As with most things found in nature; it is hard to beat the appearance and durability of natural stone.
Used for literally thousands of years, natural stone has been utilized both for indoor and outdoor decoration of floors, walkways, interior, and exterior walls, facing fireplaces, and the list goes on.
Ontario specifically, and Canada in general are particularly blessed with an abundance of many popular varieties of natural stone. Natural stone is among the best choices for use as landscaping stones and as an exterior finishing or accent material.
Using natural stone for both indoor and outdoor projects pays dividends as the products never go out of style. Installing natural stone speaks to the quality and is perhaps one of the most enduring products on the planet.
Consider the installation of a granite pathway leading to a backyard entertainment area, also having a granite exterior “floor”. The random cut stones with their varied shades from pink hues to black with jade-like streaks appearing on the surfaces, and with no two pieces exactly alike; yet appearing seamless together. The sparkling greys look rich both under sunlight or when wet as the darker shades pop.
When discussing exterior patios and living /kitchen areas; few competing products appear as high-end as a natural stone choice.
The key when undertaking such work is to hire the right masons for such a job. Working with stone requires patience. The talent required in laying any natural stone lies in the cutting and fitting of the pieces to create a uniform and superior finished appearance.
For exterior stonework on patios and walkways, it is important to dig deep enough to install enough aggregate and to compact it well to avoid heaving from frost, or joint separation. Exterior stonework can be laid dry or can be installed into a bed of mortar; such as is commonly observed on front entrance pathways.
Limestone and Sandstone are also popular landscaping stone choices for facing exterior patio bars, fireplaces, and surround pool decks.
With so many local choices available; the consumer can have a tough time visualizing and selecting the appropriate natural stone choice for their application. Some tips to simplify the process include first identifying the most dominant exterior features of the home.
As an example, if the home has a multi-coloured brick with predominantly red and brown hues; it would be suggested to select a solid coloured natural stone with brown tones. This would result in the stonework accenting the largest visual feature of the home.
As another example; a light grey stucco exterior on the home would benefit from choosing a darker tone grey stone, or a combination of lighter and darker stone mixed. The result would be a contrasting effect that would make the walkway pop, especially in combination with a complementary darker shade of grey paint being applied on exterior doors and trim.
As a general rule of thumb; if the home has earth tone colours such as beige, brown, olive, green, etc.; then you want to select landscape stone that also has earth tone shades like Sandstone or Humber stone.
In the stucco home example; natural grey or black slate and even granite would create a dramatic effect.
When visiting a stone quarry or stone supplier, it is a good idea to obtain paint colour swatches relating to your exterior house colours, or the new colour scheme one intends to have completed on the home if renovating.
It is equally advised to harvest samples of the stone choices and bring them back home where they can be observed in the context of the actual living environment; accounting for sunlight and to permit careful personal consideration of the stone choices.
Once a client has narrowed down their choice of natural landscape or exterior house finish stone, it is time to enlist the services of a stone mason.
Measurements and a diagram should be created to detail the shape and square footage of the areas to have stonework installed. The mason will then get the client’s approval of the design and it’d related elements and products to be used.
The mason will source and supply the project materials and have them shipped to site. Where possible the masons will try to source directly from the quarries, however, some natural stone products are only available through authorized suppliers, as many quarries are not equipped to deal with the general public or individual contractors.
When installing natural stone products on the exterior of a property, service locates must be completed in the event excavation must take place. In some areas, a permit may be required if the stone build will involve structural elements, such as installing stone on an exterior wall, constructing supporting roof columns, chimneys, or exterior fireplaces as an example.
The nature of the work is such that materials are heavy, and moving stone products from front to back of properties can be labour intensive, require machinery, and in some instances involve removal of fencing in order to get stone materials and aggregates to the appropriate site location.
The property owner should be prepared for dust and dirt as well as some disruption while such projects are underway. The good news is that the finished results are typically well worth the investment in time and money.
Completing such work can provide value in excess of one hundred years, and so one can consider the investment one that will pay dividends for decades. Stonework represents timeless craftsmanship.
Today some of the most popular requests involving natural stone include; outdoor fire pits and seating areas, stone barbeques and pizza ovens, outdoor fireplaces, and stone path ways and walkways. Also commonly requested is the installation or retrofit of exterior walls, piers, and columns, and the re-facing of brick indoor fireplaces with stone.
If one cares to venture beyond the more typical stone options which are available in Southern Ontario, it is suggested to consider natural stone options which are available in Central and Northern Ontario.
In particular, areas such as Owen Sound, Sudbury, Ramara, Elliot Lake, and other communities throughout the province are an excellent source of varied choice when seeking a unique type of stone product.
Stone sourced near Sudbury as an example can exhibit vibrant colours with great variation as a result of its high ore content. The choices are many, and for some people have meaning as it reminds them of a community or an area where one grew up. The fun in selecting stone for a project can involve weekend trips to explore the Province of Ontario to find just the right stone.
To learn more about an exterior or interior natural stonework or other masonry requirements, visit: www.avenueroadmasonry.com or view us on Facebook™ and Instagram™