In recent years stone decks have become more popular than ever, as Canadians strive to enjoy the outdoors but don’t want the extra maintenance of a wood deck. To review, a stone deck is a structure framed with either wood, steel or aluminum, supported by a footing system or floated, and cladded in stone. The benefit of a stone deck is a virtually maintenance-free surface that will last a lifetime.
Now let’s discuss the steps to laying a Stone Deck. The first thing you must decide is the style and type of stone you wish to use. The style of stone that is being used will determine the weight, which will dictate the structure needed to be built or how an existing structure is to be retrofitted. Depending on the materials used to build the structure, virtually any available stone, paver or porcelain tile on the market can be used. However, thanks to products like Silca System, Tiledeck and Paverdeck, thinner cladding stone can be used successfully since no compaction is required. Typically, a cladding stone is between 45-57mm in thickness.
The next important step to laying a Stone Deck is to determine the footing structure you will use. Depending on the design of the stone deck, its elevation and soil conditions will determine whether to use footings or to float the stone deck using base blocks, as well as the placement location and number required. For those do-it-yourselfers, you can turn to the manufactures or distributors’ websites for guidance. For example, Stone Deck Innovations, a distributor of many stone decking products, has design and load tables and specifications on their website that will help you determine what you need.
Now that you have decided on the stone you wish to use and the best footing supports for your project, the next steps to laying a Stone Deck is to determine the best framing structure to use for your deck. There are those who would suggest using wood framing joists, with plywood on top, followed by a waterproofing membrane, then laying the stone. This quite frankly is an old and outdated method of building a stone deck, lacking durability and flexibility. The only reason to use a waterproof membrane should be to create a dry area under your deck. Having to use one to protect the plywood makes no sense and will drive up the cost. With innovative products such as Paverdeck, Tiledeck and Silca System, creating a stone deck can be quick and easy. Each product has its own unique characteristics and benefits – you just need to find which one will work best for you.
The next steps to laying a Stone Deck is to take into consideration the installation of railings or stairs. Any blocking or supports for railing posts should be installed at the framing stage. If you are planning a multilevel deck with connecting stairs, any connecting bracket supports should be installed at this stage as well. If using a wood joist frame, you may want to incorporate joist guard tape. The cost is minimal, and installation is quick and easy giving your stone deck an extra level of protection.
Another important step to laying a Stone Deck is to determine what if any side cladding you wish to use. The possibilities are endless, and depending on the layout of your space and design of your stone deck you may opt to keep it open on the sides. But if you are planning to close it in, at this point you would frame the perimeter similar to building framing walls. This will support the cladding material, which may include cement board if cladding with a veneer stone. It is important to install the side cladding before installing the stone, as the side cladding will determine how much of the perimeter stones are to overhang.
The final step to laying a Stone Deck is to install your stone to the desired pattern. Depending on the style of stone selected, a polymeric sand can be applied between the joints of the stone. Once the stone is in place any railings can now be installed.
Obviously, these steps to laying a Stone Deck are main points of consideration, but be sure to consult with a trusted supplier, as there are lots of outlying points to take into consideration.