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Which Natural Stone Is Best for Outdoor Use?

Stone elements are a fantastic way to add a touch of elegance, sophistication, and style to your outdoor space. Stone comes in various shapes, sizes, and colours; choosing the right one can make all the difference.

When selecting the perfect stone for your home, a few factors must be considered, including appearance, functionality, and placement. Certain materials work better in specific areas of your property, and combining different types of natural stone can create a unique and stunning look.

Read on for some of the best stone options to consider for your outdoor area.

Bluestone

Bluestone is an excellent, medium maintenance natural stone choice for outdoor areas. It is often used for pedestrian walkways, pool decks, driveways, and stairs, where heavy foot traffic and exposure to the elements can cause damage. Bluestone’s natural strength and resilience allow it to handle harsh winter weather conditions, but it is important to note that regular maintenance and sealing necessary to protect it from water ingress and other damage.

In addition, bluestone is a versatile and attractive material that comes in various shades and patterns. The stone features mixes of earthy blues and grey charcoals, adding a touch of natural beauty to your space. With proper maintenance, including regular cleaning and sealing, your bluestone will remain in excellent condition for many years.

Concrete

If concrete was a good option for the Romans (which it was), then it’s a good option for you! Available in pavers, pre-cast, situ and blocks, concrete can be sculpted accordingly with artisans and formwork, offering a medium maintenance option for your exterior areas.

In addition to its strength, concrete is highly resistant to fire and can help prevent damage caused by subterranean termites, making it a safe and secure option for home exteriors.

Granite

When creating an outdoor oasis, few materials can match granite’s timeless beauty and durability. This elegant stone not only exudes a classic vibe but also adds a touch of luxury to any outdoor space.

Granite is well-suited to harsh weather conditions, making it a practical and cost-effective choice for homeowners looking to enhance their landscape. It comes in a “flamed” finish when used externally, and while it is harder wearing, it is also susceptible to moisture-related issues such as picture framing. Dip sealing (sealing of all six sides on a paver prior to installation) is recommended to prevent problems for this low-to-medium maintenance option.

But granite’s beauty goes beyond just its practicality. With a wide range of stunning grey shades, you can select the perfect hue to complement your garden’s look. Choose a light silver or a deep charcoal; there’s a range of options that suit any style and preference.

Granite is an option that adds a natural element to your outdoor space without overpowering it. It seamlessly blends in with the surroundings and can complement other materials such as wood, metal, or glass.

Limestone

One of the primary advantages of limestone is its natural resistance to termites, decay, bacteria, and mould. This offers the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home’s exterior is resistant to common issues that can damage other materials. However, Limestone is very soft, porous, and prone to deteriorate around saltwater pools and coastal areas. Sealing and regular maintenance are crucial to achieving the beautiful finish Limestone is known for. Just be aware this is a very high-maintenance option.

Limestone can really hold a polish, making it elegant and functional. This is particularly important if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, where your home may be more susceptible to damage caused by wind, rain, or snow.

Sandstone

Sandstone can handle harsh weather conditions and heavy foot traffic, making it an ideal option for patios, pool decks, sidewalks, driveways, and garages. Sandstone’s natural strength and slip-resistant surface make it an excellent choice for outdoor walkways and steps. However, this medium-to-high maintenance stone is prone to corrosion around saltwater pools and coastal environments, meaning sealing is crucial to maintaining its beautiful textures. 

Not only is sandstone highly functional, but it also adds a warm and welcoming aesthetic to any outdoor environment. With its natural earth tones, sandstone can complement various outdoor design styles, from rustic to modern. While sandstone has many benefits, it must be noted that colour and tone options may be limited. However, this can also be seen as an advantage, as its unique and distinctive qualities often enhance sandstone’s natural beauty. Proper care and maintenance, including regular cleaning and sealing, can help to maintain sandstone’s appearance and prolong its lifespan.

Travertine

Travertine is composed of limestone and is available in a variety of colours, including beige, cream, and tan. This versatile material has the ability to stay cool to the touch, even in hot weather. This makes it a comfortable option for bare feet and for sitting and relaxing outdoors. Travertine usually has a ‘tumbled’ finish that is un-filled when used outdoors helping it be very low maintenance.

Travertine can handle exposure to constant sunlight, moisture, and extreme temperatures without showing significant signs of wear and tear. It can hold up well in even the harshest outdoor environments, making it a wise investment for any outdoor project. Plus, it is cheaper to install since it can be laid on top of sand, making it a budget-friendly choice.

Did you also know that travertine’s natural colour resists fading over time? It will continue to look good for many years to come, so if you want a low-maintenance outdoor flooring option, this is it!

Choosing the best natural stone for your needs

So which of these options is best for you? This depends on various factors, such as durability, slip resistance, weather resistance, colour options, and cost. Plus, your personal style also needs to come into play! Whichever option you pick, be sure to let the team from Prestige Surfaces, who work with all aspects of stone cleaning and sealing, keep your natural stone looking its best in the years to come.

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