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Best Natural Stone for Denver Outdoor Use

March 11, 2016

In Denver and all along the Front Range we take our outdoor fun seriously. Now that spring is upon us it’s time to think about hosting cookouts, cocktail parties on the patio, or maybe even a backyard wedding. Having a functional outdoor living space increases your living area, provides respite after a long week, and is perfect for entertaining on mild Colorado summer nights. There is nothing more boring than a concrete slab attached to the back of the house no matter how you dress it up with wicker furniture or strings of lights. Natural stone lends itself well to the natural surroundings of the beautiful state that we live in. Consider incorporating options like travertine or other natural stone into your outdoor oasis.

Many people look forward to a day working out in the yard and think of installing a stone or brick patio on their own. But in fact, there are a lot of important factors to be considered when installing stone to endure over the long haul. Incorrect installation and poor workmanship will show itself almost immediately while the professionals at Natural Stone sales can provide an outdoor counter or patio that will last a lifetime.

When deciding which type of material is best for outdoor use, there are two main considerations: durability and absorption. The stone must be able to withstand heat, frost, and traffic without absorbing too much moisture. Porous stones can easily become dislodged if a high content of water is absorbed during the day, frozen overnight and thawed in the morning. Stones that are too porous will not only absorb too much water but dirt and debris as well. You will also want to consider how slippery a stone gets when wet. A stone that gets rather slick might be ok for an outdoor countertop but would not be suitable for flooring. As you know, natural stone is available in almost every color of the rainbow from bright white to a deep onyx. Keep in mind that brighter stones may cause harsher reflections in uncovered areas but darker colors will also absorb more heat in bright sunlight.


Travertine would add an earthy elegance to any outdoor space. It is a very porous stone that absorbs water almost immediately and has a natural non-slip surface which is why you often see it used in warmer climates around swimming pools. It would be a good option for an indoor pool or sunroom where it could be sheltered from the harsh freeze/thaw cycle we sometimes experience here in Denver. Proper sealing for any application where this stone is exposed to the elements is very important.


Slate, like travertine, has a very natural and understated sophistication that would bring unpretentious style and grace to any patio. In general it has a very low absorption rate but that does vary between types of slate. Our experts will be able to advise you on which varieties are best for your particular setting. One possible concern is that slate may fade or shift color slightly over time in bright sunlight so a covered or shady area might be best. You will also want to choose a smoother slate vs. more cleft or uneven to avoid a tripping hazard.


Marble is one of the hardest and most durable stones available. It is slightly porous so proper sealant would be required at least once a year, if not more often, depending on placement. It is available in a wide variety of textures and colors and should not fade or discolor even in direct sun. It can be finished in multiple ways but keep in mind that high polish may lose its lustre after exposure to outdoor elements and will probably be more slippery when damp. More of a honed finish might be preferable.


Granite is the hardest and least porous of all the natural stones. Its ability to stand up to the elements is unsurpassed and it is a great choice for any outdoor application. Its natural color variations may become slightly warmer overtime in direct sunlight but in general this stone is quite colorfast. Regular sealing will be required to maintain its appearance but otherwise maintenance should be minimal.

When you have some options and design ideas in mind, call Natural Stone Sales at 303-777-7485 to set up a consultation. Call today and you’ll have a beautiful outdoor countertop or patio in place long before its time to host a memorial day get together.