Paving Installation FAQs

Professional installation is key to a good-looking and long-lasting patio or driveway. We supply all the installation materials and equipment you’ll need to lay your hard landscaping, including mortar, grout, slab-laying tools and pointing accessories. Here we’ve compiled all your FAQs on installing natural stone paving, porcelain, composite decking and clay pavers to create a comprehensive resource for laying our hard-landscaping materials. Our experienced advisors are also ready to help online or by telephone.

FAQs — Installation

Can natural stone paving be butt jointed?

We strongly advise against this. Pointing is an important part of paving construction and provides stability for the paved area. Natural stone also has dimensional tolerances which make it impossible to achieve an even finish by butt-jointing. Butt jointing leaves gaps, albeit tiny ones, between slabs and so it can also encourage weed growth and leave the paving vulnerable to damage from freeze/thaw action.

What size should pointing gaps be?

For riven paving we recommend a minimum pointing gap of approximately 10mm. For sawn stones, we recommend a minimum gap of around 5mm. Any dimensional differences in the slabs should be allowed for in the joints to give you an even overall finish.

Do you offer an installation service?

Unfortunately not - we like to focus all our efforts on supplying the best quality natural stone paving we can. However, you can use our Connect service to find a garden designer or landscaper in your area. As with any project of this nature, please ensure that you check the companies’ portfolios carefully to see examples of previous work and obtain alternative quotations before you agree to any work taking place. We also highly recommend using a professional to carry out your landscaping installation. These will usually be contractors who are registered with a professional association such as the APL ( or BALI (

Which way up should I lay my riven sandstone? Does it matter?

There is a top and a bottom to all natural stone slabs. The top will always be the better looking side. With riven sandstone, the top will have a larger, flatter surface and the edges will taper in slightly towards the bottom of the slab. If in doubt, just get in touch and we will be happy to assist.

How do I install stepping stones?

Stepping stones should be installed the same way as the main patio; on a compacted MOT type 1 sub-base with a full bed of sand and cement mortar.

Can I install natural stone using a pedestal system?

Pedestal systems are often used where weight is an issue, for example on balconies. We recommend that stone is a minimum of 50mm thick, no larger than 600x600mm and that you also place a central support in addition to the edge/corner pedestals. Alternatively we sell a range of porcelain products which are ideally suited for a pedestal installation due to being only 20mm thick and lighter than natural stone. You also do not need a central support when using porcelain on the smaller sizes, you only need extra supports in the middle of each long edge on the 1194mm size slabs.

Has Sawn Stone got a top and bottom or can I lay it any way round?

On Sawn Stone generally, the more textured side is on top, such as sandblasted texture and calibration marks if any will be on the bottom. Also if pre-sealed the top of the stone will not absorb any water whereas the bottom will.

Can I just install the stone as it gets delivered to me?

Open and mix pallets of stone before laying. Do not just lay from one pallet at a time as this ensures an even mix of the natural variation and colour. It also gives the opportunity to spot any pieces that will want to be left for cuts and wastage.

Is the stone ready to be installed on delivery?

In most case yes, however the stone is stored outside so can arrive with residual moisture and occasionally needs cleaning prior to installation. If sealing it on site, stone needs to be allowed to dry beforehand.

Is it possible to cut Porcelain?

Yes, although it is harder to do so than with Natural stone. You will need to use a blade specifically designed to cut Porcelain. This are available to purchase from London Stone, if required. We also recommend using water whilst cutting which helps keep the blade cool and reduces the risk of chipping. Also, if the blade gets extremely hot and fails, it can result in injury not just to those around you, but others nearby as well. It is also not recommended to use a 115mm angle grinder to cut porcelain. They are too small, which means the blade may not get time to cool.

Does light coloured stone need to be installed differently?

On light coloured paving materials use a white rubber mallet to tap them down with or wrap a rag around a normal mallet. This prevents rubber marks getting transferred to the paving material which can cause unsightly stains that are difficult to remove. It is also advised for some specific stone to use white cement and river washed sand (see individual product guides for further information).

Can I install my stone in the rain?

When installing sealed stone, if carried out in the wet after freshly being sealed the force of the mallet can push moisture into the stone and compromise the sealant. This should therefore be avoided. It may also have detrimental effects to the bedding materials although your installation professional should be able to best advise on this.

I have left over material excavated from site, can I use this to lay my stone on?

Any substrate removed from the ground during excavation should not go back in as it will it not be properly compacted and would be subject to further settlement.

My Stone has discoloured over time. Why?

Stone is generally quite an inert product – if it becomes discoloured or gets marks on it, then the cause of this is usually site based and not the paving product at fault (if from a quality supplier)