video transcript - Pool Talk: choosing stone for around your pool

With Lou Hurll

Join lou from The Stylish Life Project as she discusses how to choose the stone for around your pool with Marty from newtech stone and marble

Lou: Hi, guys. We’re here at NewTech Stone and Marble in Newcastle in their
showroom. Welcome back, Marty.

Marty: Thanks for having me back.

Lou: Today, we want to cover the different stone choices to go around your
pool. I know it’s a big question that comes up quite a lot within Facebook
groups and people are not sure about what’s available, maybe whether it’s
slippery or it’s hot or it gets damaged by chemicals and that kind of thing.
Marty is our expert on stone. Tell us, Marty, what are the different stone
choices that we have?

Marty: Well, to start, there is heaps and heaps and heaps of sales rhetoric
about travertine this, limestone that, and marble that. That’s not always
leading people in the right direction. Sometimes it’s often just the most easy
way to try and sell something. Travertine, limestone, marble, granite, basalt,
they all have options that are suitable and brilliant around the swimming
pools. They also all have options that aren’t great. Learning, getting to know
more about what makes the stone work is the best way to look at it.

Lou: We’ve talked about this in detail in the Stylish Life Pools Course. Where
we’ve talked about getting the right quality of stone and spending a little bit
more, and actually speaking to the right retailer or a wholesaler who can give
you the good information, making sure that you’ve got that longevity with your

Marty: That’s right, and the right things to look for as well.

Lou: Yes. It’s a technical question as well, isn’t it?

Marty: It is, yes.

Lou: It’s not just, “Okay, we’re going to go for travertine, travertine
is going to be fine.” Actually some are good and some aren’t.

Marty: That’s right.

Lou: Let’s start off with travertine because that’s something we hear a lot
about when we’re talking about stone around the pool. What colors are available
and what’s popular at the moment?

Marty: Travertine is consistently the most popular stone that you’ll see
around the swimming pool. For the most part, it is very hard-wearing, it’s
generally resistant to salt and chemical attack and you can get a fairly broad
scope of colors, textures, etc. The classic stones have been on the market
pretty much forever. They work really, really well with the creams and the
beige tie-ins. A green pool is going to look really, good with the classic
off-white bony travs. Honestly, as it’s pretty much anything, it is a brilliant
canvas stone to work with.

Lou: There’s different colors within a travertine, isn’t there?

Marty: Absolutely.

Lou: The more creamy or even close to a white a look.

Marty: Yes. You’ve got your ivory travs, which come very, very close to an
off-white. The lighter you get in travertine, you do have to be a little bit
careful because it can tend to get a little bit softer and a little bit more
aerated as well.

You’ve actually got a range in travs that pretty much
goes from white through to red and you’ve got silvers, you’ve got silver greys
that don’t have any beige. You’ve got silver trav, which classically has a lot
of beige coming through it. Within silver trav, you’ve got titanium trav which
starts to throw a rusty red, you’ve got latte which starts to throw quite a lot
more beige coloring through it. Trav is a beautiful stone in the sense that you
can step back and go, “Okay, this material is well-known, it’s well used.
It’s generally respected by the people doing the install as well.” I can
stand there and I can look at it and go, “Okay.” If this is the
material I want, if I want the cavities, if I want that little bit of a
provincial look to my job, then I can go, “Okay, I’ve got quite a broad
color palette to work with and I can pick what works for me.”

Lou: I know in one of our other videos, we talked about how you actually
make that decision. It isn’t easy because there are a lot of choices out there,
not just in the type of stone, but also in the color. I think what we talked
about was actually having a look at what other people are doing, having a look
on Pinterest or in magazines and taking that to your stone supplier and saying,
“This is the look I’m looking for” and getting that advice.

Marty: That’s right. I think when looking at a trav as well, you’ve really got
that style versus fashion question as well. When you’re putting down your
flooring around your pool, then you go for something that is going to be
classic and stylish because you can bring fashion in with your furniture and
your chairs and other add-ons basically, whereas you want that consistent
timeless stone.

Lou: For the next 20 years effectively.

Marty: That’s exactly right.

Lou: Is this a travertine here?

