Top 7 Disadvantages of Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite disadvantages

Decomposed granite (DG) is a great choice for decorating patios and creating pathways, seating areas, and the like.

It is a rock that has been weather-beaten and can easily fragment into smaller fragments of weak rocks. It is often 3/8 inch or smaller in size.

This granite has a wide variety of applications that makes it popular in places like the Southwestern regions of the United States.

Even though it is a popularly adopted hardscaping material, it has a number of disadvantages, which is what this article is about. Read on to find out the most common disadvantages of decomposed granite.

Types of Decomposed Granite

The three major types of DG are outlined below.

Related: Best Gravels to Walk on Bare Feet

Natural Loose DG

This is a naturally occurring DG that is not mixed with any additive. It is usually installed and compacted using a Vibraplate. This enables the particles to fuse together and stay in place. They’re often used for seating areas, parks, and pathways with less traffic.

This is the least expensive type that’s often used by most people with a low budget. It gives a garden path a nice look and attractive appearance.

Stabilized DG

Stabilized DG is mixed with stabilizing agents that help to bind the particles together and keep them in place. The particles become packed together and have a tough and hard appearance. This helps to reduce erosion and some other problems associated with the use of DG.

Even with the use of stabilizers, keep in mind that the major problems of erosion and damage caused by debris are not completely eliminated; they’re only reduced.

DG with Resin

This is the most expensive type and the most preferred for high-traffic areas. It involves mixing DG with resin to bind the particles together turning them into an asphalt-like material. The surface becomes hard and the texture is altered. And the sandy appearance is eliminated.

Advantages of Decomposed Granite

I know this article is supposed to focus on the disadvantages of DG. But I believe it doesn’t hurt to have a quick look at some of its advantages.

  • It is easy to install
  • It is available in a variety of colors
  • DG is a good choice for xeriscaping
  • It gives a natural appearance
  • Loose DG is inexpensive

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Disadvantages of Decomposed Granite

The following are the major disadvantages of decomposed granite.

1 It gets muddy

Decomposed granite tends to get muddy during the winter when there is high rainfall. DG is composed of granite fines and small pieces of granite; this combination has a high tendency of fusing together with the presence of water. This results in DG changing its form from loose to muddy.

This process doesn’t occur with gravels. It’s a problem that is specific to DG. It can, however, be reduced by the introduction of resins. But this is quite expensive and can be a tough step when you need DG in large quantities for a large hardscaping project.

2 It has a tendency to grow weeds

Not only can it grow weeds, but it can also grow moss. Weeds and moss are a great challenge that you have to face with DG. This will require you to frequently rake it to remove the unwanted visitors. When you use DG in your patio, you need to have in mind that it is not maintenance-free like having concrete on your walkway.

The presence of weeds and moss will alter the appearance of your environment and will keep the installed DG from looking as beautiful as you expect. You have to frequently rake it to avoid this. This could be tiring if you have to do it alone.

3 It has a tendency to erode

Except when used with additives, DG has a very high tendency to erode. And it tends to erode over time even when additives are used. It is made of rocks that have weathered and can easily fracture into smaller pieces. This makes it susceptible to erosion, especially during the winter when the rainfall is high.

Erosion causes a reduction in quantity and changes the appearance of your walkway, patio, or environment in general. This can happen in a short while or over time, depending on the type of DG in question. Natural DG without additives erodes quickly while DG with additives takes more time to erode.

4 It is more suitable in certain environments

DG is more preferable and more suitable for use in areas with less rainfall. This is obviously due to its nature. The particles have a tendency to become muddy and erode over time as a result of frequent rainfall.

Although DG is permeable and allows water to percolate and seep through to the ground, it retains water, which also has an effect on its features. The retained water makes it muddy and messy. As a result, the environment may become uncomfortable and inconvenient for easy movement on foot.

5 It requires frequent refilling

You may need to refill your patio or walkway from time to time when you use DG. This is as a result of possible erosions that may occur over time.

The problem of erosion is even more challenging when you have to refill with the same color of DG. Getting the exact match is sometimes very difficult. It could be out of stock and may not be available for a long time due to several reasons.

One way of overcoming this is to prepare beforehand. Get some of the original available and have them around as a backup.

Related: 10 Best Mulches for Wet Areas

6 Debris may damage floors

This is a common occurrence, especially when you place DG near the entrance of your home. The granite can be tracked in by anyone or even your pet. This can cause damage if you have hardwood flooring. You may have to install a floor mat to avoid this damage. In this case, the debris will be trapped in the mat and you’ll have to sweep it off regularly. This means more work in terms of maintenance in order to keep the environment clean.

7 DG with resin is expensive

Most of the disadvantages of DG can be minimized by mixing it with natural resin. But this is another problem on its own; it’s expensive.

Another problem associated with mixing DG with resin is that it becomes asphalt-like material. The end result is more asphalt-like than DG-like, and this may become less desirable for the original purpose it’s needed for.

Where to Use DG

DG is a versatile material that has several uses. It can be used in areas with low traffic and is suitable for use in areas with high traffic. Some of the major places it can be used include:

  • Driveways
  • Pathways
  • Landscapes
  • Hardscapes
  • Patios and
  • Roads

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Top 7 Disadvantages of Decomposed Granite

6 thoughts on “Top 7 Disadvantages of Decomposed Granite

  1. Considering DG and this was informative both pro and con. I have a relatively small yard and would like DG. Am in process of removing current rocks.

  2. I live in the desert SouthWest and ripped out my grass this year in favor of desert landscaping with DG. Lately, the area around my plants have been collecting a white residue -which looks like salt. Is there a way to avoid this or remove it?

  3. I bought a house that has mostly DG in the backyard. I hate it. It’s so easy to track in everywhere; on the concrete patio, then into the house. It sticks to your sandals or shoes. I have real hardwood floors, so now I have to spend quite a bit to have most of the DG removed and replaced with a true hardscape like pavers or concrete. I think DG is pretty in certain landscapes, but it’s not practical for the average home. It does not make good material to walk on. DG is crushed granite and granite is almost as hard as a diamond; it’ll scratch up your nice tile floors too, and then you are having to be very careful coming in and out of the house, and have to avoid walking on it. Having to be careful not to track in it makes it high maintenance. Sometimes designers use material for design sake, not thinking about its practicality, and everyone copies the designers. I’m removing it from my yard so I don’t have to tip toe around the yard anymore. It’s a real pain. If you use it, use it for design purposes away from the yard as plant border material, not to walk on.

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