The natural stone gives the outdoor area an unmistakable charm. A terrace or balcony with stone tiles looks noble and natural. However, if you decide to do this, you have to reckon with a great deal of effort in laying and maintaining it. A cheap and practical alternative to this is the stone carpet – a floor covering made from marble pebbles and polyurethane resin. We explain how you lay a stone carpet and what possible uses there are for it outdoors.
1. Buy a stone carpet or make it yourself?
The stone carpet is made from small grains of natural stone (mostly marble and quartz) with artificially rounded edges and polyurethane resin, which serves as a binding agent. You can find prefabricated slabs in the hardware store, but the real stone carpet is laid in a similar way to a screed. Not only the appearance speaks in favor of seamless installation, but also the longevity of the covering.
The stone carpet is offered in three grain sizes. The fine grain has a layer thickness of 8 mm and a weight per unit area of 14 kg / m². The large grain has a layer thickness of 10 mm and a weight per unit area of 26 kg / m². The layer thickness and the weight per unit area of the medium grain size vary depending on the manufacturer.
In the past, the stone carpet was only used outdoors, nowadays it is also used indoors as a floor covering for heavily used rooms. In today’s post we take a closer look at the outdoor uses.
1.1. On which surface can you put a stone carpet??
In the outdoor area, the stone carpet is used, among other things, as a covering for the terrace, balcony, entrance area, driveway and as a pool border. In order for the end result to last really long, the underground is of great importance. This should be dry on the day of installation, sealed beforehand, load-bearing and clean. Suitable substrates include concrete and concrete slabs, sloping screed and some pavement slabs made of porcelain stoneware or natural stone. If you want to lay an outdoor staircase with a stone carpet, then wood, natural stone and metal are also possible.
The first step in laying a stone carpet is preparation. An absorbent surface must first be treated with a special floor primer for stone carpets and a non-absorbent surface must first be sealed with a special agent for stone carpets. The temperatures outside should be between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius.
1.2. Laying the stone carpet yourself: instructions
Laying stone carpets is not an overly difficult task. If you have already laid the screed, you will surely succeed. You need the following materials for laying: a special floor primer for stone carpets (depending on the type of surface), a stone carpet mix of marble and / or quartz, a binding agent (polyurethane resin) and a surface strengthening for natural stone. Store the materials in a dry place for 2-3 days (especially the stones must not be placed wet). You also need the following accessories: work safety (gloves, protective goggles, suitable protective clothing, rubber boots), a mortar mixer, a peeling plate or squeegee, a paint roller.
1. Clean the surface during the day, let it dry and seal it with the special agent for stone carpets.
2. The binder consists of resin and hardener. After the two materials are mixed, you must use it immediately.
3. Put the marble pebbles in a mortar bucket and add the binding agent. Mix everything well with the mortar mixer.
4. Distribute the finished stone-binder mix evenly on the floor and smooth it out with a trowel.
The stone carpet takes 1-2 days to harden. During this period it must not be moistened or stepped on. The temperatures should be between 15 ° and 30 ° Celsius.
1.3. Stone carpet sealing
If you want to make the stone carpet weatherproof, then you should seal it. Apply the surface solidification with a paint roller and let it dry for a week. You can also seal stone carpets that have already been laid, but you have to let the protective agent dry for several days. Only then can the area be walked on and driven on again. So choose a sunny day and apply the sealer early in the morning.
1.4. Stone carpet colors and patterns
The stone carpet is much more than a functional covering for the terrace and balcony. There are numerous colors to choose from in the hardware store. However, only choose natural colors – colored pebbles will fade or yellow over time.
The combination of two or more colors can create interesting patterns. There are also manufacturers who sell prefabricated elements such as a compass or a star. But you can also realize an individual project. For the terrace, balcony or garden path, there is the option of incorporating LED strips into the surface.
