When you are on a construction project, be it residential or commercial, exterior flooring or paving grab a significant amount of your budget and proportional promises to returns in terms of décor as well as property value in the long run. Backyard Patio is an essential part of most homes. Façade with a porch is an inevitable tradition, which we used to follow in order to improve entrance experiences.
Many households are lucky enough to enjoy luxuries of having a swimming pool, garden around the building, garage and decorative elements such as water feature, fire feature, and sculptures. Therefore, they still need to explore paving options for walkways, driveway, and garden paths with stepping stones.
With the advent of construction technologies and material options, exterior paving becomes a big concern for owners, contractors, masons, and the entire manufacturing to distribution and supply chain. However, it also has increased the level of confusion and decision paralysis to select flooring materials for your exterior applications. So, I have decided to pinpoint the best paving material, which is natural stone, in my eyes for your next project in the current post.
Why Natural Stone Flooring for Exterior Spaces?
Natural stones have captivated the attention of construction industry for centuries and were consider a luxurious material option for flooring. Despite the emergence of manufactured flooring tiles like ceramic for interior applications and porcelain for exterior, natural stones have retained the classic charm intact today.
With the improved scenario of quarrying, finishing, transits, and distribution network across the globe, we can find natural stones like luxurious material at equivalent price tags of other materials including cement-concrete flooring and manufactured tiles.
To expand the vision, I am going to describe to you the pros and cons of natural stone flooring in the next section.
Interior Flooring Collection
Time Worn Stone
Natural Stone Flooring Pros and Cons
When we go to compare one construction material with others, we must take logical approaches and adopt scientific views. Therefore, I am going to place some stone properties in general, such as
Water Absorption Rate:
It is directly related to the porosity of the material because pores allow water molecules to pass through the material. Therefore, a material with the highest absorption rate renders it useless in any damp environment.
Moreover, porosity also defines the level of strength of material against force, cold-heat cycles, and damages including stains, cracks, and breaks. Based on water absorption properties, we can classify rocks into
Fortunately, natural stones with different polishing& coating treatments become water-resistant. So, polished stones absorb the least amount of water compared to honed or cleft rocks. Sandstone is the most porous rock. Travertine, limestone, and slate rocks fall into the medium absorbency category. Granite is a highly waterproof natural stone type.
Coefficient of Friction
It is a measurement of the coarseness of the stone surfaces. Thus, a high coefficient of friction indicates high traction on the surfaces. The majority of stones types have a .6 dryness coefficient. It proves the suitability of natural stones for exterior applications to give non-slip surfaces.
Physical properties of natural stones in a nutshell:
|Hardness||3 to 4 on Moh’s scale|
|Density||2.5 to 2.65 kg/m3|
|Compressive strength||1800 to 2100 kg/cm3|
|Water absorption capacity||Less than 1%|
10 Benefits of Natural Stone Flooring in Your Exterior Applications
No.1 – Sturdy Material
We know natural stones have a hardness between 3 to 4 Mohr’s scales. It means it hard and tough material suitable for exterior applications where foot traffic is high and wears& tear is expected. Natural stone hardly breaks or cracks easily; it is thanks to its high compressive strength.
No.2 – Durable Choice
Natural stones used in exterior applications have low porosity, vitreous, and weather resistance. Therefore, it stays for a longer period compared to other paving solutions, perhaps for centuries. It hardly fades in color and appearance, instead natural wears & tears enhance its natural appeals more.
No.3 – Natural Beauty
Natural stones have grains, veins, patterns, and unique colors. The amalgamation of all renders it unique material with natural beauty that we love to stare all-time with triggered imagination.
No.4 – Weather Resistance
The majority of natural stones are heat and frost resistant. Low water absorption and porosity render them water-resistant material. Thus, stones remain cool during the hot summer months. Snowfalls and a very cold climate cannot break or crack the surfaces of stones easily.
