Choosing the right paving to transform your garden into your dream space can be tricky!
At Nustone, we have over 15 years of experience in providing expert advice to homeowners and the trade on choosing the right paving slabs for each project, as well as the various benefits of each type of stone.
We’re always happy to help you to complete your garden transformation and provide any expert advice you might need. Read on to find out more about the options available and help to make your decision easy!
What should you look for when choosing paving slabs?
The first thing to consider is your personal design preferences.
This includes everything from the colour and size of your slabs to the overall look that you’re aiming for in your design.
For example, a minimal, contemporary exterior will have many different design requirements to a classic, traditional patio space. For a modern patio, large monochrome slabs with a smooth, sawn surface will provide a sleek and spacious feel, whereas a buff coloured Patio Kit with a naturally riven surface texture will blend beautifully into any classic, rural setting.
Next, think about the use that your patio will see and factor in the practicality of your slabs.
Some stones are much more suited to any areas around pools or water features with their flat, non-slip surface and non-porous qualities, whereas riven natural stone slabs will feature variations in texture across the face of the stone and will naturally absorb more water than a man-made tile.
A lighter stone may not be suitable for your space if you expect your patio to see a lot of dirt and grime and a low-maintenance or darker option could be better suited to your space.
The third thing to keep in mind is the maintenance and upkeep of your space.
While most of our patio slabs are low-maintenance, your space will naturally need some more love and attention over the years if it’s likely to see excessive use, in order to keep your garden looking its best! For example, if your space is likely to get dirty quite often at the hands of young children or pets, light-coloured natural stone might not be for you and it may be worth considering either porcelain paving or even a darker stone which is less likely to show any stains or spillages!
Riven or Sawn & Honed? What’s the difference?
A riven surface is created naturally when the stone is split along its layers, providing a truly authentic finish. This process leaves beautiful natural variations in texture throughout the surface of each slab, meaning that no paver is exactly the same, one of the main appeals of Riven Sandstone Paving! Each riven sandstone slab features hand-dressed edges which add to the natural, organic look and feel of paving to create a timeless appeal to any traditional design. This style of Indian stone paving is suited to traditional settings and is a great alternative to Yorkstone, whilst also working out to be less expensive!
Sawn sandstone is sawn straight off the block rather than being split naturally. The sawn slabs are then cut down to size and the top surface is honed or sandblasted, creating a smooth finish with a slight sheen. Our Smooth Sandstone Paving is sawn on all 6 sides, meaning that the 4 edges are also straight and machine-cut with a smooth finish to complete the contemporary look. Sawn sandstone paving offers an entirely different appeal to riven sandstone and features more pronounced patterns and colours.
Our sawn sandstone has a level of natural slip resistance and, as long as the paving is maintained, the stone will retain its grip underfoot. We advise taking the usual care and precautions when walking on the slabs when wet, but the slabs are not known to be slippery and are designed specifically for outdoor use.
What is Flamed or Shot Blasted Paving?
A lightly flamed surface texture helps the stone to retain its non-slip properties underfoot, even when wet! The flamed surface is achieved by heating the face of the slab, causing some of the crystals within the stone to shatter, leaving the slabs with a slightly coarse feel, ideal for exterior paving. This may be something to consider for your project, depending on the use that you expect it to see. Flamed granite paving is not likely to become slippery underfoot unless the stone has seen excess use resulting in the surface texture being worn down.
Shot blasting is a technique used to produce a similar texture to the surface of the stone. Each granite slab is peppered with shots of small steel beads at high velocity and removes a fine layer from the surface of the stone in the process. The shot blasting process adds an even degree of texturing to the surface of the slabs and adds extra grip underfoot.
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Which Patio Slabs are best for me?
There’s not a simple answer to this question, as there is a range of differences between each type of stone which will determine which slabs are more suited to the needs of your project, but let’s look at the main benefits of each!
You can also find some further information in our Porcelain Vs Natural Stone Paving blog which gives some in-depth information on the differences between traditional natural stone paving options and modern, man-made tiles.
Sandstone slabs are available in a wide range of colours ranging from the neutral cream or grey tones in our Sawn Mint and Kandla Grey Sandstone to the range of earthy browns and greens in our Autumn Brown and Raj Green Sandstone. If you’re looking for something a little more vibrant, Rippon Buff and Rainbow Sandstone feature some more eye-catching colours and our Fossil Mint Sandstone offers beautiful natural fossil detailing, formed over thousands of years! Indian sandstone paving will stand the test of time even in harsh weather and is suited to the British climate to offer a robust and long-lasting paving option that will last for decades. All of our products are designed for exterior use and riven surface textures will help to retain extra grip underfoot. Our sandstone paving slabs are also frost-resistant, helping to keep your paving looking it’s best all year round!
Browse our full range of Sandstone Paving Slabs
Granite paving offers a wealth of design opportunities, with a range of sizes and colour options available, you will always be able to find a style to suit the needs of your project! You can choose from a multitude of sizes, from large format pavers to smaller slabs, or a mixed-size Patio Kit, which is perfect for random laying to create a unique finish. Colour options range from the light and bright Silver Grey Granite, the mid-grey tones in Blue Black Granite to something a little darker in our Black Granite Paving.
