3 Water-Related Problems To Avoid When Choosing Natural Stone Paving

When it comes to landscaping a property, one of the key decisions you have to make is the sort of stone you will use for paving. Particularly if you are looking to landscape a commercial property that will have a lot of foot traffic, it is important to avoid common problems related to low-quality materials. To help you with this, below are three water-related problems that can occur with natural stone paving and how to avoid them:

The Material Has High Porosity

Sedimentary rocks such as sandstone are porous materials by their nature, which can can cause problems with water absorption. As a rule of thumb, the higher porosity of a material, the more water it is able to absorb. This may not seem like such a major issue, but high porosity can be extremely problematic if the water that is drawn into the stone is able to settle and cause algae to grow over the surface of the material. Furthermore, if the water contains dirt and other particulate material, it can damage the integrity and aesthetics of the stone.

One of the major problems with high-porosity stones is that you are unable to spot the problem before the material becomes damaged. The pores in the stone are so small that they are nearly invisible to the naked eye, so it's important to understand what sort of stone to look out for and what measures you can take to protect the material.

Ideally, you should avoid particularly porous stone; however, materials such as sandstone and limestone are highly sought after because of their aesthetic qualities. Therefore, if you wish to use a porous material, it is imperative that you protect the stone from direct rainfall and regularly clean the surface to remove dirt.

The Stone Is Suffering from Frost Damage

Frost damage is related to porosity and occurs when absorbed water is allowed to expand and contract in response to a change in temperature. If this occurs, the cyclic buildup of pressure on the stone structure can cause it to crack, which may ultimately cause significant damage to the material over time.

One of the key signs to look out for to detect frost damage is the presence of weathering around the corners of the stone. If the material is being damaged from frost, the edges of the stone will start to crumble, and the stone will start to lose some of its grains.

The best way to protect your stone from frost damage is to choose a stone with a low water absorption value. Speak to manufacturers about this—there are standards tests that will be carried out on the stone, and they will be able to give you advice on what sort of stone to purchase. If you need additional protection, you should look at applying a sealant to the stone. These resin-like sealants can be impregnated into the stone and offer an additional layer of protection against water ingress.

The Surface Is Suffering from Delamination

Delamination is a common problem in paving made of low-quality sedimentary rocks. The problem occurs because of the layers within the rock that, if left unprotected, can allow water to move between the material. If this movement is combined with a high downward pressure from people walking on the material, the top layers of paving can become detached from the rest of the stone.

Delamination is a difficult process to stop, as it is so inherent in sedimentary rocks. The best way to protect against this process is to choose a material that does not have a layered structure. Typically, you should choose materials that have a compact crystalline structure, such as marble or granite. With these materials, there are no layers for water to move between, which means that none of the material can become detached from the main geological body of the material.

When it comes to choosing natural stone, experience is key. To help you make the make the best decisions for your commercial property, consider speaking to a qualified commercial landscaper that has a wealth of experience in working with natural stone.