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BUYING NATURAL STONE ⋅ SPECIALIST STONE COMPANIES
Buying the stone is going to be the major expense, in your paving project, topsham. It’s always tempting to search out those ‘cheap’, bargain, online prices. Why not have a look at the stone in person. Talk to knowledgeable sales staff. And judge the quality and finish of the natural stone product.
Good service always comes at a price. Flexible delivery slots, lorries with cranes, a hassle-free returns policy. And the ability to pick up extra stones. In any size.
Suppliers ⋅ builders merchants ⋅ specialist stone companies ⋅ reclamation yards
Be wary of ‘bargain’ crates of natural stone. That crate may turn out to be more expensive, in the long run. You get what you pay for. In terms of quality. Product support and after-sales service.
Remember let your own eyes be the judge of quality and finish, of the natural stone. If something appears cheap. It usually is and won’t last the test of time.
When that ‘bargain’ crate of stone paving arrives. The colour of each stone paver may be slightly different from the next. Some colours, being nicer than others. You’ve bought a crate of leftover ‘odds and sods’.
Local independent or national companies. You will generally pay more at a builders merchant. It’s best to have a trade account. Selection may not be great. Good prices if they are having an end of line sale. Why not opt for a specialist stone supplier.
With local showrooms. London stone is one of the best. Great product advice. Generally, the best way to buy stone. Best selection, they always have a huge stock. Great if you want to buy single sized stones. They also sell edging setts, granite, sandstone, and slate. You can also buy decorative gravel and shingle. Sometimes by the weight. Rather than buying the whole 1-ton bag.
Always visit the stone yard, in person. View the stone for yourself. It’s worth asking for a discount. 10% is usually the standard. You may pay extra sometimes for delivery.
Be wary as they won’t always exchange material. Quality of materials varies, even on one pallet. The cost can vary depending on the choice of stone. You will pay, a lot for rustic sandstone flags. They will always be in demand. You may be better, buying a quality new stone. And waiting for it to weather in, for a season or so.
Usually, appear the ‘cheapest’. Product knowledge or customer service not always great. Returning the stone paving can be tiresome, and costly. Most delivery trucks don’t have cranes. But a pallet truck. Preventing the stone pavers, from being easily stacked, out of the way.
Always order a little extra stone paving. Matching up paving stone, locally, can be difficult. Always check the thickness of the natural stone. And try to avoid lighter shot-blasted natural stone paving. The stone pavers really need pre-sealing to prevent staining. From laying the paving, the pavers mortar bed and from the general use of the patio.
Always check your delivery before the driver leaves. Its easier to send back/reject a crate from a local supplier. Then from an online company who delivers via a courier. And usually doesn’t have a crane on the lorry. Remember you can always pick up up that extra paving slab or decking board from the local company that’s only 10 minutes down the road and isn’t based in Ireland.
Paving material from different stone suppliers, rarely match. Mismatches in colour and finish. Will stick out like a saw thumb, on your garden patio. Colours can vary between batches of stone paving. Even when the supplier tells you, the natural stone paving is identical in colour and finish. This is a common problem with porcelain tiles.
Let your eyes be the judge. If the natural stone paving doesn’t look right. It rarely is!
You have finally finished. That pristine, light-coloured, natural stone patio. And now for the dreaded BBQ. All that greasy food and red wine. It’s a good idea, to think about protecting your natural stone pavers. By applying a paving sealant.
A quality paving sealant will protect the patio from most paving stains. Including those caused by your friendly, local bird population. Paving sealants will reduce the build-up of moss and algae, on your paving’s surface. Add a paving cleaner. And jet wash. Not too closely. As the jet can easily mark your patio’s surface.
Some sealants will enhance or slightly darken the naturals stone paving. Most quality paving sealants have a natural non-glossy finish. A good quality paving sealant will ‘breathe’. Allowing water to evaporate from the surface of your paving.
Reasons to seal ⋅ prevent staining ⋅ aid cleaning ⋅ enhance colour
SEALING ⋅ YOUR PAVING ⋅ EXMOUTH ⋅ TOPSHAM
Many people think about sealing their patio area. Paving sealants are a great way to prevent staining and aid general cleaning. They can be used to enhance a patios colour.
Cleanliness is a virtue. Especially when laying your paving. Significant care must be taken to keep your stone pavers clean. Make sure you thoroughly clean your paving stones. With water, using a sponge or a stone emulsifying pad.
This is particularly important for light-coloured, textured paving stones. Such as sandstone paving. Which is particularly prone to staining, during the laying process. Stains on the paving’s surface, from hands and tools. Stains from the mortar bed, from underneath. Iron and cement in your mortar can seriously stain your paving. Especially during the curing process. When the paving stone and mortar starts to dry out.
