Staircase broken, Kensington & Chelsea

Stone staircases often suffer when there is a lot of building work going on in the building. Several times I have seen flights that have been destroyed by lack of care during construction work.

4th Oct 2006 007

This one was left unprotected during prolonged work to the house, continuous boots hammering up and down the flights loosened the mortar in the rebate joints. The situation was exacerbated by chemical paint stripper being applied to the soffit of the flight, which I think weakened the mortar in the rebate joints. The mortar eventually fell out, leaving the treads without proper support. The treads then bumped against each other each time some one walked on them, which eventually led to the treads cracking up.

4th Oct 2006 015

Thankfully in this case some propping was in place, so the flight didn’t collapse. Later it was painstakingly pinned back together.

4th Oct 2006 012


It is extremely important that these stairs are properly protected during construction work – I recommend propping below the flight and carpet and plywood armour for the top and balustrade. I never advise using paint strippers on them without careful testing.