Marty: Yes. This is what we would call a latte trav. It’s actually a type of
silver travertine, but you can see it’s pretty much mainly beige. It’s had the
miter drop face on it. Whenever we’re working with a drop face coping, which is
a type of coping, we get them manufactured here in Australia. The reason why we
do that is consistency and quality. The last thing you want going around your
pool is up and down in the different heights and calibration all the way

Lou: Is it slippery around the pool? This is quite a shiny stone here.

Marty: Yes, so this one rates to a P4 slip rating which is what you need for
around your pool. The way that we get that in this trav is basically what we
calibrate it down to and the evaluable porosity and–

Lou: Are the kids going to slip over when they run around the pool and when
it gets wet is it particularly slippery?

Marty: Bare feet? No. You put thongs on and run around the pool, it’s not
about the stone it’s about the thong. You will slip over but all of these are
tested with the assumption that you are wearing a shoe or bare feet.

Lou: There are different finishes that you can get as well on the trav?

Marty: Absolutely. You can get a brush-finish so basically brushing. You bring
a nylon bristle with diamonds in it and they actually scuff the surface of the
stone and it digs out the softer material and gives you just that nice patina across
the stone and that does pick up slip resistance a little bit as well.

Lou: Right and sandblasting as well?

Marty: We don’t generally do sandblasting on travs. It’s a great way to mask a
terrible quality trav because what it actually does is it flattens the coloring
and the consistency on the surface completely because when you sandblast you
basically create a crystal fracture at the surface. It goes quite light and that
evens out all of your color variation.

Lou: Is that a problem to be masking poor quality stone? Is that going to be
an issue in the longer term?

Marty: If all it’s masking is colour variation and things like that not really
but if it’s masking soft spots, clay deposits, those sorts of things, yes it is
a problem.

Lou: Let’s move on so we’ve talked about travertine. What’s the next stone
we should be considering?

Marty: We’re a pretty big fan of limestones at the moment. Some of the testing
and some of the work we’ve been doing with limestones for the last 15 years
we’ve learned a lot and we’ve learned the difference in what a good limestone
and a bad limestone is and when you get a good one they’re very hard to beat.

Lou: That’s because they’re not going to break up or they’re going to keep
their color or what is it about it?

Marty: Some of the limestones we have at the moment on the market are the most
salt resistant stones we have. They’re exceptionally dense. They’ve actually
almost started to head towards a marble. Their coloring is so unique and pretty
in the way they move. They’re not as aggressive in their movements as say a
travertine or a marble.

Quite subtle and they create these beautiful canvases
where when you’re looking at the limestone you don’t see individual pieces you
just see a color movement, a natural color movement across the whole job.

Lou: Is that something that comes in different finishes as well?

Marty: Absolutely. Again part of that learning is if a limestone is going to
be slip-resistant in a honed finish, it’s generally not going to stand the test
of time. I know that’s a weird thing to say it’s just something that we’ve
experienced so limestones you generally going to want to see them sandblasted or
sandblast and brushed and that’s going to give you slip resistance. The quality
limestones we’re working with if you cut them and hone them, they’re way too

Lou: What colors, ranges have we got in that type of stone?

Marty: Everything. Literally from white all the way through to your dark greys.

Lou: What are some of the ones that you sell that we can put some pictures
up for?

Marty: I guess the celestial is one of the more popular ones that we have.
It’s what we call a blend stone. It bridges between the greys and the beiges
very, very well and allows you to work any color palette and then also on the
other side we’ve got the light cream which is a sister stone, same amount and
same quarry, different color which does the same thing in the creams and

Lou: From a cost perspective, is there much difference between a travertine
and the stone?

Marty: Generally we’re working on a range retail of between 80 and 106 and
that pretty much covers every different selection be it marble, trav, limestone.
Rule of thumb greys are a little bit more expensive generally a bit harder to
get. With your greys, you’re looking pretty much from 95 through to the 106 in
the creams, the travs and the limestones you’re down more around the 80 to 90

Lou: Is there particular colors of the limestone that work with different
colors of pool well? If people are looking at a darker pool, are people going
for lighter stones or?

Marty: One of the trends we see more so across the old types of stone is the
lighter the pool looks good in the grey darker tones. When we’re seeing those
more classic blues they’re working really well in the beiges, the classic
travertine colors. One of probably the most popular color in pools at the
moment is the grey shell which throws that light blue upward the water and
working with the silver travs, the grey marble that’s really, really popular.

