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Sandstone Paving

Sandstone paving is a unique and aesthetically-pleasing way to enhance your patios and driveways. Of course, with so many different types of paving stones available, how can you know if sandstone is the right choice for you?

Sandstone is easy to install, simple to maintain, more sustainable than concrete, and looks great for tons of different applications, making it one of the most popular choices for driveways and patios.

Come with us as we discuss the ins and outs of sandstone paving so you can determine whether or not it is the right choice for you.

What Is Sandstone?

Sandstone is an ultra-common sedimentary rock that consists of clasts (or grains of materials, organic matters, and sand) that is anywhere from 0.06 to 2mm. 

People classify different forms of sandstone by clasts. There are three different grains that these clasts are typically divided into, including:

grain typeclast size
Fine-grains0.06 to 0.2mm
Mid-grains0.2 to 0.6mm
Coarse-grains0.6 to 2mm

There are also different categories that we divide our sandstone into based on their mineral composition:

  • Lithic Grains – These grains are made from sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.
  • Feldspar Grains – These grains are made from Plagioclase feldspar or alkali.
  • Quartz Grains – These grains are predominantly made from quartz minerals and have the longest capacities of the bunch. 
Natural sandstone formation

Is Sandstone Good For Paving?

There are plenty of different types of natural stone that are great for paving, though people often use sandstone for exterior applications.

So, why is this?

Let’s look at a few reasons why so many homeowners are using sandstone for their outdoor paving applications.

Aesthetically Pleasing 

Sandstone comes in a wide range of hues and colors, allowing you to find one that fits in with your surroundings with ease. Each piece of sandstone is adorned with natural beauty. Whether you want a bit of contrast or cohesion with the surrounding area, sandstone allows for it.

You’ll find various grains and veins in different patterns and densities in the natural world. 

Great In Wet Areas

Sandstone is a porous stone, meaning it’s not the best option for areas that get wet often. However, if you seal your sandstone or give it a proper chemical treatment, you can use it around a swimming pool and enjoy a beautiful, non-slip surface. 

Sandstone comes with anti-skid properties thanks to its slightly rough texture, perfect for those who want a sturdier wet surface. 

Easy To Maintain

If you use proper surface treatments or sealants, it is easy to clean your sandstone. To wash away dirt, dust, and mild staining, you can use something as simple as plain water or a mild washing detergent. 

The beauty of sandstone compared to concrete is that it is composed of individual tiles or blocks, not a single, large entity. 

So, for example, if one of the tiles or blocks gets damaged, you can rip up the damaged piece without messing up the rest of the floor. Plus, it’s often very easy to match pieces, so you don’t have to have an eye sore in your outdoor space. 

Great For Stepping Stones

Because sandstone is durable, hard, and weather-resistant, it is a great choice for stepping stones in your landscape design. You can even decide to put your sandstone in highly trafficked areas without any worry. 

Sustainable and Renewable

Compared to concrete, sandstone is far more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Of course, there are a few additional manufacturing costs associated with shaping, packaging, and transporting sandstone, though if you’re looking to minimize your carbon footprint while beautifying your backyard, sandstone is one of the best choices around. 

Check out our sandstone vs. limestone paving guide for an in-depth comparison. 

A sandstone paving

Sandstone Paving In Driveways

Sandstone is great for driveways, as it is one of the most durable natural stones around. People will often use sandstone to build block pavers. Beyond the fact that sandstone looks great, it is very strong, allowing for heavy load-bearing. 

Sandstone Paving In Patios

People often use sandstone paving in patios, thanks to the fact that they offer tons of flexibility during the installation process. You can makeover your patio in any way you deem fit using any kind of sandstone that works for you.

One of the great things about sandstone is that it is ultra-malleable, allowing you to make intricate designs for your patio in your garden or backyard. You can also find sandstone that works with your budget, as there are many tiers of this wonderful material out there. 

Homeowners will often have their sandstone treated to make it glossy or semi-glossy. On the other hand, you might want a more natural look by maintaining the uneven and porous texture that your sandstone naturally comes with.

It’s difficult to find this type of natural look anywhere else!

Are Sandstone Patios Expensive?

Thanks to the fact that sandstone is a natural stone material, it is one of the least expensive paving options out there. On average, you will pay anywhere between $10 to $20 per square foot for your sandstone. 

Check out our article, How Much Does It Cost To Pave A Driveway, for more in-depth information on the costs you can expect. 

Different Types of Sandstone Paving

1. Riven Sandstone Paving

One of the best styles of sandstone paving for adding a rustic, textured feel to your space is riven sandstone paving. 

With riven sandstone paving, you get individual pieces of sandstone that range in terms of thickness. It’s very important that you lay these pieces of sandstone down carefully to make them properly aligned and stable. 

2. Calibrated Sandstone Paving

If you want to keep the thickness of your stones as consistent as possible, we highly recommend going with calibrated stone paving. This type of paving is very popular because it is the most uniform. Calibrated stone paving makes for a far more uniform cut. These stones are much easier to transport and lay down.

You’ll find that these types of slabs are 22mm in thickness, though the thickness can change if they are cut by hand. 

