People often wonder if rainbow sandstone is as magical as it sounds.
Rainbow sandstone has a smooth finish and unique rainbow pattern. This popular characteristic makes it the perfect choice for those who want to add a semblance of luxury to their interior and exterior spaces.
Of course, having a decent understanding of a type of stone before making a purchase for your paving project is crucial.
Come dive in as we explore everything there is to know about rainbow sandstone.
What Is Rainbow Sandstone?
Rainbow sandstone is a popular type of sandstone that is found in quarries in Rajasthan’s Nagaur District. Some people also refer to it as Khatu Rainbow Sandstone or Indian Sandstone. One of the unique characteristics that set Rainbow Sandstone apart from other types of sandstone is the thin lines or stripes of color that run across its surface. This includes shades of red, violet, and brown.
With these veins running in parallel with each other, the stone ends up having a rainbow look.
Beyond its rainbow-like aesthetic, it also has a smooth finish, making it wonderful for both interior and exterior projects, especially for those who want an added luxurious feel.
When adding premium-grade sandstone to your home, you can bring a warm and charming natural quality that catches the eye. Every stone offers a unique pattern with varying swirls of color. On the surface, it’s pretty easy to see why this has become such a popular stone.
Characteristics of Rainbow Sandstone
- Made In – Slabs, Tiles, and Countertops.
- Uses – Flooring, Wall Tiles, and Countertops.
- Finishing – Flamed, Gangsaw, and Polish.
- Primary Colors – Brown.
- Country – India.
How Do You Lay Rainbow Sandstone?
While every paving project is different, there are some basic rules to follow when laying Rainbow Sandstone (or any type of sandstone, for that matter).
Let’s go over the basics in step-by-step order:
1.Find The Area
First, you’ll want to determine where you’re going to lay your sandstone. You’ll want to make sure the area is level, firm, and well-drained. If you can, mark the area out with spray paint so you can get a visual of exactly where you’ll lay your stone.
2. Start Digging
You’ll then want to dig the spray-painted area at least 125mm deep + the depth of your paving materials. Remove all of the topsoil and vegetation from the area as well. When finished digging, you should have a minimum of 150mm.
3. Ensure The Area Is Level
Using measure falls and string lines, you’ll need to ensure that the area you are laying your stones is level. Once these tools are in place, compact the area using a tamper or garden roller.
4. Leave Space For Your Base
Using any sub-base material from dust to crushed stone, you’ll want to fill in a 50mm layer and compact it to lay your stone on top. Once filled and compacted, repeat the process one more time until you have 100mm of overall sub-base.
PRO TIP – Make sure that your area has a place for water to run off, so it does not pool.
5. Wash Your Stone
Remove any dirt or dust from your stones by giving them a good wash. You can use a sponge to wipe your stones down before putting them into place.
6. Prime Your Stone
Using fine mortar slurry or a proprietary priming product, prime the back of your stones.
7. Mix Up Your Mortar
Using four parts sand to one part water, create your mortar mix. You’ll want to make sure that the consistency of the mortar mix is “wet” so that it is easy to work with.
8. Spread Your Mortar Mix
Start with a small area of your layout and spread your mortar mix so that it is level. You’ll want it to be somewhere around 30mm in thickness.
9. Lay Your Stone
Start laying your sandstone units in your bed of mortar one stone at a time. Each stone should be anywhere from 8 to 10mm apart. To ensure your stones fit firmly into place, you can tap down on them with a rubber mallet.
10. Case the Joints
Create more mortar mix using four parts sand to one part water. Make sure that the consistency of this mortar mix is “wet” like before. Take this mortar mix and fill your joints using a trowel. To compress the mortar mix into the joints between your stones, you can use a pointing tool.
11. Let It Settle
Allow your Rainbow Sandstone paving to dry before you walk on it. We recommend waiting at least 24 hours. However, if you live in a wet or humid environment, we recommend waiting longer.
What Is The Best Sandstone?
There is no single type of sandstone that is better than another. However, there are certainly different grades or tiers of sandstone that you can purchase. For example, if you want to purchase Indian Sandstone for your garden paving project, you’ll want to make sure that the sandstone has a uniform texture and a fine grain.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re buying from a reputable dealer, as they’ll be able to provide you with details about the exact type of sandstone you’re purchasing and how to take care of it.
How Long Does Rainbow Sandstone Last?
If installed and maintained with proper care, Rainbow Sandstone can last for a very long time. On the other hand, if you install it on the cheap, don’t provide it with care, or use low-quality materials, you might only be able to expect anywhere from 2-10 years out of it.
With the right materials, a solid base, and proper care (ex. Repointing every couple of years), you can get anywhere from 30 to 50 years out of your sandstone.
There are many Rainbow Sandstone paths that have been down for more than 100 years without moving very much.
Does Indian Sandstone Keep Its Color?
