How long will my natural stone last?
When you install a new feature in your home, whether timber, natural stone or any other material, one of the first questions you want to ask is: How long is this feature going to be around?
After all, regardless of whether you're making renovations or building a property form scratch, you're likely going to sink a substantial sum of money into installing it – you want to make sure you're getting bang for your buck. This is particularly the case with natural stone like marble, which tends to be on the more expensive side of things.
Fortunately, one of the reasons why natural stone make such a great investment is its longevity and durability. In fact, play your cards right, and your natural stone could be around longer than you are!
The long lifespan of natural stone
Back in 2007, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released figures regarding the lifespan or various building materials. Unsurprisingly, natural stone had a strong showing in the results.
We say unsurprising because the proof of stone's long-lasting nature is in the pudding – and the pudding is all around us. Just take a look at some of the most breathtaking monuments ever created by human beings that still survive today: the Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, the Acropolis, the Pyramids of Giza. The ages for these incredible feats of human engineering range from hundreds of years, for the Taj Mahal, to the thousands, in the case of the other three.
In fact, one particularly striking fact is that Cleopatra, the Egyptian pharaoh during the time of Julius Caesar, actually lived closer to the year that we landed on the moon than when these pyramids were built from limestone! And they're still standing relatively strong, putting into perspective just how durable and long-lasting natural stone is.
Of course, all of these monuments have also suffered some kind of damage. But this is only natural for something that's been around for periods of time on that scale, and if anything, only further points to the importance of surface protection for any stone feature, whether ancient or modern.
The NAHB lifespan figures
Before digressing any further, it's worth looking at the figures themselves provided by the NAHB. The lifespan of natural stone largely depends on where it's utilized. For example, brick used as masonry is estimated by the NAHB to last over 100 years. By contrast, stone products used for countertops show different results.
Cultured marble, a product manufactured to mimic the feel and look of natural marble, is listed as having a lifespan of around 20 years as a countertop. Natural stone, however, will last the lifetime of the property itself. This is no different from the lifespan of tile and wood, which will also survive while the property's still standing – as long as they're all properly taken care of, of course.
The results are practically identical when it comes to siding and accessories. Brick, natural and manufactured stone, vinyl, and engineered wood, among others, are all set to last the lifetime of the property. The only material that isn't is stucco, which is estimated to last 50-100 years.
It's in the issue of flooring that things become interesting. There is a wide divergence in terms of lifespans among different materials here.
The weakest performer in terms of stone is concrete. However, with a lifespan of 50 years or more, it's still a highly durable material and blows the results of materials like carpet (8-10 years), laminate (15-25 years) and linoleum (25 years) out of the water.
The longest-lasting stones are granite and marble, as well as brick pavers, all expected to survive for over a century with the right care. Slate is marginally behind, with an estimated 100-year lifespan.
The importance of sealing stone
Of course, a stone can be as long-lasting and durable as you want, but it means little if it's not properly protected from stains and damage by substances penetrating it. Whether granite, marble or limestone, you need to seal it with an impregnating sealer like Dry-Treat's META CRÈME™ or, if dealing with brick, DRY-TREAT 40SK™.