3. Sawn Sandstone Paving

Sawn sandstone paving, sometimes referred to as honed sandstone paving, will go through several unique processes to give you a modern aesthetic. 

These stones are cut using machines down to the nearest millimeter. The stones are then buffed, giving you the smoothest finish possible. If you’re working on a modern landscaping project, we highly recommend sawn sandstone paving.

A pavement made of rainbow sandstone

How Long Does Sandstone Paving Last?

One of the great things about sandstone is that it can last for many years if you take care of it, which is one of the reasons it has become so popular for outdoor applications. They don’t break very easily, allowing you to handle them effectively without worry. 

All you have to do is wipe or spray them down every now and then to make sure they stay shiny and clean. Compared to other types of natural stones, sandstone is one of the most reliable stones out there. 

Using Indian sandstone or rainbow sandstone and high-quality sealant, you can expect your sandstone to last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. On the other hand, if you use cheap quality materials and don’t take care of your sandstone, you can end up having to replace them in 2 to 10 years

Do You Need To Seal Sandstone Paving?

Unless there is a good reason for sealing your sandstone paving, we would not recommend it. We often see people botch their sealant jobs, ruining the natural look of the stone. Unfortunately, restoring your stone after you have already sealed it is impossible. You need to make sure that applying sealant is something you actually want to do. 

If you live in a place with inclement weather, including extreme heat, rain, or snow, sealing your sandstone paving can help protect it so that it lasts longer. It’s important to choose a sealer that suits the color of your sandstone and that you’re careful when reading your sealing directions. 

If you use a high-quality sealant, you should only need to reapply it every three years or so. 

You can pressure wash your sandstone paving

Can You Pressure Wash Sandstone Paving?

Because sandstone paving is naturally resistant to chemicals and erosion, it is one of the best for resisting pressure washing. You don’t have to worry about pressure washing damaging your sandstone material. 

However, if your stones weren’t laid correctly or are placed too close together, you might notice sudden dislodgement or movement when you spray them with high-pressure water. 

The good thing is that you won’t have to pressure wash very often, as sandstone does not stain very easily. Oils and moisture in the sandstone will eventually stain if you leave them sitting there for long periods, though if you’re diligent about cleaning and wiping your sandstone down, you shouldn’t have to worry about this. 

We recommend using a high-quality sealant to block out extraneous moisture.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, sandstone is one of the best options for outdoor applications, all thanks to its versatility, reliability, and ease of use. If you want to beautify your house with natural colors or create a safe, non-slip outdoor space, we highly recommend looking into using sandstone for your next project. 

Rainbow Sandstone

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.
Rainbow sandstone quarry

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.

How to lay your rainbow sandstone paving

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.

Indian sandstone colors

Rainbow Sandstone Paving Ideas

Outdoor Patio

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. 

Pool Area

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

Durability

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.

Beauty

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.

Replacement of paving

Uniqueness

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.

Can Scratch

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. 

Cost

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.

Paving problems with natural rocks

Final Thoughts 

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!

Sandstone vs Limestone

As two of the most popular stones in the world for paving, people often wonder whether they should use sandstone or limestone when paving their driveways, patios, or gardens. 

While you can use both Sandstone vs Limestone to achieve similarly fantastic looks, there are many differences to consider in terms of cost, durability, and overall aesthetic.

Come dive in with us as we explore the major differences between sandstone and limestone that you should note when making your decision. 

What Is Limestone?

Limestone is what we refer to as a sedimentary rock. It’s formed out of several organic debris, including algae, coral, and shells. However, it can also be formed with chemical processes, such as calcium carbonate precipitation from ocean water or lakes. Scientists develop much of the Earth’s chronology thanks to studying fossils that are deeply embedded in limestone.

A view of a limestone quarry

You can find most limestone in very shallow oceanic regions, such as continental platforms and shelves. While most limestone is gray, it can come in different colors depending on its natural composition, including brown, yellow, or white. 

What Is Sandstone?

Sandstone is another type of sedimentary rock; its composition includes rock, minerals, and other organic materials. You can find sandstone all over the world, though there are large deposits in places like Germany, South Africa, and the United States.

A view of a sandstone formation

Sandstone typically forms in the offshore regions of river deltas, where sand is deposited and buried. Over time, beaches and desert dunes can also leave large sandstone beds. While it is less widespread, scientists also often find fossils in sandstone.

In terms of color, you can find pretty wide-ranging fluctuations, moving from brown to yellow to red to orange.

Sandstone – How It Looks

Sandstone is fairly variable when it comes to textures and colors; it is a great option for those who want to go beyond uniformity. Many people feel that the color-grading found in sandstone is superior to that of limestone. No two pieces of sandstone will look the same. 

Going for a golden sandstone is excellent for both indoor and outdoor projects.

Sandstone: how it looks

In terms of texture, sandstone is more uneven than limestone, giving you a rippled look. We love sandstone with a sawn finish, as it provides a very contemporary look, even more than limestone in many ways. On the other hand, you can get a grittier texture with a bit more slip resistance by sand-blasting your sandstone. You’ll often find this texture along poolsides. 

