Choosing natural stone: Top 5 things to consider
Choosing natural stone for your project can be daunting. These tips will help you find the right stone for the application without compromise.
12 December, 2017
When choosing natural stone there are several things to consider beyond whether you like the stone’s appearance. You’ll want to ensure you’re choosing the right stone for the location and application. You’ll what to know the finish is appropriate for livability and aesthetics, as well as whether the colour and textural variation will suit the design of your space.
Things to consider when choosing natural stone
If you’re just starting the process of choosing natural stone for your home, here are 5 of the top things you should consider before you make your selection.
Where the stone is to be laid will greatly determine which type of stone is suitable and the finish. Will it be used internally or externally? Is the space a wet area or dry? Will it be exposed to heavy foot traffic, need to be slip resistant or in a place exposed to constant heat?
- Outdoor areas: consider how the stone will weather the elements from rain and sunshine to pollution and chemicals, especially if poolside. Alos, consider how slip resistant the natural stone is.
- Internal entrances and stairs: take into account the high level of constant foot traffic.
- Kitchen spaces: opt for a head wearing stone that will age well against spillage, heat and traffic. Consider the appropriate sealing for the application.
- Bathroom and wet areas: consider how well the stone will perform against soap scum, dirt and oils, as well as its slip-resistant qualities.
If you’re are choosing natural stone for use in a structural application, you’ll need to ensure the stone can perform to maintain structural integrity. Regardless of whether the stone is a structural element or purely decorative, you’ll also need to consider whether the weight of the stone correlates with the architecture.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Is the stone supporting a structure such as a retaining wall in the garden?
- Can the stone support the weight of the structure?
- Has the structure been designed to support the weight of the stone?
- Can the stone be accessed for sealing or maintenance purposes?
- Is the stone the right thickness and dimensions for the desired application?
Colour and textural variation
Your requirements may help choosing natural stone based on colour much easier as it can reduce your options to a more manageable amount. There are an endless variety of options when it comes to the colour and textural variations in stone. You can opt for a relatively consistent tonal palette with minimal variation in stones such as Melbourne Bluestone or Duro Limestone. Or you can choose a stone that has more movement and tonal variation such as Lichen Split Stone or Mitta Mitta Dry Stone walling.
Some of the key things to consider are:
- Does the colour/texture work with the scale of your space?
- How does the stone look in similar light levels and types i.e. natural or artificial?
- Does the colour/texture highlight or minimise the appearance of dirt, dust or stains?
- Does it help make the room feel warm or cold?
- Will the stone’s tonal variations suit the decor and architecture of the space?
- Will the stone’s colour/texture sit will next to adjoining materials i.e. cabinetry, internal flooring?
The purpose of installing natural stone will greatly dictate what finish you will require. For example, you may opt for a bush hammered Granite finish outdoors to provide a non-slip surface and the same stone honed indoors for a smooth finish.
Things to consider when it comes to the stone’s finish:
- Is the stone only decorative or does it have a functional purpose
- Will the stone be installed in a wet area?
- Do you require a level of slip resistance?
- Is the stone being installed in a high or low traffic area?
- Do you want the stone to be matt or have a slightly polished finish?
- Will the stone be installed in an area exposed to dirt?
- Will the stone be installed in an area exposed to regular spills?
- Is the stone located in an area that’s easy to clean?
Ensuring you’re selecting quality stone is important not only for the aesthetics of your space but also the structural integrity and durability. You’ll want to make sure the stone finish and the thickness of the pavers are consistent. The finish of the stone tile’s edge is another sign of quality with a rough, sharp edge being of inferior quality. If you are opting for a tone with tonal variation, checking that there is an even spread of tones rather than a majority of one colour tone is important. You’ll want to ensure you’re using a quality sealant recommended for your type of stone and application.