Over the last couple of years, the term stone decking is being used more and more. So, what exactly is it and what are the benefits of a stone deck?
Most people are familiar with the concept of a deck – a structure framed with either wood, steel or aluminium, supported by a footing system or floated, and clad with wood or composite decking. A stone deck is a similar concept, except instead of using wood or composite decking, you clad the deck using stone. The benefit of a stone deck is realized by creating a virtually maintenance-free surface that will last a lifetime. Stone has a natural look, is durable, and aging just increases its beauty!
The Canadian climate can wreak havoc on certain decking materials. Sun, rain, and freeze-thaw cycles are a wood decks’ worst enemy, forcing a homeowner to spend time and money on a regular basis on stains and sealers to maintain the desired look. Composite decking claims to be maintenance-free and long-lasting but is also affected by the elements, which can lead to cracking, splitting, peeling and warping over time. The benefits of a stone deck are that 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. Using a pressure washer to clean a wood or composite deck is not recommended as it will lift the wood fibers or damage the wood finish on the composite.
A traditional interlock “stone deck” would be created by excavation, 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. The benefits of a stone deck are it 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.
Over the years several companies have developed unique products to help the homeowner or contractor create a stock deck quickly and cost-effectively. StoneDeks SicaGrates and Evolutiondeck’s Tiledeck are two products that utilize a traditional wood deck framing, are attached directly to the framing, and directly support the desired stone. Evolutiondeck’s Paverdeck is a product that has the framing incorporated and is ready to have the stone laid directly onto it. Both 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 if you choose to use any of these innovative products or not, the real benefits of a stone deck are indisputable, particularly given its flexibility. A stone deck can be created 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. A stone deck is cost-effective when compared to traditional stone installation methods and it 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 stone deck innovations.