Limestone – How It Looks

Compared to sandstone, limestone has a texture that once could describe as flat or consistent. For this reason, limestone has become one of the most popular choices for covered courtyards and driveways. With such an even finish, many people opt to use limestone for indoor applications too.

White limestone is one of the best choices if you’re going for a cleaner, more uniform look. However, while limestone offers a smooth, uniform look for the most part, you can potentially expect a slight color variation from piece to piece.

Limestone: how it looks

Compared to sandstone, you can expect fewer ridges with limestone. With its unique and natural characteristics, you almost get an orange peel-like texture from it, as well as a natural split surface look. 

Cost Of Sandstone Vs Limestone

When it comes to the cost of paving something like a driveway, sandstone is your best bet. 

If you can get locally-sourced limestone rocks, you won’t end up paying very much. However, the minute you begin paying for quarried travertine and marbles, it can become extremely costly. 

This is one of the major reasons that homeowners often opt for sandstone, as the cost isn’t nearly as high. Sandstone is also cheaper than concrete and cement in most cases, especially when locally available.

Beyond that, sandstone is much easier to work with than limestone, concrete, or cement; it means you also pay less for labor costs. Overall, when it comes to the affordability of sandstone vs limestone, sandstone is a pretty clear winner. 

Composition of Limestone and Sandstone

Limestone has a very chalky texture thanks to its calcite composition. Overall, the composition of limestone is pretty consistent and plain. 

On the other hand, the composition of sandstone includes various rocks and minerals, such as quartz and feldspar. This sedimentary rock can vary from piece to piece, giving it a unique composition compared to limestone.

Compared to limestone, there is more variability in the composition of sandstone

Sandstone Vs Limestone Durability

When it comes to the durability of sandstone vs limestone, both of these rocks are very sturdy and can last a long time under the right conditions. Both of these stones are able to endure tough weather, which is why they have become such popular choices for outdoor paving. 

For generations, people used both of these stones to build large structures that still stand strong to this day. Beyond the similarities in terms of durability, sandstone is much easier to work with than limestone, as it is much softer. However, this also makes sandstone more susceptible to being scratched or dented, especially when using it for indoor projects. 

On the other hand, sandstone is also denser than limestone, which is why you’ll see it in many construction projects. 

It’s worth noting that because limestone is a calcite rock, it doesn’t mix well with strong acids. If you use strong acid washes on limestone, you can stain and ruin your limestone. With sandstone, you can clean and wash it with milder acids without much worry, though like Limestone, it doesn’t react well to very strong acids. 

Another thing you might want to consider with durability is water absorption. Both of these rocks are fairly water-resistant, although sandstone is a bit more porous compared to limestone. When installing these rocks, especially in indoor applications, it’s important to apply some sort of sealant to the surface so that they aren’t as impacted by water.

PRO TIP

You might consider looking at the stones when they’re wet during your purchase. Doing so will give you a better idea as to which one best fit your requirements.

When all is said and done, we’d have to give the medal to limestone on this one. When you’re working with lightly-colored sandstone, it’s not surprising to see subtle differences when it absorbs water. While it won’t likely impact your stone that much, even the potential of a slight impact puts it just behind limestone. 

Sandstone Vs Limestone Slip Resistance

Because sandstone has a naturally grainy and sandy texture, it is much more slip-resistant than limestone. We recommend using sandstone in areas that receive a lot of rainfall or areas that are consistently wet, such as around swimming pools. 

That’s not to say that limestone is slippery, though polished limestone in indoor spaces should be avoided when it is wet, as it can be slippery to walk across. 

Sandstone Vs Limestone Versatility

Both limestone and sandstone are ultra-versatile stones, which you can cut into various shapes and sizes for your need. No matter what kind of project you have, you can get these stones to fit within the bounds, which makes it quite difficult to find a “winner” in terms of versatility. 

With such a wide range of colors and finishes, you can adapt these stones to just about any project.

Sandstone vs Limestone : which one sgould I choose?

Which One Should I Choose? 

With all of the information above, you should be able to determine which of these rocks better suits your project. 

If you’re working on landscaping, steps, pathways, decks, patios, or other outdoor projects, locally available limestone rocks can be a great choice. If you want to add a touch of luxury to your indoor decorations, such as countertops, cladding, flooring, sculptures, or fountains, exotic limestone, travertine, and marble are excellent choices. 

Just note that these will cost you a bit more than sandstone. 

On the other hand, sandstone is a tried and true material that humans use since ancient times to build entire buildings. However, today, you mostly find sandstone on driveways, around swimming pools, on patios, or throughout pathways. 

Conclusion

Limestone and sandstone have very similar properties. But there are clearly a few differences that can help guide your decision. 

While both of these stones are very effective and eco-friendly choices, we highly recommend going with limestone for indoor projects if you have the additional money to spend, though if you’re looking for the best stone for an outdoor project that’ll give you color and variation, sandstone is an excellent choice. 

Make sure to get in touch with us at Paving Finder if you need any further help in making the best decision for your residential or commercial project. We help homeowners and project managers make the best choices for their paving needs based on their budgets and requirements.