What Is Granite Paving?
Granite paving is a fantastic natural stone. It is incredibly hard and durable, and over the course of the last 10 years has been used very effectively to create decorative and interesting spaces. Granite is an 'igneous' rock which means it is a result of lava cooling and forming rock formations. The heat and pressure that works to form the slabs results in very interesting slabs with all sorts of decorative formations on the surface.
On top of the decorative surface, cooled lava is also extremely hard and long-lasting. Once installed, it's not going anywhere. It's easy to see why it has been such a popular option.
Why Is It Becoming Less Popular?
So why exactly are we seeing less and less of it used across the UK? There are a number of reasons, but the big reason is there is simply not the supply their used to be. Around 2 years ago, China announced it will no longer be quarrying granite stone and announced that it will be permanently closing it's granite quarries - this put a huge dent in the quantity of granite that was available and as we all know, less supply for the same demand means prices have been increasing ever since.
The granite that is still being quarried is difficult to get hold of. All the perks of having a very hard, very durable stone is also has the drawback of it being very difficult to get out of the ground! It's the same stone both in and out of the ground, so it needs an awful lot of machinery to excavate it properly, raising the price even further.
So the combination of low supply levels and the difficulty of quarrying it from the quarries that remain open, mean the supply is low and the price point is now barely viable.
Thus, lots of very good alternatives have cropped up. They provide the strength and durability of granite paving, but at a much more agreeable price point. Porcelain paving is one such example and has exploded in popularity.
Outdoor porcelain paving is a new product to the landscaping industry which is going a long way to providing solutions to the weaknesses of certain natural stone products - read more here - including providing an alternative to natural granite.
Porcelain paving is a long lasting, low maintenance option, which is tested and regulated against commercial anti-slip standards. It's a really good, readily available option at a competitive price point which is likely contributing to the decline in granite paving as an option.
In addition to the structural qualities, porcelain can be manufactured to replicate any stone, so when factories began to manufacture granite-effect alternatives, then that truly began to spell the end of days for the real granite options. 20mm outdoor porcelain tiles have become common place and are slowly eliminating certain styles of natural stone paving.
Going forward, granite isn't going to get much easier to get hold of sadly. Quarries have shut down permanently and the supply will simply not return, so the price is going to remain high when you can get hold of it. Therefore porcelain, despite being one of the premium paving options, will remain at a lower price than granite, while doing an equally good job.
In Conclusion, Could We Be Seeing The Last of Granite Paving?
It's such a shame that we could be seeing the end of granite paving. It is such a fantastic material, but it is simply not stacking up anymore. Short supply, high prices and the availability of reasonably priced alternatives means that it is slowly being eliminated as a paving option. The porcelain tiles are such a fantastic alternative that it's no longer viable to pay even more for a genuine granite option.