While some garden projects offer you a wide range of options when it comes to choice of natural stone, walkways and driveways require a material that is strong and doesn’t need replacing regularly, which is where granite paving stones come into their own. They may cost more than other kinds of stone but granite paving slabs will repay you with their durability and good looks.
The benefits of granite paving
Granite is one of the strongest most hard wearing types of natural stone and that means it is difficult for it to wear, scratch or chip. It can be resistant to stains and is colourfast. Natural granite pavers, available in colours ranging from grey and black to yellow and pink, provide a sturdy foundation that can last a lifetime when installed properly.
Tip: If you are using granite paving setts for paths and patios that will see frequent foot traffic your pavers need to be a minimum of 1-1/2-inch thick, while driveways need pavers at least three inches thick to hold up to heavy vehicle traffic.
The natural beauty of granite paving stones means that they’ll make any drive or patio look good. Their colours can be perfectly matched to almost any environment and to any design scheme whether it is contemporary or more traditional in feel.
Flamed granite paving texture has a rough surface which makes it slip-resistant. It also doesn’t wear easily, so if you need to pave the area around your swimming pool, then granite is an excellent choice. For the same reason it is also perfect for pathways. Indeed, anywhere that you might be worried about slipping.
Because granite is a tough durable stone it doesn’t need as much protection and maintenance as other natural stones. Once your granite paving setts are installed in your garden, you have few worries about what to do to help preserve their looks. A simple clean is mostly all you need to bring them back to their natural beauty.
The beauty of granite is that it won’t be damaged if it is exposed to light. It is a completely non-combustible stone and it resists heat and will therefore not fade like other stones could do when subjected to prolonged sunlight.
Different types of granite?
So you’ve decided that textured granite paving offers the luxurious finish you require for your outdoor project. Now you need to decide which type of granite will work for you. At The Premium Paving Company we have something to suit your needs, whether you are designing for a contemporary or traditional setting. Premium Paving granite paving is available in Silver Grey, Charcoal, Diamond Black and Grey Galaxy. Granite’s very consistent colouring which, combined with its tight grain and textured surface, makes it perfect for an ultra-modern, high-end chic look and the colour options can easily be combined, if desired, to create defined lines or patterns to add contrast.
How to cut granite paving
Granite is a hard rock that’s tough to cut through, but you don’t need to be a stonemason to do it yourself. With a circular saw and a diamond-cut blade, you can make clean and accurate cuts. Apart from that, the procedure is pretty much the same as with most types of natural stone. And don’t forget to wear protective goggles and gloves before you begin.
Measure your granite paving slab
Use a pencil and ruler to ensure you get the right dimensions, or if you are getting creative with differing shapes you need to trace the pattern onto your slab. If you are a novice you may want to stick to simpler more uniform shapes however as these will be easier to cut.
Cut your granite paving slab
For this you will need a specialised diamond floor saw. Ensure that you mount your granite slab on a steady and hard surface before you begin to cut. You’ll need a steady hand to obtain the precision cut you need.
Smooth out the edges
You don’t want to leave sharp rough edges on your natural granite as you could cut yourself, so you need to smooth the edges. You do this by using a power sander which will do the job efficiently and expertly.
How to lay granite paving
Mark the area you wish to pave before you begin.
Calculate the excavation depth required for the project, adding the paver thickness, 1 inch for a sand base, and 4 to 6 inches for a gravel base for walkways and patios or 6 to 12 inches for the gravel base for a driveway. A thicker base provides a more stable foundation and better drainage for the pavers; clay soils require a thicker base than sandy soil.
Excavate the area to the depth you require. For example, A walkway or patio with 2-inch thick pavers on clay soil requires only 7 inches depth, allowing 2 inches for paver thickness, 1 inch for the sand base and the minimum 4 inches for the gravel base, while a driveway with 4-inch thick granite pavers on clay, poorly-drained soil must be excavated to a depth of 17 inches, allowing 4 inches for paver thickness, 1 inch for the sand base and 12 inches for the gravel base to improve drainage.
Tip: Don’t forget to grade the soil with a 1/2-to-1 percent slope to allow water to run away from the paved area.
Pack the soil subsurface with a plate compactor until the area is smooth.
Fill in the excavated area with gravel or another base material, spread it evenly and ensure that it’s level.
Pack the levelled base material with a plate compactor. Add the rest of the base material one-third at a time and pack it down between layers. Although you can add all the gravel or crushed rock at one time, the base material packs tighter when added in layers.
Add edging restraints to the edges of the area, to keep the pavers from shifting after you’ve installed them.
Add a 1-inch layer of coarse masonry sand over the compacted base layer and drag a two-by-four screed over the sand until level. Use the edge restraints as a guide to keep the sand in the boundaries.
Lay the granite pavers directly on the sand bedding to your chosen design. It is best to space them close together to prevent movement.
Pour fine sand over the granite paver surface and sweep the sand into the cracks between pavers. Spray the area with water to settle the sand, then add extra sand to fill in the cracks.
Compact the granite paving stones to ensure they are embedded in the sand.
Sweep away any remaining sand or debris from the paver surface, then add sand binding sealant to the cracks between pavers.
How do you clean granite paving?
In most instances, using a basic mixture of soap and water will be enough to clean any dirt and debris off your granite paving stones. All you need to do is mix a bucket of warm water with an acid-free washing-up liquid to avoid any staining or discoloration. Brush the surface to remove dirty and debris lying on top then clean with the solution and it should look good in no time.
One of the key benefits of granite is how straightforward it is to look after, and clean, compared to other paving materials.
You may notice some discoloration to your granite paving stones due to oxidisation.
Oxidisation stains can also occur when water runs over metal fixtures or fittings and trickles down to your paving, depositing iron particles from oxidisation (rusting) into your paving. These stains are common on areas such as driveways, where rust is deposited by vehicles or on patios where garden furniture might have rusted and left marks. To remove any markings which have been caused by the natural oxidisation process you can buy special stain remover to do the job, however, prevention is often better than the cure and to do this you need to seal your granite paving stones. Most sealants will form a protective layer across the surface of your paving, whilst still allowing the stone to ‘breathe’.
At The Premium Paving Company, we have built our reputation and rapport with global contacts over the past 15 years to ensure we are the UK’s paving supplier of choice.
If you are interested in finding out more about our granite paving options for your project, or would like a sample from our natural stone paving range, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.