Lou: Yes. Really popular. Interesting, so what other stones are available to
us that we should talk about today?

Marty: I think marble.

One of the wins that we’ve had with marble, it is a
high-end stone. Some of the products that we’re working with when we get them
cut as slabs are thousands and thousands of dollars per square meter. What that
also means is there’s also a lot of offcuts within those factories of the
material they can’t use for that.

Lou: Interesting.

Marty: With marbles, yes, if you cut them and hone them, they’re too slippery.
They’re not going to stand up, but they work beautifully sandblasted.

You get this really interesting subtle variation in
color and texture from the marble underneath, but then as it gets wet, you
bring that color back out to life. Their just phenomenal stones. When you get the
right ones, structurally, brilliant. Thermally, they perform exceptionally
well. Especially, the lighter marbles, yes, that is an amazing stone to work
with. There’s a lot on the market. We want to be seeing sharp edges and the

Lou: Yes and color range in the marble?

Marty: We’re generally a bit lighter because the sandblasting makes them a bit
lighter but we’re ranging from white through to a mid to dark grey. This one’s
one of their brand new, it hasn’t even hit the ground yet, which is actually
coming from the black marble.

Lou: Okay. It’s gone that light color because of sandblasting?

Marty: Yes, it goes that light color because of the sandblasting.

Lou: When that’s wet?

Marty: It will actually go back to this.

Lou: Interesting. Okay.

Marty: You get that really interesting movement as you live with that.

Lou: Yes. One of the things we haven’t talked about yet is the profile and
size of these pavers and stone. Does it come in a whole range? Can you choose?
How does it work?

Marty: If you’re planning, and you’ve got time up your sleeve which not
everyone does, you can actually do anything. When working with a company like
us, we will customize whatever you want but general rule of thumb around a
pool, if it’s a curved pool, you want to be working 400×400. If it’s a
rectangular pool, more popular is the 600×400. There are few products on the
market now that are bigger than the 600×400, but around the swimming pool, they
start to cause issues with fall.

As the job around the pool has the fall away at
different angles and at different points, you can end up with ugly cuts to pick
the fall.

Lou: It doesn’t allow you to create that fall.

Marty: You can’t bend them.

Lou: Yes, okay. All of these stones are going to come in the different
profiles that you’re talking about, different sizes.

Marty: Absolutely, yes.

Lou: Yes, okay. We’ve covered off three. We’ve covered off the travertine,
limestone, and the marble. What else is available to us?

Marty: Probably the one we love the most at the moment and it dropped out of
trend residentially for a while, but basalt.

Lou: Okay.

Marty: We’ve come across some really good basalts and moving away from what
were traditionally the Chinese stones. Yes, they get really, really hot but if
you want that ultra-clean, dark finish to a project, you can’t beat the

Lou: Is that going to be too hot to be working on in the middle of summer?
Is this a concern?

Marty: Yes, basically. It gets exceptionally hot.In saying that, it doesn’t
get much hotter than porcelain or concrete.

Lou: From a look perspective, basalt is a dark grey, black color?

Marty: Yes, completely dark grey, quite consistent. The older styles of basalt
had pitting and pouring in it, the more modern ones have absolutely none of

Lou: You think that’s coming back because you actually saying it being more
available now or better quality being available?

Marty: I think so. I think it really is a quality conversation. We’re seeing a
better quality stone, the testing on the basalts is they’re basically
indestructible around the pool.

Lou: Also, probably the look, designers are loving it because of the color.

Marty: Very clean, very nice.

Lou: Yes, okay. What colored pool water are people putting with a basalt?

Marty: The light blues mainly and that slightly green, light green color.

Lou: Is there different finishes in the basalt?

Marty: Yes, there is. You can go sandblasted. We generally tend to import a
calibrated stone which is where the stone is actually being buffed down to a
guaranteed thickness. It leaves this lovely pattern across the surface as well.

Lou: If people are looking for stone, where is the best place to go,
obviously, come and see you guys. I think we talked previously about going and
seeing an importer if you can.

