5 Steps to Planning Your Natural Stone Project

Whether you are building a stone patio, walkway or retaining wall, there is planning involved to ensure your project goes smoothly. Taking the time to prepare can save trips to the landscape supply store and help you make sure you complete your project correctly the first time. Here are five steps to plan your natural stone project to save time and money.

Choose the Type of Stone

There are many options in natural stone. Flagstone, fieldstone, ashlar and travertine are some of the options available. Plus, each type can come in a variety of colors. Flagstone and travertine are popular for patios and walkways; fieldstone and river rock are great for natural retaining walls or fire pits. Know what you want to use before you head to the supply store.

Choose the Cut

There are many different types of cuts of stone. You can choose cobblestones or rubble cuts for building pits or walls, or thin, flat cuts for paved surfaces. Research what will work best for your project.

Will You Need Mortar or Sand?

Most stone projects will require mortar or sand to fill between the stone slabs. Add this to your shopping list and determine how much you will need for your project.

Do You Need Any Tools?

There are not many tools needed for most stone projects, but you may need a shovel to dig out your surface area or a trowel for applying mortar.

Will You Need Framing Materials?

Some patios, pits or walkways may need wood framing boards that are pressure treated to create the borders. You will need to cut these to size.

The old adage, “measure twice, cut once” also applies to stone projects. Take the time to plan your project to limit trips back and forth to the supply store, getting all the items you will need at one time. This will save you time and minimize the cost for an efficient DIY project.

Posted on behalf of:
Alliance Stone
5420 Campground Rd
Cumming, GA 30040
(404) 759-0617

Choosing the Right Polymer for Your Stone Pavers

Are you finally getting started building that patio or walkway that you have been dreaming of for your outdoor area? If you decided to attempt to build your paved area yourself, you have a few choices to make. Are you going to use natural stone pavers or man-made? What colors or type of pavers will work best for your design? Then finally, what polymer should you buy to fill in between those pavers? As important as the pavers are, without the right polymer your pavers will not last so it is important to know your best options.

Why Polymer?

You may be wondering why you need polymer at all to pave. After all, won’t sand work just as well? Actually, in most cases, no. Sand will fill in the cracks but it also needs to be sealed, erodes quicker and does not control weeds as well. Polymer is quicker, more efficient and can last much longer than sand.

There are many types of polymer products available for paving but there are two that can work well for most paving projects: gator dust or polymeric sand. For wider cracks, gator dust is the best solution. It can quickly be used to fill the cracks then creates a solid mortar when water is added. For fine or thin cracks, polymer sand can be used to keep pavers in place and prevent weed growth.

When you get ready to purchase your pavers from your local landscape supply store, make sure to also ask what polymer products they carry. They can help you determine which will work best for your needs and how much polymer filler will be required to complete your paved area.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Brothers Earth Works
680 Franklin Rd, SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 590-8220

Choosing Mortar For Your Hardcape

When you are at your landscaping supply center loading up on stone for your next outdoor hardscaping project, don’t forget to swing by the accessories and supplies area and pick up the right mortar for the job.  Whether you are installing a new outdoor kitchen, retaining wall, or other hardscape, you will need to choose the right type of mortar for your project.  Mortar is made from Portland cement, lime, sand and water.  The relative amount of each ingredient affects the bonding strength, compressive strength, flexibility, and shrinkage.

Type M mortar has the highest compressive strength and is used primarily for load bearing walls or below grade masonry work such as retaining walls where high compression strength is desirable.  Type S mortar has moderate compression strength, but higher bonding strength than Type M mortar.

Type N mortar has even lower compression strength, but excellent bonding strength and resistance to shrinkage and cracking.  It is commonly used for exterior or interior above grade walls.  You may also encounter type O or type K mortar.  These are low strength mortars typically used for tuckpointing or other masonry repair work.

One other type of mortar is refractory mortar which is specially formulated to be resistant to high temperatures.  It is used to set firebrick that lines the inside of fireplaces.

When choosing a mortar for any outdoor landscaping project, a general rule of thumb is to use the lowest strength mortar that will do the job.  Many landscaping professionals recommend using Type N mortar for most mortar work unless there is some reason that higher compression strength is needed. It’s combination of good compression strength, high bonding strength, flexibility and resistance to shrinkage and weather make Type N mortar a great all round choice.