Decomposed granite (DG) is a great choice for decorating patios and creating pathways, seating areas, and the likes.
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.
Natural Loose DG
This is a natural 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 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 to an asphalt-like material. The surface becomes hard and the texture is altered. 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 disadvantages.
- Loose DG is inexpensive
- 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
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. The results in DG changing its form from loose to muddy.
This process is 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 overtime, 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.
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.
6 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: