woodbury Gray radius granite rock face steps. Project by Natural Path Landscaping
Radius steps are an aesthetically pleasing alternative to the rectangular set of steps. These semi-circular steps create a grand entrance to any outdoor area.
Custom Woodbury Gray granite steps, thermal top and face
Rounding the corners of steps can be both a decorative and safety feature. Swenson craftsmen use a combination of diamond-tipped equipment and an experienced feel for the granite to create these aesthetically pleasing corners to your specifications.
Old Yankee Style
Old yankee style Woodbury Gray granite steps
Old yankee style steps are drilled and split by hand, using wedges and shims. This style goes great with Old New England as well as farmhouse style homes, and also fits in perfectly with historical renovations, since the wedges and shims method has been used for centuries.
Woodbury Gray granite split face embankment steps. Project by Elmwood Landscapes.
Embankment steps are perfect for creating a safe, sturdy pathway from one level of your property to another.
WHETHER DIY OR PROFESSIONAL, BASE PREPARATION IS ESSENTIAL
Once you’ve chosen your steps, you need to prepare the base. A properly constructed base ensures your steps will remain solid for decades. You can create your own concrete or gravel pad with readily available tools and materials. Swenson Granite Works’ Concrete Pad Prep Guide and Gravel Pad Prep Guide will assist you with this process.
Mark Giroux, long-time crane truck operator for Swenson Granite Works’ Rowley, Massachusetts store, installs a set of Woodbury Gray granite steps.
Ask your Swenson Granite Works representative for the proper dimensions for your particular step configuration prior to starting your base preparation. Consider whether a gravel or concrete pad is suitable for your steps. For small sets of steps, a compacted gravel pad will work just fine. Very large sets of steps may require a concrete pad. The ultimate base, however, is a 6-inch-thick concrete pad on top of properly compacted gravel. The gravel will stay compacted while allowing water to drain, guarding against frost heaves. The concrete pad adds a solid, level area that makes setting the granite steps easier.
Depending on the existing soil conditions, it may be necessary to excavate deeper to ensure a well compacted, properly draining base.
Swenson Granite Works personnel are trained to install granite steps on a prepared base only. If the base area is not prepared prior to the arrival of the delivery truck, the steps cannot be installed. If you are unable to prepare the base yourself, you can hire a local contractor. We can provide you with a list of contractors in your specific area. Just call your local store.
GRANITE STEP INSTALLATION: A STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS
You’ve chosen your steps and prepared the base – here comes the fun part (and it doesn’t require you to work!) When the steps are ready to be installed, they are loaded onto the truck and brought to the job site to install layer by layer.
The crane truck operator uses heavy duty straps to lift the stone steps off of the back of the truck and to maneuver them into place.
Watch as TLC Landscaping works with Swenson Granite Works to install a set of steps.
Crane truck operator Doug Baillie gets ready to install a set of Woodbury Gray granite steps at a Concord, New Hampshire customer’s home.
Steps can be installed any time of the year, as long as the ground is not too frozen and the pad is able to be prepared.
In this video, Swenson Granite Works highlights the process involved in installing a set of steps.
Interested in adding the classic beauty and permanence of granite steps to your home? Download the Guide to Using Steps & Treads for Residential Projects to learn more.