If you are dreaming of a beautiful pool surround this article is for you. For years NTS&M have supplied stone around thousands of swimming pools across NSW and carved out a name as one of the leaders in the pool paver market. We want our customers to know when you select a stone from NTS&M for around a swimming pool it is fit for purpose. We will not let you buy anything that isn’t. So, what can you do to make sure your stone looks beautiful for decades? The below will help you make the right decision for your surrounds.

First things first:

  • The correct stone can create a natural, beautiful, lifelong finish around any swimming pool.
  • Not all stone should be used around a swimming pool and it is almost impossible to tell suitability just by looking at a piece on display.
  • The type of stone (limestone, travertine, marble, granite, basalt, sandstone etc.) does not define weather it is suitable.
  • No one test be it salt, slip, abrasion resistance, porosity etc. can define a stones suitability.
  • Stone quality can’t be defined by country or region.
  • We are consistently disappointed by the misinformation portrayed in this market. Misinformation that often leads to costly replacement and repair works on top of already costly projects.

At NTS&M we have focussed our selection process for all outdoor stones around a combination of critical characteristics. Some of which are below:

  • Salt Resistance
  • Slip Resistance
  • Specific Gravity
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Wear resistance
  • Modulus of rupture
  • Compressive strength
  • Porosity
  • Geological structure
  • Chemical make up

Understanding the above and some other critical points allow us to create a profile of the stone and let us start to predict its performance. It has also allowed us to come up with some broad generalisation across travertine, limestone and marble to help customers when trying to decide if a stone is suitable. These generalisations are not perfect, but we hope they help:

What to watch out for with Limestones:

  • A honed limestone shouldn’t meet the required slip resistance. If it does the chances are it is to porous. High available porosity in limestone often leaves to stone open to significant salt attach and other chemical decay.
  • A sandblasted limestone should not have deep, wide gouges in the surface. These indicate potential area of future decay due to a different makeup in the layering of the limestone.
  • Always look at the back of dark limestones. Be ware of thin dark grey or black veins. These often indicate silt line which will allow for rapid decay in the stone.

What to watch out for with Travertine:

  • In Australia we often incorrectly judge travertine purely on the amount or size of cavities. This is a misleading position to take. Travertine by nature has cavities, we might not want these cavities from an aesthetic selection, but they are not the best indicator of quality.
  • Impurities are our biggest concern with travertine. Soft spots (sandy surfaces) or clay are the two greatest risk factors in longevity of travertine.
  • Cavities should be well distributed, crystalline and free of foreign material like clay.
  • The surface should be structurally consistent and dense (the material between cavities).
  • Strong colour patches (red or grey) should be avoided along with inconsistent colouring.

What to watch out for with Marble:

  • Marbles are harder to pick. Like limestone they should be sandblast for pool surrounds.
  • Marbles should not be tumbled. This generally indicates a soft marble or dolomite. These stone generally won’t stand up to chemical and physical wear and tear.
  • Veins should be structural and not show significant pitting or major colour variation post sandblasting.

We know this is a lot to take in and our staff are always available to help you with the correct information for your project.