One of my jobs as Director of Operations is to stay on top of the trends in various industries related our business. This includes real estate trends (commercial & residential), the building materials industry, stone veneer, technology, and of course, manufacturing. As I continue to read articles and analyze our data I have noticed a recent trend: Natural Stone Steps.
There was a time when we poured concrete steps take center stage or red brick. In some cases people used cobblestones with wood borders. All have had their time (and some still do) but right now the most sought after is the natural stone step. Whether it’s the centerpiece of the landscape design or the finish touch to provide a little extra beauty, people are going crazy over natural stone.
Why Natural Stone Steps?
When I notice a trend like this I don’t accept it without analyzing over a period of time. You can ask other members of the Delgado Stone Team, I analyze everything. In this case the data spoke for itself. When comparing inquiries for natural stone steps from the first half of 2016 to the first half of 2017 there was an increase of 238%. The second half of 2017 is on pace to put that number to shame. Naturally, I need to know why.
If you’re not in the building materials, real estate, or architecture and landscape design industries you may not care. You may not be aware. If you are in these industries however, you want to know why. I am going to tell you:
- They Are Unique: Natural stone steps are irregularly shaped. You may come across a few that are close in size and shape but usually they are all different. Unless fabricated to specific dimension no two will be alike. This is one of the reasons people like these natural stone steps, they are unique.
- They Are Durable: In most cases natural stone steps are more durable than the alternatives. Brick and poured concrete slabs chip and break easily over time. Natural stone is more durable. Of course if it’s fabricated and altered there is an increased risk of damage but taking irregular steppers and adding them to the landscape will ensure your steps stand the test of time.
- Save Money: Custom fabrication excluded, using natural stone steppers will often cost less for two reasons: (1) they are typically purchased by the ton, and (2) save money on installation. Custom steps build into your landscape can be expensive. Laying brick and pouring concrete can be time consuming and labor intensive. If done right, natural stone takes less labor and the cost of materials will be less.
- Choice of Color: Did you know we have approximately 20 different types of irregular natural stone steps? Most people don’t. Almost every stone we use for our natural stone veneer products is available as an irregular step. Whether you want light grey, dark grey, blue, brown, or tan, there is likely a step available to meet the needs of your project.
If you want something unique for your next landscape project consider the use of irregular natural stone steps. If you have flexibility on dimensions and colors you can create a beautiful landscape design that is trendy and may even add value to your home when it comes time to work with a real estate agent.