Marty: The importers are closer to the quarries, they’re close to the
factories, they’re closer to what’s happening to the stone, their selections.
That’s where you want to be, not a cheap importer because I can pick up the
phone and buy cheap stone without ever seeing it and sell it for insanely good
prices but it’s not–

Lou: The quality is not there, the longevity is not there and you’re going
to be disappointed pretty soon about your own tiles. We’re in your Newcastle
showroom here today, how else can people get in contact with you if they don’t
want to travel to Newcastle?

Marty: If you contact us here, we can direct you. We’ve got showrooms and reps
in Sydney. We’ve got people working with us down, all the way up and down the
east coast. We do jobs from Brisbane to Perth, to Melbourne, everywhere.

Lou: All over?

Marty: Yes.

Lou: Great quality stone because you’re actually importing it yourself.

Marty: We do.

Lou: Also have a look inside the pool course because we have talked about
how to make those decisions about getting the better quality stone, putting it
into your budget, managing your budget so that you are getting that stone. The
interesting thing for me was that you can’t actually just look, as a novice
like myself, you can’t look at a piece of stone and know whether it’s quality
or not. You can’t do it, you need to have that information that we talked about
inside the course about how do you make that decision.

Marty: That’s right. You’ve got to do the work and you’ve got to know the
stone and it’s only people like us who can really do that.

Lou: Every piece of stone is different.

Marty: Absolutely.

Lou: If we do want this beautiful stone, we come and see you, we make that
decision. How long is it going to take to get that to site?

Marty: If it’s a stocked stone, it’s going to be available to you but coming
into the summer months, give yourself at least four weeks. If you want to
customize something or you want to do something unique, which we’re seeing a
lot more of at the moment, then allow yourself about 12 to 14 weeks.

Lou: To get it cut to size?

Marty: Cut to size, customized, on a boat, and over here.

Lou: When you’re looking for stone, most people are going onto the internet
to start with, having a bit of a look, and getting an indicator of price. The
reality is what you see online, with everything in life, is probably less than
what you were going to spend at the end. This is going to impact on your
long-term budget, isn’t it?

Marty: That’s right. Probably one of the things we see the most with budgeting
is the gap, that initial assumption to the reality. So, coming in and actually
sitting down and talking to somebody like us to understand what the real costs
are with your surrounds, isn’t a bad idea in the decision-making process.

Lou: I would ask, as well, is the cost of that stone around your pool
included normally in your builder’s quote, or is that just up to a certain
level, or is it just the coping?

Marty: Some do, some don’t. You’ve got to hit the builder for that as to what
is included, what isn’t included. Some people take the approach of just trying
to get the contract signed and the pool in the ground and then here’s
everything else.

Lou: Potentially, just an allowance for stone which may not be anywhere near
what you would like, depending on the style and the look and the quality of
stone that you really should be getting.

Marty: That’s right. A conversation with somebody like us before, just so that
you’ve got as much information as possible, than coming in after the fact and
actually making the decisions then are a bit easier.

Lou: Yes, absolutely. That’s something that we do harp on a little bit about
inside the pool course because, in our opinion, it’s really important to be
understanding what you’re planning to put into your pool. So when you go and
get your quotes, you’re quoting on the same thing the whole way through. You already
know what stone you’re going to choose, you roughly know how big that area is
going to be, so you got to have a pretty good idea about what that part of your
budget is. Then, you’re getting your quote from your builder, maybe not just
your pool builder but also your landscaper, gardener, doing the hard
landscaping, just to make sure that you’ve got everything within that budget.

Marty: That’s right. That’s one thing the pool course does is it gets you to
know the right questions to ask and that is exceptionally important because,
unless you’re told, you don’t know what they are.

Lou: Yes. One of the things that we should mention as well is that if you do
the pool course, you get 10% off, which is, I know you keep telling me is
unheard of to get that kind of a discount.

Marty: We don’t discount. It’s something that we only do for the pool course.

Lou: Yes, which is fantastic so thank you for that really great discount
that we’ve got there. Thank you so much for joining us for our first pool talk.
We’ve got some really great content there about choosing your stone, the
different options that are available to you. Come and talk to Marty and get the
low down.

Marty: It is a great course. We’re even looking to use it as new staff come
into our business to understand pools better. It’s been a valuable tool.

Lou: Fantastic. Thanks so much for being involved.

Marty: Pleasure.


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