Humidity retention is not an issue with a flooring layer of natural stones. If stones covered and some heat provided, those remain warmer in cold nights for exterior living.
No.5 -Low Wears & Tears
By properties, stones are hard and dense material to withstand against high foot traffic areas of outside spaces. Frequent cleaning and washing hardly affect the look-n-feel of stones. Sunlight, rains, and frost cannot fade the natural beauty of stones
Color, patterns, and surfaces remain intact for decades with proper maintenance and cleaning practices.
Do you look a diversity in colors, grain size, grain style, veins, patterns, and styles to create unique layouts, natural stones have everything you can expect. Stones have each piece unique so give freedom to your eyes and mind to get bored or trapped in repetition.
Coating, finishing, and polishing like surface treatments make stones more resistant to water absorption, low dirt retention, and less prone to staining. Some standard cleaning and washing practices with plain water or innocent chemicals or solutions are enough to bring originality of stones.
Natural stones mostly come in big size slabs or tiles attached to each other with grout filling material. Therefore, sealing with chemical sands/cement or solutions prevent the growth of weeds easily. Moreover, you can replace damaged slabs or tiles quickly with low efforts and expense.
No.8–Enhance Property Ratings
Natural stones believe a luxury in the construction industry when high-quality stones applied with beautiful design and gorgeous looks.
It increases the reselling value of properties. Low maintenance and natural beauty of stones tempt buyers to put the stamp of choice immediately to your property decorated with natural stones. Stones always increase the property rating in the market.
Stones surfaces with proper finishing never retain dirt, liquids, and hazardous material. Cleaning and washing of stones are easy and low effort job with good tools. Therefore, bacteria, viruses, and fungus-like threats never get permanent shelter where natural stones have laid with proper installation methods and regular maintenance practices prevailing.
With the advent of quarrying and shipping technologies, all kinds of natural stones are available at any corner of the world. Cutting and finishing technologies have reduced the price tags of stone considerably.
Moreover, the lifespan of rocks with proper treatments is multiple times higher than standard options such as woods, bricks, cement-concrete, and manufactured tiles. Therefore, natural stones in your exterior spaces prove a cost-efficient option in the long run.
Types of Natural Stones Available at Word of Stones, the USA for Exterior Flooring/Paving Applications
We have seen properties of natural stones to establish the appropriateness of exterior flooring applications. It sets that all kinds of rocks are not suitable for exterior paving applications, and only some selected types of natural stones are accepted in the industry. Let’s check some of the significant ones in due course.
|Flagstone is a colloquial name of different stones such as sandstone, limestone, and slate. The peculiarity of flagstone is its irregularity in shape, size, and thickness. Therefore, it renders as the most sturdy and natural-looking choice for cost-effective paving solutions for external spaces of your home.|
|Granite is siliceous types of rocks available in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles. Though it is expensive the most beautiful and suitable material for stone flooring in exterior spaces along with interiors.|
|It is a fine-grained metamorphic natural stone solution for exterior paving requirements and used highly in pool decks, porches, patios, and paths.|
|It is not an ideal solution in extreme climatic regions, but good for patios, walkways, driveways, and pool coping in moderate climatic areas of the world. However, it offers a limited choice for colors and styles.|
|It is calcareous types of sedimentary rock available in diverse choices. Based on the formation pattern, we can differentiate it into the following main groups, which are applying in exterior applications.|
|It has natural capacities to withstand in the extremity of weather and wears and tears. It is available in earthy tones and warm colors that everyone loves. It has non-slip surfaces with proper finishing and available in polished, hones, and brushed finishing. Therefore, it is an ideal choice for wet areas in your exteriors like swimming pool decks, patios, and paths in the garden.|
|It is an ideal selection for interior application for flooring, but green marbles like strong varieties used in many exterior applications.|
Apart from these, the World of Stones USA keeps a big inventory of a variety of stones customized for different exterior applications. Now, it is up to you that what makes sense for your exterior natural stone application projects. Our consultants offer free services to guide you properly.