The term stone decking has started being used more and more over the last couple of years. So, what exactly does it mean and what are the benefits of a stone deck?
Everyone is familiar with the concept of a deck – a framed structure of either wood, steel or aluminium, floated or supported by a footing system, and clad with wood or composite decking. A stone deck is a similar concept, but it is clad using stone instead of wood or composite decking. The benefit of a stone deck is realized through creating a virtually maintenance free surface that will last a lifetime. Stone is durable, has a natural look, and it’s beauty just increases with age!
Certain decking materials can take a beating in the Canadian climate. Sun, rain, and freeze-thaw cycles are a wood decks’ worst enemy, forcing a homeowner to spend time and money on a regular basis to strip, stain and seal to maintain the desired look. Composite decking claims to be maintenance free and long lasting but the elements also affect this material, leading to cracking, splitting, peeling and warping over time. The benefits of a stone deck are obvious in this case – stones are not affected by the elements and maintaining a stone deck is as simple as using a pressure washer to clean off the dirt. It is not recommended to use a pressure washer to clean a wood or composite deck as it will lift the wood fibers or damage the wood finish on the composite.
The traditional method of installing an interlock “stone deck” would be by excavating, base preparation using granular materials and building stone walls to support the granular and then the stone. This method of construction involves tedious labor or machinery, moving materials out and then replacing them with granular, and is more susceptible to the Canadian elements over time. With the products available today, it is easy to realize the benefits of a stone deck that does not rely on this type of base preparations that can be affected by freeze-thaw cycles. A stone decks’ framed structure is supported by either concrete or mechanical footings that are positioned well below the frost line. Originally, stone decks were created by attaching plywood to the top of the framing. This technique is considered subpar and can lead to wood rotting and stone sagging.
Several companies have developed unique products to help homeowners or contractors create a stone deck quickly and cost effectively. StoneDeks SicaGrates and Evolutiondeck’s Tiledeck are two products that are attached directly to a traditional wood deck framing, and directly support the desired stone. Evolutiondeck’s Paverdeck is a product that incorporates the framing and is ready to have the stone laid directly onto it. Stonedeks Silca Soil Grid and Alliance Gator Base are soil based stabilizing products that scientifically reduce the installation times for stone patios. Bison and Eternoivica Pedestal systems allow you to create a beautiful maintenance free living space on any flat rooftop, which is perfect for certain urban settings.
Regardless which of these innovative products you use, the real benefits of a stone deck are indisputable, particularly given its flexibility. You can create a stone deck on the ground, elevated, second story or on top of a rooftop. It can be built to allow for storage underneath and easy access to mechanicals such as a hot tub for example. When compared to traditional stone installation methods, a stone deck is cost effective and withstands the Canadian elements beautifully. It will last a lifetime and a stone deck is the closest you will get to a zero maintenance, beautiful outdoor living space. Welcome to the stone deck revolution.