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What are the Pros and Cons of Natural Stone Pavers?

By Vasanth S.
Updated May 16, 2024
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Natural stone pavers have several advantages over other types of patio pavers, but they also have a few disadvantages. They are available in a variety of colors, sizes, and patterns, and in most cases, they are more natural looking than manufactured pavers. Unfortunately, most absorb moisture readily, which can lead to cracks and other problems.

There are several types of natural stone pavers to select from. Whether it is granite, limestone, or travertine, each material offers a wide selection of pavers that differs in size, color, pattern, and finish. The initial planning for a large paving job becomes easier because there is bound to be a selection that matches the design of the home.

Granite, for example, is available in flamed gray or flamed gold. It is cut into several sizes, including 8 by 8 inches (20.32 by 20.32 cm), 8 by 16 inches (20.32 by 40.64 cm), 16 by 16 inches (40.64 by 40.64 cm), 16 by 24 inches (40.64 by 60.96 cm), and 24 by 24 inches (60.96 by 60.96 cm). Most companies offer stones that are cut to size as well. Granite is available in a number of finishes including polished, honed, and sandblasted. Additionally, there are many patterns for installation, including ashlar, herringbone, and running bond.

Natural stone pavers can be set directly in soil with little preparation. They can also be set in sand on top of existing concrete. One disadvantage is that the surface of the patio may not be completely flat.

Another advantage of natural stone over concrete or brick is the overall appearance of the finished installation. It has a much more natural appearance than manufactured paving; the large number of natural options can ensure that the customer gets the desired look. Moreover, the property value of the house tends to increases dramatically with a patio that is paved with natural stones. Concrete and brick, in contrast, seldom increase the value of the home as much.

The installation time for natural stone pavers is generally less than for concrete because the stones are cut to a specific thickness and size. Installation cost therefore is generally lower. The actual cost of the natural stone is, however, typically much more expensive than concrete or brick.

A disadvantage of natural stone is that it tends to absorb moisture much more easily than concrete or brick. Moisture within the stones can freeze during the winter and cause the pavers to break. This leaves a noticeable crack on the surface of the stone, which can reduce the appeal of the overall patio appearance.

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Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On Jun 22, 2013

@Mor - It depends on the kind of paving slabs you're getting though. There are a lot of natural stones that will be perfectly safe even in the ice. I'd say more than concrete even, since concrete paving stones tend to be quite slick and glossy.

But if you are worried, there are finishes that you can buy at the store which will make a slick surface safer to walk on.

By Mor — On Jun 21, 2013

I think it's very important to make sure that your natural stone tiles are not going to be too slippery. Often they have been polished to look a certain way and that doesn't take into account the fact that people need to be able to walk over them without taking a fall in all conditions.

I tend to wear flip flops a lot, which don't have much of a grip at the bottom, and I've fallen more than one on tiles that didn't have a safe surface for walking.

This is particularly true if you have children, since they will be running all over the place and will be the first ones to fall if you haven't made sure that they will be safe.

By bythewell — On Jun 21, 2013

A few cracks doesn't look that bad really, if you are really going for a natural look. You just have to make sure your paving stones are still safe to walk on and that the crack isn't so big it's going to start growing a small garden of weeds in the middle of your stone.

This is more of a problem in areas which get cold enough for the stones to freeze like that. I imagine if you're really worried about it, you could put them under a tree or something that would create a micro-climate and make them less likely to freeze.

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