Natural Stone: Benefits of using natural stone pavers
More people are converting to natural stone paving in their homes. Every remodel introduces new users and invites further experimenting. This is largely due to the many benefits associated with this paving material.
Natural stone doesn’t undergo any manufacturing, at least not in the way certain pavers (like concrete and brick) do. The stone is simply extracted from the earth and cut into the required shapes. Then they are finished and/or polished as desired.
There are different types of natural stone paving, including travertine, granite, flagstone, slate, and cobblestone. Each of these comes with its own set of advantages, but there are some benefits that apply to all. Some of these benefits include:
Not affected by climate
Stone can be installed in different geographical conditions with great success. Natural stone can withstand heat, heavy rain, and humidity. Unlike other pavers, natural stone does not absorb water. This is where it beats pavers like concrete and brick.
It’s also unaffected by snow, ice, and frost, so you won’t need expensive repairs after every winter. This makes it an excellent paver for many parts of the world, including areas that experience all four seasons.
Natural stone is non-slip, which is a great quality if you live in areas that experience a lot of fog, mist, rain, or ice. Removing snow from a natural stone driveway is also simple, and can be done with minimal damage to the pavement.
Natural stone does not require extensive care. With most other pavers such as brick and concrete, you have to replace broken and cracked tiles, and repaint your paved surfaces. You might also need to repair grout in the case of tiles.
With natural stone, simply give them a good wash every season, and remove any debris that might fall on them. Depending on the base used, you might need to make periodic, low-end repairs to the concrete foundation. Take extra caution to avoid acidic cleaning products. These may stain your natural stone and ruin your carefully crafted designs.
There are many qualities that make natural stone a versatile paver. To start with, most natural stone options (including granite) stay cool to the touch, even in strong sunlight. Meaning you can walk barefoot on natural stone pavers.
It’s also non slip, and doesn’t sustain water damage. These qualities make it ideal for use in areas that interact with a lot of moisture, such as pool-sides and patios. The non-slip nature of natural stone makes it safe for houses with children and senior citizens as well. Bluestone is a bit expensive, but makes an excellent decorative addition to your paving, regardless of the material used.
Every cut of natural stone is different from the next, regardless of whether you’re using slabs, blocks, or tiles. This is because the stone has been formed over many years, and has naturally occurring striations and patterns. They give stone both its beauty and its character. Stone also comes in various hues once they are polished and finished.
Travertine finishes, for instance, have shades ranging from walnut, to silver, chocolate, and even Emerald. The same applies to other natural stone alternatives, like limestone, which ranges from beige to pink. Or marble, which can be white, black, green, and more.
Some people prefer unfinished stone for added character. ‘Raw’ options are mostly slate, granite, travertine, and cobblestone. They have a natural ‘vintage’ look. You can also mix different stones for a unique overall design. Since natural stone’s colors are imprinted rather than pigmented, they’re attractive than other unfinished paving materials.
Roman roads and Stonehenge are a great testament to the durability of natural stone. Roman roads used cobblestone and granite, while the Stonehenge is made from sarsen (a silcrete) and bluestone. Natural stone is hard-wearing and incredibly strong.
Most natural stone can withstand massive pressure, as high as 38,000 psi. Other pavers such as concrete can only go as high as 8,500 psi. This makes natural stone ideal for high traffic areas. Natural stone also wears differently from other paving options.
Concrete for instance, is manufactured from composite mixes using various aggregates (gravel, sand, cement, etc.). Over time, wear causes some of these aggregates to become exposed, which could change the way your driveway looks.
Natural stone, on the other hand, gains character over time. Bluestone for instance, changes color with continued exposure to sunlight. It turns from its various shades of blue and violet, to a rather fetching grey, which is almost silver.
Using natural stone pavers is one assured way to increase the cash price of your home. This is mainly due to the uniqueness, the timeless value, and the durability of stone paving. It also requires minimal maintenance, which appeals to homeowners.
Bluestone, flagstone, and travertine are preferred primarily for their beauty. They are used to enhance the look of patios, courtyards, and verandas. Granite and cobblestone are preferred primarily for their strength. This makes them ideal for long lasting, high traffic areas such as driveways and courtyards.
The versatility of natural stone also allows you to use it as décor, both indoors and outdoors. Marble is an excellent choice for indoor countertops, which will instantly transform your home. Sandstone on the other hand, is excellent for outdoor décor. It can be used to make planters for instance.
It may come as a surprise, but natural stone is classified as a sustainable building material. This is because it’s a vast, naturally occurring resource that is constantly regenerating. Plus, as a natural product, stone can be recycled.
Broken or cracked pieces of paving can be crushed and used as aggregate to make concrete, for instance. This mostly occurs with granite and travertine. Larger stone slabs can be recut as tiles and reused as paving material.
When you use natural stone in your home, you’re making a statement. You’re marking yourself out as stylish, elegant, stately, and environmentally conscious. You’re also protecting your home from the effects of certain chemicals and components used in construction. So consider stone paving for practical, ethical, and aesthetic reasons.