Natural stone not only has a beauty that is impossible to duplicate in man-made products, many stones also have a texture that makes them excellent in wet areas such as pool decks. When homeowners want to have a natural-looking product in their pool or garden, and want a texture that can help enhance the area, they often turn to natural stone. There can be some concerns with using stone products in these areas, however, that they should be aware of before installation.
Natural stone is porous, which means that it absorbs moisture and water. In an outdoor environment, and particularly a pool environment, stone will absorb water on a regular basis. In some cases this is fine, but some stones may discolor over time, particularly if there are minerals present in the water that could be absorbed by the stone along with the water.
All stone can be sealed to help protect it from discoloration, and if desired the homeowner can use an impregnating sealer whenever it is noticed that water is no longer beading up off of the surface of the stone.
Another concern involves stone used outdoors in freeze/thaw environments. When the stone absorbs water and then freezes, the water expands which could cause the stone to develop cracks over time, particularly if there are natural fissures in the material.
An alternative to using natural stone products in wet and outdoor environments is to use cast stone products instead. Cast stone is a mixture of stone and resins, which render the finished product non-porous. Cast stone pavers could be installed in or around a pool without worrying about staining or freeze/thaw conditions, and many cast stone products have the same texture and beauty of natural stone as well.
Natural stone is always a great choice in terms of color, texture, and beauty. When using it outdoors, take care to preserve these traits to ensure it lasts as long as possible.