Some people note that they have issues with their Indian Sandstone changing colors after a certain period. Depending on the type of sandstone you have and the conditions it is in, it can often turn yellow over time.
One of the best ways to get sandstone to return to its original color is by treating it with an acidic solution. Some people will even go as far as staining their sandstone if it is not sealed, which can give it an entirely different color altogether. However, the susceptibility of sandstone staining depends a lot on the density of the stone in question.
Some sandstone is much more porous than other types.
What Is The Best Indian Sandstone Color?
While there are many different colors of Indian Sandstone to choose from, one of the most popular on the current market (and for a good reason) is Raj Green. This color of Indian Sandstone offers a unique mix of earthy browns and greens that are very complementary when put alongside natural landscapes with grass and foliage.
Beyond that, Raj Green is one of the most versatile types of Indian Sandstone around, allowing you to use it for a number of unique projects.
Of course, there are many other colors to choose from as well, including grey, light grey, mint, and brown. Modac is a very popular color due to the fact that it changes color when wet. When dry, it looks like a blend of orange, plum, and pink. However, when wet, it looks more earthy.
Rainbow Sandstone Paving Ideas
Rainbow Sandstone has an earthy look that works well with outdoor spaces. Thanks to the shades of green in many types of sandstone, it works naturally when set in next to grassy areas or gardens with plenty of foliage.
Take a look at this simple Rainbow Sandstone patio with a brick outline sitting next to a large grassy lawn.
Rainbow Sandstone works great next to pools for several reasons.
For starters, it has a slight texture on the surface that keeps it from getting too slick when wet, which can keep those hanging out around the pool safe at all times.
Secondly, many types of Rainbow Sandstone will have a slight change in color when wet, which results in a unique multicolor aesthetic that you can’t get from many other types of stones.
Check out some of the ways people have incorporated Rainbow Sandstone into their pool areas.
Pros of Rainbow Sandstone Paving
While Rainbow Sandstone isn’t as durable as slate or granite, it is more than durable enough to last for many years if properly taken care of. Once installed, Rainbow Sandstone can last for many decades, even in environments that receive inclement weather often.
There is an undeniable and ineffable quality that you get with Rainbow Sandstone that is difficult to find elsewhere. You get a natural beauty from Rainbow Sandstone that complements many spaces and designs.
One of the great things about Rainbow Sandstone is that you can choose from a wide variety of colors, from green to white to brown and beyond. The stretch of hues is so versatile, making Rainbow Sandstone great for several projects.
Beyond that, you get an earthy texture that you won’t find in any imitations.
Easy To Replace
Because you install sandstone flooring using individual pieces and tiles, you can easily remove and replace tiles if they crack or break. We always recommend saving some tiles from your initial installation in case anything happens. It can be difficult to source the exact color of Rainbow Sandstone tile years down the line, if not impossible. This is why many quarries will stop producing certain varieties for a number of reasons.
Sandstone pavers are all-natural. This means that every color, pattern, or hue found in these pavers is totally unique. When these massive slabs of stone are mined from the Earthy, they are cut into smaller pieces.
A builder can then rearrange these pieces at random to turn them into a masterful piece of architecture.
Cons of Rainbow Sandstone Paving
Of course, there are also many drawbacks to using Rainbow Sandstone as well, which are worth noting if you’re planning on making a big investment for a paving project.
Rainbow Sandstone is a natural rock. Compared to many types of natural stone, however, it is very soft. This means that it is susceptible to dents and scratches over time. Dropping some heavy can easily crack a tile, or stepping the wrong way in a high heel can leave nasty scratches.
High Water Absorption
Most Rainbow Sandstone is very porous. In fact, the absorption rate of most types of sandstone is 6%, meaning it is more vulnerable to damage than other types of stone. If you live in extreme conditions, your Rainbow Sandstone could suffer from warping, liquid stains, molds, and micro-bacteria if not properly sealed and cared for.
If you are planning to install Rainbow Sandstone in a kitchen, bathroom, or pool area, spending time sealing it is extremely important.
Rainbow Sandstone can get very expensive very fast. People often ask us how much it costs for certain projects, such as paving a driveway. While Rainbow Sandstone can certainly look a lot nicer than concrete, it will also cost a lot more.
Rainbow (and/or Indian) Sandstone Paving Problems
Two of the biggest problems with Indian Sandstone is that it can become soft and brittle over time and can become less vibrant under certain conditions.
For these reasons, it is important to source high-quality sandstone and seal it so that you can protect your paved area from deteriorating over the years.
Whether you’re paving a driveway, creating a garden patio, or putting in some new steps next to the pool, Rainbow Sandstone is a great paving choice. It is certainly a higher-priced paving slab compared to many others, though it can provide a blend of earthiness and luxury that you won’t find in many other types of stone.
We highly recommend it for any kind of outdoor project!
For more information on paving projects, head over to our blog, where we share our expert advice on paving with all types of materials!