As with all materials in all industries, Indian Sandstone does have problems. However, you must be fully aware of the problems that you may face with these sandstone slabs and exactly what you can do to counteract them.
Indian sandstone is one of the most popular paving materials across the nation and comes in a huge range of different colours that can accommodate any garden such as Raj Green Indian Sandstone or Kandla Grey Indian Sandstone. Natural Indian sandstone has a huge number of amazing benefits that help its immense popularity. As its name suggests, the stone originates from India, a country that is renowned for its stunning veiny natural stones.
However, these amazing benefits do not stop the stone from having its problems. As with every natural stone, problems can occur unexpectedly, this is why we believe it is super important to understand the problems that could well occur with Indian sandstone paving and what you can do to fix these problems if they do occur.
Staining is a common problem with all stones and especially all paving stones. Throughout the years your paving goes through an incredible amount of wear and tear, whether that be through the changing of the seasons, weather or just constant usage. It is super important to look out for anything that could potentially stain the natural stone and dispose of it as quickly as possible.
The main culprits for staining any form of natural stone paving, especially at this time of year are algae and leaves. Algae typically is found in the autumn/winter months as the bacteria thrive in wetter environments. This is because to grow and spread, they need plenty of water and also in the cooler months, the water does not evaporate as quickly from the surface of the paving causing the algae to thrive. If not treated immediately algae can cause a slight green staining to the surface of the natural stone paving slabs.
Similarly, leaves can cause considerable staining if not dealt with promptly. This is because if leaves are left for long enough that they can start to decay then they can release a substance called tannin. Tannin is a very strong and potent dye that can cause staining on the surface of your paving which will be extremely difficult to get rid of.
How To Fix This
Believe it or not, the solution to this problem is incredibly simple. When your paving stones have been laid you should always invest in what is called a paving stone sealant. This sealant will help to prevent problems such as staining and even discolouration of the paving stone. You should look to reapply paving sealant to your paving every 3-5 years for maximum protection.
While the sealer is extremely effective, another fix is to regularly wash down and clean your paving, especially in the winter months. This will help you to keep on top of things such as leaf piles forming and unwanted algae growth. It will also make sure that the leaves or algae are never on the surface of your paving long enough to cause potential staining.
If however, you are finding this article after you have already experienced staining and you are looking for a solution then there are many things that you can try. For tough stains caused by algae or tannin the most effective solution would be to use a bleach solution, however, the bleach solution should be very weak to avoid damaging the stone. A simple 50/50 water/bleach solution should be more than sufficient to bring up the stains.
Another issue that can creep up over time is pavers start to bulge and cause uneven ground. This is a problem that many people run into and then blame the paving stones, however, the paving stones are not the problem at all. If your paving begins to bulge at any point then the problem is that they have not been laid correctly.
If your paving stones have not been laid correctly then there will be cracks between the pavers and areas where moisture, dirt, dust and water can penetrate the stone. This can then result in the stone starting to warp and bulge which will cause the ground to be uneven.
Uneven ground could also be a result of the paving stones being laid upside down. The surface layer of the stone should be far smoother than the underneath layer. Therefore uneven ground could mean that the stones have been laid completely wrong and need to be turned around.
How To Fix This
- You should look closely at your paving slabs, if you notice that some of them have a far more uneven profile than the rest of the pavers then there is a very good chance that they have been laid incorrectly.
- If this is the case then you should simply use a chisel to carefully bring up the paver, making sure that you do not damage the stone in any way.
- You should then clean off the Indian sandstone paver making sure that you get any excess dirt off the correct side.
- Using a jointing compound you can then replace the paving stone making sure that they are the correct way up.
Cracking of a natural stone material such as Indian sandstone is extremely uncommon, but if this does occur then 9 times out of 10 this is down to a problem which is known in the industry as butt jointing. Butt jointing is simply where the paving slabs have been installed too close together and therefore butt up against each other causing unnecessary stress.
As the seasons and temperatures change, so does the stone. Indian sandstone often expands when temperatures change, this is nothing to worry about and is very common among outdoor materials. Because of this, each slab should typically be laid with around 8-10mm separating them from each other. This, therefore, gives the paving stones room to work with when expanding with changing weather.
If there is not enough of a gap left then when the stone is expanding then each slab will be pressing and expanding against the next. This will in turn cause a lot of pressure on the stones and more often than not will result in cracking to some of the pavers.
How To Fix This
There are several ways that you could fix this problem, you could bring up the cracked slabs and replace them with undamaged ones. However, the most cost and time-effective way would be to simply fill the cracks. This will still give you a brilliant finish and overall amazing paving.
- Make sure that the area of the patio that you are wanting to fill is clean and free of any dirt or debris.
- Using a jointing compound or a resin fill in the cracked area, making sure that you scrape away any excess filler from the stone.
- Allow the filler to dry for at least 24 hours before any foot traffic.
If this problem continues to occur then make sure that you get in contact with a professional who can advise you further on how to deal with the problem.
Since Indian sandstone is a natural stone, it can always be vulnerable to weathering over the latter end of its lifeline. The most common weathering problem that can occur is called delamination. Delamination is a type of weathering that is simply a deterioration of dense surface layers.
This commonly happens when too much water is allowed to get into the pores of the stone which causes crystallisation and freezing which will overtime weaken the surface of the stone and then cause layers to start breaking off. This can have a huge effect on the aesthetic of your paving and is therefore something you will want to rectify as quickly as possible.
How To Fix This
Here are a few tips to try and avoid delamination from happening:
- Try and keep your paving as dry as possible to avoid too much moisture. Make sure that you are not unnecessarily cleaning the patio or using harmful characters.
- When you clean your patio, make sure to take care. Using too much water pressure will weaken the integrity of the patio and therefore make it more vulnerable to damage such as delamination.