1.5. Clean the stone carpet
The stone carpet can be cleaned quickly and easily. Heavily used areas such as garden paths and outside stairs should be cleaned thoroughly at least three times a year. You should clean the balcony and terrace at the beginning and end of the gardening season. You can vacuum up dust and dirt (with the exception of grease and stains) or sweep it with a broom. You can clean grease and stains with a soft brush and mild soap. Stubborn deposits can be removed with a stone carpet cleaner. Then rinse the area with the garden hose. Avoid using pressure washers and floor cleaning machines. These could damage the stone carpet. Even a steam vacuum cleaner should only be used if the manufacturer allows it.
2. Laying the stone carpet outside: possible uses
A stone carpet is not the first choice for many when it comes to a flooring for outdoors. In which cases does it make sense to lay a stone carpet?
1. A terrace renovation is necessary. A weathered plank floor, tiles with cracks, loose concrete slabs and leaky joints: If the old flooring is unsightly or even broken, then the terrace needs to be renovated. The stone carpet is a variant that saves time and effort. The stone carpet can be applied directly over the old surface.
2. You want to create a comfortable seating area in the garden and need a covering with an irregular shape. Instead of cutting wooden floorboards and tiles, you can simply compact the subsurface, pour concrete and then lay the stone carpet.
3. When you want to build a terrace but the ground level is too high. The floor covering should have a low installation height so that the patio door can open.
2. 1. Stone carpet for the terrace
Wetness, frost and heat: a terrace covering has to be able to withstand a lot. The stone carpet is weatherproof and also suitable for use as a pool border. However, it should not be installed near an open fireplace. The fire bowl and the garden grill are therefore out of place on the stone carpet.
Otherwise the floor covering is quite undemanding and can be cleaned quickly. There is also no need to weed because the stone carpet has no joints.
2.2. Stone carpet for the balcony
The stone carpet is also ideal for the balcony at home. It is particularly suitable for uncovered balconies with a larger area. However, a floating seal is essential for the balcony. If you do not want to remove the old floor covering, then you should definitely seek advice from a professional regarding the installation.
2.3. Stone carpet for the outside staircase
Non-slip, very durable and with excellent insulating properties: the stone carpet is the perfect step covering for the outside staircase. Another advantage is the fact that you can work in an LED strip so that you can always have well-lit steps in the evening.
The individual steps look particularly attractive when they are designed in two colors. Certain patterns and motifs can also be applied in front of the house entrance. The stone carpet can also incorporate vases, water features and flower pots in XXL format in the design.
Regardless of the shape of the outside staircase: You can lay the steps with a stone carpet and incorporate suitable floor lights.
2.4. Stone carpet around the pool
The area around the pool poses a major challenge in terms of design. It should be waterproof and non-slip, the water should be able to drain off easily and no algae should accumulate. The stone carpet meets all of these requirements and is therefore a good choice for the pool surround.
2.5. Stone carpet for the garden path
The stone carpet for the garden path is less common. This is mainly due to the fact that there are many cheaper alternatives. However, if you want to save the weeds in the joints, you can rely on the covering. It is also ideal for the front yard or the small garden.
2.6. Stone carpet for the driveway
If the subsoil is compacted and the stone carpet is sealed, then it is also suitable for heavily used areas such as the driveway. The fact that it heats up less than concrete or natural stone slabs in summer also speaks for it.
Of course, numerous designs are possible in the front yard. The stone carpet can, for example, connect the house, the driveway and the garden or guest house.
3. Advantages and disadvantages of the stone carpet
Like every flooring, the stone carpet also has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages:
- durable, resistant,
- resistant to mechanical loads
- heat resistant
- warm feet in summer
- available in many colors
The disadvantages include:
- The installation has its pitfalls and inexperienced do-it-yourselfers should better hire a professional to do the job.
- Installation errors are difficult to correct.
- The removal of the covering is very time-consuming and costly.
The stone carpet is a practical, durable and versatile floor covering for outdoor use. This allows terraces, external stairs and balconies with irregular shapes to be laid perfectly. You should stick to a few basic rules. Always lay the covering on sunny days, the stones should be completely dry when laying. Stir the binding agent immediately before laying as it hardens very quickly. Allow sufficient time to dry before entering or driving on the area.