A Guide To Using Natural Stone Outdoors

A Guide To Using Natural Stone Outdoors

Beholding some of the world’s greatest beauty, natural stone creates an ambiance of luxury and elegance in any space. Installing natural stone in an outdoor space will also help you create a beautiful aesthetic for your patio or any outdoor area.

You might think there would be challenges to working with natural stone outdoors. However, they are really only minor and you shouldn't let them stop you from using and enjoying this exquisite, organic material to elevate your outdoor space. We will explore the use of natural stone outdoors in more depth in this article, specifically looking at granite and marble.

Can I Use Natural Stone Outdoors?

Yes! Artificial stone and granite are two of the most popular and well known types of stone used outside. It is a common misconception that you can’t use marble outdoors due to it being less durable. However, you can in fact use certain kinds of marble outside. For reference, just think about any street you may walk down in Italy. Italy is immersed in stunning architecture that uses marble, and of course, some of those structures have been standing for centuries!

Granite and Marble for Outdoor Use

If you’re not too familiar with the way natural stone works outdoors, you may assume that you can use any natural stone outside. However, that is not true as not every type of natural stone will stand up well to the outside elements. And if you have some knowledge of natural stone, then it’s possible that you may think you can only use granite outdoors and not marble. This is due to the fact that it is commonly assumed that only granite is durable enough to be used in outdoor spaces. Yes, granite is highly durable which means that you can basically use almost any type of granite outside.   But, again, as mentioned earlier in the article, you can in fact use marble outside; however, you should use certain types as some may not be suitable to endure outside conditions. Ultimately, both granite and many types of marble will need a little maintenance, and will work well outdoors with the proper care. 

The other thing to keep in mind is the appearance of marble vs granite. The most desired look for natural stone is the classic marble appearance, usually white in color with prominent striations and veining, that create a supremely elegant and luxe aesthetic. However, the thing to understand is that you’re never going to find a granite that looks like marble. While it also has a beautiful and organic look, granite usually has a more speckled appearance than that of marble. 

How to Choose the Right Natural Stone Tile for Your Outdoor Space

Choosing the Right Finish

When you are considering which kinds of natural stone tile to choose for your outdoor space, it is important to consider how the materials will stand up to the elements as well as foot traffic. For instance, you will need to choose the right finish for your natural stone that will work best outdoors.

While you can use marble outdoors, it is best to refrain from polished marble and to choose a rougher finish such as a tumbled or leather/ brushed finish. The polished finish can easily erode in time due to weather conditions and when it is wet, the material can become very slippery which would be especially potentially dangerous to small kids or the elderly.  Karen Pearse Home also has a special honed finish that passes slip resistant requirements.

Similarly to marble, you will again want to choose a more durable finish for granite such as the honed or leathered finish that are both more slip-resistant than a smoother finish such as the polished finish. Again, the rougher finish is recommended for outdoor spaces, as it is both a safer option that won't potentially present as much of a hazard as a polished finish might and it will be long-lasting, enduring through the elements as long as it is properly sealed. 

Consider the Size of Your Space

When you are choosing your natural stone tile, you may also want to think about the size of the space you are working within your outdoor area. The various sizes of tile bring their own benefits. For instance, bigger tiles help to maximize the space in the area, making it feel larger and more spacious. With smaller tiles, you have more freedom in arranging them to create a mosaic pattern achieving the desired ambiance in your outdoor area.