I am often asked by our clients why natural stone paving is better than concrete. So why is natural stone paving better than concrete? When people ask "what is the best" the answer is often subjective so rather than say that natural stone is better than concrete I thought I would cover the advantages to using stone over concrete and then people can make up their own minds as to what they think is the best.
One of the biggest advantages that stone has over concrete is its ability to weather naturally and in some case actually improve in value and character as it ages. A perfect example of this is our very own reclaimed Yorkstone. Reclaimed Yorkstone is used in pavement construction across London. Constant foot traffic weathers and smooths the surface of the Yorkstone and gives it a beautiful antiqued look. Concrete paving manufacturers have tried to re-0create this reclaimed look with pressed concrete slabs and stone suppliers can tumble stone to try and artificially weather it, however nothing is quite as good as genuine reclaimed Yorkstone which has been weathered naturally over time. One particular negative to concrete is if damage occurs. When a concrete slab becomes chipped or a corner breaks off, we will be left with exposed aggregate which looks very unsightly and pretty much ruins the effect of that particular piece of stone. Stone on the other hand will quickly weather and any chips or damage will soon blend into the stone. This is why we see stone being used on commercial hard landscaping projects, because it offers better durability over a longer period of time to concrete products
One of my favourite things about natural stone is the colour variation. Every piece of stone has its own unique character and while some of the concrete imitation products are very authentic looking, they still fail to match the variation that we see in natural stone paving. Stone is always changing. Stone is quarried in seams and when one particular seam of stone has been exhausted the next seam down may have slight differences in character and colour variation.
One of the best things about natural stone is the sheer choice available. If we go back 25 years, then the only stone paving used in the UK would have been Yorkstone or Portland stone. Stone imports have not only made stone affordable but have also given consumers massive choice. Stone imports begun with Indian Sandstone but now include Limestone Paving, slate, travertine and granite. There is also a range of different surface finishes available which only adds to the huge choice available. Sawn paving for example has added a whole new range of contemporary products to the market.
Steven Walley (Managing Director London Stone)