Natural Stone Is Still The Best For Long Life
The advantages of granite paving over composite materials. How granite offers durability, low maintenance, safety, flexibility and a wide range of natural appearances.
It’s perhaps not being overly dramatic to say the choice of paving is one of the most important aspects of your garden once you’ve established the preferred layout. While plants, garden furniture and even turf can be moved around and altered, replacing paving is far more disruptive and expensive if you make the wrong decision.
Also, the paving is an aspect of your garden you’ll interact with far more than other elements. You’ll walk on the paving most times you’re in the garden whereas you might not use the garden furniture or walk on the lawn every day, so the choice of paving becomes even more important. There are pros and cons for various natural and composite materials, but granite ticks many boxes.
Granite – the Natural choice
Basically, you have two broad choices of paving materials:
- Quarried stone such as slate and granite – this is dug out and shaped by cutting, splitting or crushing
- Composite materials such as precast concrete and brick – this is moulded and processed when soft then fired before being allowed to dry
As a form of natural stone, granite is an ideal choice. You’ve probably walked extensively on granite surfaces, whether in older towns or modern ones – granite has been an established stone of choice going back centuries and is still a popular stone in new town centres.
Benefits of Granite Varied appearances
you can get granite in various different colour and styles, and it has the added benefit of blending in naturally with the surrounding space. Its variation in pigmentation gives it a far more natural look than the uniform and characterless look of a surface such as concrete. If anything, granite tends to improve in appearance over time as natural weathering occurs.
composite materials such as concrete and asphalt can crack in certain conditions, brick can deteriorate through chipping, and gravel will shift over time. Granite, by contrast, will almost certainly not crack, flake or chip – indeed, granite paving slabs are rated as around four times stronger than concrete. Granite is more resistant to frost damage compared to composite materials.
As above granite is far more resistant to natural wear, and other routine issues such as spillages can be dealt with far more easily. Spillages that might require extensive cleaning on concrete or brick surfaces would likely only need a far simpler clean up with granite. In general, granite requires nothing more than a simple hose down from time to time whereas surfaces such as gravel would require re-distribution – due to it being moved due to general use – and maybe weeding. Surfaces like concrete may require deep cleaning and maybe re-sealing over time.
while natural stone may be more expensive than composites initially, when the long term savings such as lack of maintenance and longevity are taken into account the gap closes considerably over time and may even become non-existent. Add to this the potential for the property to be worth more, or at least increase its ‘kerb appeal,’ when potential buyers realise a long lasting natural stone has been used, then granite makes much financial sense.
Granite has a naturally non-slip surface which makes it safer to walk on even when damp so it’s ideal for patios and around swimming pools.
while the right type and base may be required, granite can withstand weight and be appropriate for a wide variety of applications. Therefore, it can be used in areas of vehicle traffic such as driveways and used in pathways, patios and pool sides in both residential and commercial settings.
The ideal surface
It’s clear granite is an excellent choice for durability, low maintenance, flexibility, appearance and even – perhaps surprisingly – cost effectiveness. The final stage is to make sure you talk to a natural stone expert who can show you the different types of granite available and give advice on the best way of laying it based on your requirements.
Matt Coussens is the director of Milestone Supplies, which provide Roofing, Natural Stone and Reclaimed products.