Frequently asked questions
What kind of paving stone should I go for?
Natural stone has long been a very reliable paving option; just think how long some of the natural stone paving has been down in London and Rome for example. With the increased range of imported natural stone it is now a very affordable option. Natural stone paving also used to be supplied in varying thicknesses but these days most of it is calibrated, making it easier to lay.
Natural stone has natural variations in colour which adds interest to your paving and that colour will run all the way through your slabs and so they are less likely to fade than concrete alternatives.
Concrete paving tends to have less colour variation which for some of people is a preference and there is often a greater range of colour options available. Virtually all of the concrete paving we supply is manufactured within the UK.
Porcelain paving is increasingly popular because of its durability and the extensive range of designs available for inside and out including natural stone and wood effects. The stones are harder, denser and less porous than natural stone so require little maintenance, and manufacturing processes ensure the quality and consistency of the product.
How do prices compare?
All products are available at a range of prices, with comparable stone and concrete products often being around the same price. The very cheapest end of paving tend to be concrete and the highest end luxury natural stone and porcelain.
What is different about laying porcelain stone?
Because of its superb durability, porcelain is low maintenance and requires no additional treatments such as sealants during installation. We recommend laying porcelain with a traditional method on a full bed of mortar over a compacted sub-base. Use a slurry primer on the underside of each slab to create an adhesive seal between the slab and mortar bed and ensure a minimum joint width of 5mm. If making cuts, you will also need a diamond blade for porcelain.
For full details on laying method and additional products you may need, see our product guide.
How much shingle/gravel do I need?
A tonne or bulk bag will cover approx 10-14 square metres at 50mm deep.
A 20-25kg or polybag will cover 0.4 square metres at 50mm deep.
Will my paving slabs weather or change appearance?
Remember all slabs will weather to some extent once laid due to algae, dirt, grime in the atmosphere, leaves, overhanging trees etc. This can be kept to a minimum by regularly brushing your slabs with a stiff broom. Take care if using a pressure washer as it can be detrimental to paving surfaces and pointing. To maintain the colour you can seal your slabs with a stone seal. Note that some sealants can change the colour/appearance of the slabs so try a small test area first in case you don’t like the effect!
I want to extend an existing patio, how do I know which slabs to use?
We suggest you bring in or a sample of your existing paving and we will endeavor to match it. With our many years experience even previously laid, weathered slabs can often be identified and if it is a discontinued item or one not within our range we will try and suggest a closest match. Be aware however that even matching with the same paving will show up, as the slabs will stand out new against old. This will lessen as the new paving weathers.
If you are unable to bring in a sample, we will try our best to identify the slabs from a photo, although this is sometimes quite difficult especially with more weathered slabs. Alternatively you can buy samples of our paving, take them home and match them up to your existing paving. Any slabs not used can be returned for a refund.
How do I clean my patio?
Brush your patio on a regular basis to stop any loose dirt ingraining itself within the stone.
How much your stone will need cleaning all depends on several factors: the type of stone you have, the position of your garden, overhanging trees etc. Porous paving like some sandstones (especially honed or smooth) in shadier areas will retain more moisture and need cleaning more often. Porcelain and sealed stone will need less cleaning as they are less porous.
Even for low maintenance choices like porcelain, regular cleaning is still a good idea to keep on top of every day marks left by vehicles, food, grease from barbeques and acidic animal droppings.
Use a stiff brush with warm soapy water or an all-purpose non-acid based patio shampoo (always checking that it is suitable for your type of paving).
Jet wash with care. Avoid jet washing on a full nozzle spray on soft natural stones and be careful to get too close to any joints. Light jet wash concrete only occasionally to avoid damaging the surface of the paving.
If you have a specific problem with your paving, you may need to take different steps to look after it.
Can I seal my patio/driveway?
Sealing natural stone can be a great preventative step to protect your investment from common problems like stains and weather damage. Certain sealers will also enhance the appearance of stone and reduce fading over time.
When to apply:
- Sealers can be applied before or after installation.
- If you are using a non-breathable sealer after installation, we advise waiting for a minimum of six months after the paving is laid so that all moisture and salts can come out of the paving first. Sealers are generally best applied during the warmest and driest months, usually between May and October.
- Some breathable sealers can be applied to paving as soon as it is laid as they allow moisture to pass through but always seek professional advice before applying.
What to expect:
- Sealed pavers may need to be resealed every 3-5 years if using a water-based sealer and 2-3 years if using an acrylic sealer. When resealing pavers, be sure to use the same sealer that was originally applied to prevent an adverse reaction between two different products (this will spoil the finish).
- The finish of the sealer will depend on the type of stone, with less porous stone holding a glossy finish more easily.
- Joint stabilising sealers can have the added benefit of reducing weed growth and damage to jointing from weather and insects.
We offer a pre-sealing service for natural stone so when your paving is delivered, it is ready to install in any weather. This can also help prevent problems during installation.
Will my slabs have colour variation?
Some variation in colour shade should be expected with any paving product, natural stone, porcelain or concrete. These can be made worse by site conditions, natural curing and weathering. Where using more than one pack of paviours, we always recommend mixing them to achieve a consistent, balanced look.
When using natural stone products, no two stones will ever be the same, with different shades and individual characteristics. However some colours have greater colour variation than others. This is a quality that can enhance the character of a natural stone patio.
What is the white/milky deposit on our recently laid paving?
Due to the high cement content in concrete products efflorescence (salt deposits) can appear as a milky bloom or apparent fading in patches. It can also appear quite often on a Natural Sandstone patio, where the stone is fairly porous and the cement in the base it is laid on is drawn up through the paving.
Find out more about common problems with paving and how you can prevent and treat them.
How do I care for my paving
Most paving benefits from regular light cleaning to keep it looking its best.
Different paving products, particularly natural stone, have specific qualities that may require certain steps to be taken to keep it looking its best. Here is our guide to how to care for your paving including how to prevent and treat specific issues.