What is a Natural Stone?
Natural stone is, as its name suggest, a product that is NOT man made. The core is raw stone, that men extract from quarries and cut and honed them into a myriad of forms and shapes. Stone tile and pavers are hewn down from a large variety of naturally occurring materials and they are specifically manufactured to meet certain flooring criteria.
Types of Natural Stone
The sources of natural stone include granite, limestone, travertine, marble, and slate.
Difference between Lime Stone, Travertine, Marble and Granite
Granite and Limestone are very different materials. Granite, and igneous rock, is formed by the cooling of Magma. It contains a variety of other materials including volcanic glass. Limestone is sedimentary rock formed by layers of different organic materials being heated and compressed over millennia. The primary composition of limestone is calcite, which is chemically identical to calcium carbonate. Both marble and Travertine are composed of limestone, however, they both occur during different stages of the rocks growth. In its juvenile state, limestone is primarily a taupe or tan color with some veins of color and is characteristically pitted with small holes. As the heat and pressure increase, the material becomes much denser and heavier, the pits that characterize travertine begin to close up and the color becomes more integrated. Once this occurs, the travertine moves to the next stage and becomes Marble.
Benefits of picking Natural Stone over concrete “man made products” i.e. Color Fading, Durability, practicality.
There are a great variety of benefits of choosing a natural stone as flooring or pavers: the lack of color fade, (something inevitable with a concrete/dyed product), the durability and strength of natural stone is much greater than that of most composite materials, and finally the practicality of natural stone as in insulator. (It remains quite cool in the sun and thus makes for excellent flooring for pool decks, patios, sun rooms, etc. The primary drawback for using natural materials basically boils down to the price, which in these days is not as it used to be a few years back, it has become an affordable luxury!
Shapes and Flavors of Travertine Pavers
Most natural stones come in a variety of patterns and shapes. The most common paver is a 6”x12”. This is the most common/affordable form of natural stone. Another fairly common setup is the French or Ashlars pattern. This is composed of an 8x8, an 8x16, a 16x16, and a 16x24. The different sizes allow for a very classic feel to the stone, as well as, allowing for larger and more expensive pieces to be integrated into the pattern. As with most natural materials, the size, shape, pattern, and occasionally color affect the final price. Travertine and marble also come in a variety of finishes such as, tumbled, honed/filled, antiqued, and chiseled.
With properties of an insulator, most natural stones are the best choice paving Pool Decks, Patios, Driveways, walkways, as the material does not absorb much heat, it will remain cool to walk on even during the sunniest/hottest days of our Florida summer.
There are usually many hurdles that homeowners have clear regarding permitting their project. Some come from their own HOAs and some from the actual city county/county where they home is. When in doubt, the city’s website will have a list of home improvements that require permits. Also speak to a registered licensed contractor for any additional permitting advice. In regards to HOAs, the best thing to do is to talk to them, most projects require approval from its architectural review board.
Installation of Natural Stone Pavers vs. Installation of Tile
Although they are made up of the same material, the production, installation, and maintenance of tile vs. pavers is quite different. Since most tiles are cut at only 5/8” or even 3/8”, tile is far more delicate that a pavers which is on average more than 1” thick. The tile must also be mud set in concrete to secure stability. This can be done both as an interior and exterior application. As for pavers, they are gravity set on top of a layer of compacted sand. Fine sand is then swept into any joints between the pavers. The border pavers must then be secured with concrete to add rigidity and structure to the project; otherwise it is the weight of the pavers themselves plus the bedding sand between the joints that provide for the primary structure of the deck or driveway.
Cuts and Waste
All building materials require some extras for cuts and waste. Within the stone/tile industry the accepted amount for cuts and waste runs about 10% extra above the total square footage of the project. Specialty patterns will more likely require extra provisions from cuts and waste
Who should install my product
As with any home improvement projects, using a license and insured contractor will eliminate most legal problems should any arise. Using a non certified install often will save money on immediate costs, but there is no warranty or protection should he do a subpar installation job. Don’t take risk these days.
Sealing: Acrylic, Penetrating, Shark Grip, Color Enhancers, etc. – pavers require only subtle maintenance. Sealing the pavers will act as an inhibitor for most organic growth, as well as enhancing the character of the stone. A non slip material can also be added to the sealant. Aside from sealing the pavers to protect them, occasionally adding sand to the joints will ensure that there is no movement of the pavers. Tile needs to be sealed to protect it, as well as touching up any loose or missing grout will ensure that the tile lasts for many years.
Grout or no grout
In tile applications, grout is most likely required. Depending on the type of and style of the tile, grout selection is important. On pavers, it is not recommended the usage of grout.
Many people remodeling their pool will require coping. This is a special piece of material usually with one end rounded off to create a bull nose. This adds aesthetic value and eliminates any sharp or hard edges around the perimeter of the pool. While, the bull nose is popular, the same effect can be achieved simply using tumbled 6x12 pavers while saving a lot of money on production costs, as each bull nose must be hewn by hand. Pool coping comes in many forms and shapes ranging from 1” thickness to even more than 2 ¾ of an inch. There is also specialty coping applications such a remodel coping pieces which are pieces of natural machined carved to crate “L” shapes natural pavers that can be overlaid on top of existing pool copings.
Transportation: Crates vs. Pallets
The primary difference in shipping boils down to the material. Tile is stacked upright and packed in a crate with foam inserts to protect the tiles. Pavers, however, are stacked lying down in pallets or cubes. Each way of packaging is designed to best protect the product being shipped.