Many lights coloured or textured paving stones are prone to staining. Especially during the laying process. Using a pre-sealed stone will greatly reduce staining and aid cleaning. Sealing the paving stone reduces its ‘stickiness’ and porosity. Mortar and pointing don’t tend to cling to the paving stone. Making cleaning the paving stone easier and more effective. The whole laying process is a lot easier, and a lot more stress-free.
Pointing a patio is a tricky business. If you are not careful when pointing your paving. You can cause significant staining. Sealing your paving first will prevent this. Make sure you pre-seal, any light-coloured stone pavers, before laying your patio.
Pre-sealing your paving is important, when pointing, using a jointing compound. These paving jointing compounds contain natural oils. Which can stain each paving slab. ‘Framing’ each stone, with a dark stain.
Sealing will prevent most day to day staining. Including food, drink, and bird waste. Sealants aren’t ‘bomb’ proof. So, treat the paving area with care. Oil and petrol are often a problem. Treat the stained area with a quality patio cleaner. Leave for the recommended time. And jet wash the area thoroughly.
Paving sealants can not only be used to prevent stains. Paving sealants can be used to enhance a natural stone paving. It was fashionable to treat paving stones with a glossy sealant. These epoxy sealants were generally hard to apply. Their glossy finishes looked unnatural. Making the paving appear synthetic. Looking like cheap concrete pavers.
Don’t worry modern paving sealants don’t have that glossy un-natural sheen. Water-based paving sealants are safer and easier to apply. Their finish is a flat matt. Slightly darkening and enhancing the appearance of the stone. In a subtle, natural way.
When adding any sealants or products to a stone paving area. First test the product, on a small inconspicuous area or a spare paving slab. Test how the product affects the stones appearance and colour. This is important before applying the sealant to the whole patio.
Most DIY paving sealants are water-based. Being generally easier to apply. Reducing the risk of sealing problems. They are generally safer to apply in terms of fumes and toxicity. If there’s a problem with the finish. Many sealants can be easily removed by steam cleaning. Water-based products are generally cheaper than solvent-based paving products. But aren’t as tough or long-lasting.
Solvent-based paving sealants include polyurethane or acrylic products. Care must be taken when applying them. As they will release fumes and can be toxic to skin. We recommend employing a specialist to apply this type of paving sealant. The sealants are hard to remove once applied. And an uneven application will result in pooling.
You will have to pay extra for pre-sealed paving. Stones can be seal on-site. However, this can be a messy and time-consuming process. Not recommended during colder months. With the sealant often not curing properly.
It’s usually a good idea to leave a patio to bed in for a couple of months before sealing. Some patios can develop efflorescence. The surface becomes stained with white salt. Caused by salts in the cement leaching up from the mortar bed to top of the paving. Sealing a patio can slow down or trap the movement of these salts. Making the treatment of efflorescence more drawn out.
Make sure your patio is clean and dry before applying a sealant. Always check the weather. Avoid the wet. A windy day can be a nightmare. With leaf debris clogging up your sealant. Don’t apply on extremely hot days. Paving stones quickly become hot. Your sealant will dry unevenly. And avoid cold conditions. As the sealant may not cure properly.
Effective drainage is important for any paving project.
Located your damp course & air bricks. Pave below the damp course (1500mm). Take care paving around air bricks. Drainage channels allow you to direct surface drainage water into drains and soakaways. Add where necessary to your paving area. Standard drainage channels include:
Simplest of all. A free-draining channel filled with gravel. Add a perforated pipe for faster drainage.
Concrete or rigid plastic construction. Surface water is directed into an existing drainage system or a newly constructed soakaway
Similar to linear drains but more discreet. Materials, rigid plastic, or stainless steel.
Sometimes surface water can’t be easily fed into an existing drainage system. Soak aways consist of a hole usually m³ or larger. Filled with hardcore or Aqua cells. The sides & toplined by geotex fabric, preventing clay ingress.
One of the final jobs of any paving project. Good pointing can make any patio look good. It’s not an easy process, to get right. Traditional methods involve sand and cement mortar. Avoid any wet weather. Which can cause serious staining of your paving.
Why not opt for a modern jointing compound. They are not cheap. But are well worth the expense. Quick to use. And they can be used in wet weather.
If the gap too small, pointing will be harder & take longer. Too large and the patio will look clumsy. More pointing mix & will take longer. Try a gap between 5mm – 10mm! Consider using a plastic spacer.
In wet weather, mortar can be washed out, and stones become stained. Avoid hard frost which can cause pointing to blister & crack. In cold weather, consider adding a frost-proof/winter mix and cover pointing at night. Hot weather can cause drying out too quickly.
© Exeter Landscapes ⋅ sandstone ⋅ paving topsham ⋅ exmouth
An alternative to traditional mortar. Available in several colours. Patios can be pointed in wet conditions.
Always clean stones after pointing. Brush off excess mortar and wipe with a sponge. For cleaning, porcelain consider using a commercial emulsifying pad.
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