5 Essential Questions To Ask When Buying Natural Stones for Landscaping
August 24, 2020
Deciding to use natural stone for your project is easy since this landscape material is durable, beautiful, and will make your property stand out. But choosing the right type of landscape stone and finish is a whole different story. Natural stone production differs from one quarry to the next.
So when shopping around for natural stones, make sure to ask the following questions to help educate yourself and ensure you select the right types of landscape stone for your particular project:
How porous is the stone of my choice?
Natural stones are not created equally. Some natural stones are more porous than others. If a stone with a more porous surface comes into contact with acidic substances, it may become damaged and require cleaning & sealing of the surface.
So when you already have a stone in mind, make sure to consider where you’ll install or use it. For example, selecting a lighter coloured limestone is perfectly fine for an area with many trees and leaves, but it would be a good idea to seal the stone so it maintains its clean look. Our White Star granite, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be sealed and can be utilized in any residential or commercial project due to the high density and little water absorption in this white granite.
How thick do I need my stones to be?
If you’ll use natural stones as tiles for your walls or floors, opt for 3/8 inch thick. The thickness you need for BBQs or outdoor kitchen countertops is usually 2 inches thick. On the other hand, natural stone pavers used for exterior applications are about 1 inch to 1.25 inches thick. For higher-end residential projects and commercial landscaping, many landscape architects will opt for using 2 inch thick natural stone pavers or flagstone, to add greater strength and stability for the overall project.
What are the finishes you offer?
The finish on natural stones depends a lot on the application – interior or exterior – and also the type of wear and tear you expect to occur on the surface. Our specialty is outdoor landscape stone so we offer various finishes suitable for outdoor use. The most popular finishes for outdoor stone are natural or clefted, sandblasted, flamed, honed, tumbled, and antique-washed.
The finish can substantially change the look of the stone. For example, some of our granites and limestones come with flamed and brushed finishes, that have a unique and very clean, modern appearance. This heavy texture is achieved thanks to a combination of heat and brushing. A brushed granite can sometimes be far richer and darker in tone as well, such as our STONEarch Onyx Black, which is one of the darkest black granites on the market today and is often used as the best replacement for Cambrian Black.
The stone finish you choose will largely depend on your preference and taste unless safety is your main concern. In general, larger-sized tiles and those with a more polished finish tend to be more slippery when your shoes or feet are wet. If that’s the case, then opt for a finish with more texture. The most suitable stone finish for commercial landscape projects including hotels, plazas, condo terraces, and office buildings, is flamed or flamed and brushed.
Will the sample match well with the actual stone you’ll deliver?
Stones are natural materials. This means that their colours will vary. If consistency is worrying you, you can request multiple samples to get a sense of the variation in the stone. Also, take a look at our project gallery or visit our 5000+ square feet outdoor showroom which is the largest landscape stone showroom in Ontario.
For example, you may ask for 2-3 pieces of stone samples in a particular size. Doing so will allow you to see what you can expect to get in a standard pallet. Evaluate each paver, and if you notice that there’s a tremendous amount of variation in the stone’s colour range, then consider a different option that is more consistent or ask the supplier for a good alternative.
Do I need to seal my natural stone?
Usually, sealants are used on natural stone to darken it. Likewise, it can provide it with a honed or textured surface for a shinier look. So if you’re thinking about sealing your stones, consider asking for a professional sealer company to show you a small sample area that is sealed. This will help you visualize how it may change the look of your stone patio or pool deck and help you decide if you would like to seal the rest of your project. It’s always advisable to seal lighter coloured natural stones, especially when they are exposed to trees, leaves, moss or salt. We also recommend sealing our STONEarch Black limestone to prevent it from fading from UV/sunlight.
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Beyond their captivating visual appeal, natural stone steps offer a natural look with a variety of colors and textures, outshining the neutral gray of poured concrete. Explore the beauty beyond the heavy installation process, as homeowners continue to favor Stone Steps for a visually appealing outdoor space.