Friday, August 10, 2012

FAQ: Can I Use Granite Outdoors?

You think that stone comes from the outside, so you should always be able to use it outdoors right?
The answer?  It depends.
In California, yes.
In Utah, no.
Anywhere that has freeze/ thaw conditions you need to be careful about which stones you put outside.  There are certain stones that just don't hold up with all the freezing/ expanding/ thawing.  Ask you fabricator or supplier if that stone can go outside before you buy!  The same goes for all types of tile.
If you live in an area with freeze/thaw don't fret though.  There are plenty of options!

The photo above is an outdoor bench that we did here in Utah a few years ago.  It's holding up great!

Here are a few more tips for exterior stone use in freeze/thaw areas of the world...
  • Make sure your fabricator uses an exterior glue for all edges and during the installation.  This is so important!  I've seen many outdoor projects fall apart due to other fabricators lack of experience and/or forgetfulness.
  • If you can cover the area in the winter it will hold up much better.
  • The more coverage the granite gets year round the better.  Awnings, umbrellas, whatever...anything to limit exposure to the elements helps!
  • When using black or dark granites outdoors keep in mind that if the sun is shining directly on it, the granite will get HOT!  People ask me how hot?  REALLY hot, like you can't touch it hot.  Trust me on this one.
  • Avoid a laminated edge detail if possible.  Even using exterior glues, it is always better if there isn't a laminated edge.  We do laminated edges all the time outdoors (see kitchen below) but over time it seems like a laminated edge is the first thing that always needs to be repaired.
Photo: MGS by Design
Above is a beautiful outdoor kitchen that we installed here in Utah. 
The granite is Blue Pearl.  The edge detail is a 5" Miter.

If you have a design or stone related question you'd like to see answered here send me an email.

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