If you are looking for a little more colour, we also offer Pink Granite, which offers speckles of red, silver and grey. Our Granite Setts are a great block paving option for driveways or for edging or borders for patios and pathways. The hard-wearing and durable natural stone paving is designed for outdoor use and will stand the test of time even in harsh weather! We even stock 25mm Granite Paving which is more suited to high traffic areas or driveways due to the added thickness. Our full range of granite is suited to the British climate offer a robust and long-lasting paving option that will last for decades.
See all of your Granite Paving options
Choose from our wide selection of colours to find the style of outdoor porcelain tiles for you. The options range from the dark and striking tones within our Black and Nero Porcelain which will make a statement in any design. One of our most popular options is the Silver Grey Porcelain which offers some lighter and more neutral tones which will provide the perfect backdrop to any modern or traditional patio and is often used as a modern alternative to Granite. If you’re looking for something a little brighter still, the light and elegant tones within the Ivory and White Porcelain Paving will be sure to brighten up any dark areas to create an added sense of space to your design.
Our porcelain paving tiles are designed to mimic the traditional look of natural stone paving and our Rustic and Buff Porcelain options offer eye-catching variations designed specifically to resemble natural slate and sandstone paving with attractive variations in colour and design which are sure to catch the eye and complement any traditional design. Suited to the British climate, porcelain patio tiles will withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions without being susceptible to damage or becoming too hot underfoot in the sun. Porcelain paving is also impervious to fading and will stay true to its original colour, even when subjected to excessive heat and sunlight during the Summer months!
Take a look at our variety of Porcelain Paving Slabs
Slate Paving has a unique naturally riven texture and is available in a range of eye-catching colour options, suitable for creating a modern or traditional patio design that will bring life to any garden. Like many natural stone paving materials, slate slabs are a very durable option for patios and pathways. A high-quality slate tile can last decades and the durability of the paving makes it an excellent option for high traffic outdoor areas. Slate patio slabs are incredibly stain-resistant, meaning that your stone can look as good as new for years to come! Both its durability and stain-resistant nature makes it one of the best choices for those who want a no-fuss, low maintenance space.
Like some styles of sandstone paving, slate features a riven surface texture created when the slabs are split down the natural layers within the stone. These variations are less prominent within our Brazilian Black Slate which offers a slightly more premium appeal for a high-end finish! Designers often regard slate as a high-end material as it can really add value to a property. Using Brazilian or Indian slate paving for a patio, path or even driveway can even increase the value of your home thanks to its upscale reputation, durability and finish!
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Our limestone paving stones are one of the most affordable styles of Indian stone paving available, allowing you to transform your home, whatever your budget! Whether you use limestone slabs inside or out, they will dramatically change the ambience of your space, helping you to achieve a stunning finish to your project with eye-catching dark tones throughout! Limestone slabs are suitable for most types of landscaping projects and have been used for patios and garden paving for decades. It is a popular option due to its vast range of benefits and features a lightly riven surface texture.
As well as being one of the most affordable natural stone paving options available, limestone paving slabs are extremely durable with bold, dark tones which offer a dramatic look to any patio space and can be either the focal point or blend into the background of your space, depending on your design needs. Perfect for a wide variety of outdoor areas, including high traffic locations such as pathways, limestone will last for many years as a very durable option, withstanding high amounts of traffic and adverse weather conditions. Limestone is a heavy natural stone and as a result, it is a material that has been used in the building and construction industry for many years. The hard-wearing and durable natural stone paving is designed for exterior use and will stand the test of time even in harsh weather, retaining its grip underfoot.
Should I Seal My Paving?
It’s generally advised to seal paving stones to help prevent any staining, as well as helping to prevent the growth of any moss or algae.
You may want to consider sealing your slabs, especially if your stone is light in colour, as any stains will be more visible. However, sealing is not compulsory and there is a wide range of sealing products on the market which will provide various results. Some sealants will simply seal and protect, whereas others can be used to enhance the colour of your slabs. Sealing your granite patio paving will also help to protect against other general wear such as fading which can sometimes occur over long periods in places where the stone is likely to see excessive use, such as public walkways.
As for when to apply a sealer, there are no specific guidelines and most landscapers and tradespersons will have their own tried and tested methods. Some people choose to seal their paving slabs before laying to prevent any staining during the laying process and others prefer to leave their stone unsealed for up to a year, allowing the granite to weather naturally before applying a sealant. We always advise speaking to a local tradesperson who will be able to assess the many variables within your environment and offer specific advice for your project.
We offer a range of sealing and cleaning products here which are all suitable for use on our products. If in doubt, speak to one of our experts who would be happy to answer your questions and provide any advice you may need!
Still Not Sure? Order A FREE Sample!
Our Free Sample service will allow you to see and feel the stone for yourself so you can compare colours, finishes and stone types whilst browsing our website for some design inspiration to see how your project could look!