Natural Stone Slabs

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Natural Stone Slabs / flags - Online Shop

The use of natural stone slabs or flags as they are also known (according to where you live or your builder once did), for paving purposes is as old and historic as the use of stone setts or cobbles outlined in the previous page. It is after all, just a factor of size and availability, matched with form and function, exactly as it has been for thousands of years, again since pre-Roman times throughout the UK.

So although large stone flags made of such lovely and durable materials as York Stone (a type of limestone) were traditionally used for the paving around most major public buildings, such as churches and cathedrals in particular, but today this is usually far too problematic and expensive to source and install. One major reason is the shortage of supply with few, if any, working quarries in most areas, plus their variable thicknesses generally from an absolute minimum of 50mm up to 100mm or more, which means that the weight of a large slab ensures that our modern health and safety rules make their handling problematic at every stage on-site, right through from delivery to positioning and placing etc.


Over recent years the thickness of natural stone paving slabs has been driven thinner and thinner to reduce costs and today we have seen slabs as thin as 12-15mm being proposed for external paving works, but we would never recommend this. The minimum thickness for any external paving made of natural stone should be at least 20mm, preferably we would go for a minimum or nominal (tends to mean average) of 25mm to 30mm for good durability. It is also very important with ‘riven stone’ in particular, to remember that this type of material is split along its natural fault lines. This can cause significant variations to occur and the individual sources and shipments should be checked to also ensure that levelling and substructures are to specification and do not adversely affect finished levels – and also very significantly the falls that are also critical for controlled run-off and drainage as required.

One positive result of modern quarrying and cutting techniques, combined with effectively global stone sourcing, means that the type, size and colour of natural stone paving available today is almost unlimited. Your design can be made to match your imagination, but with natural stone, if it is cheap it is probably best avoided. Always get your natural stone paving from an established and reputable merchant.

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As we mentioned on an earlier page, the large slabs or flags, over 400mm x 400mm, are often said to be more bedding dependent, but their jointing is still critical for durability in terms of both length of service and performance. For example, not least of which is resistance to frequent high pressure water jet cleaning that almost every area of paving will likely be subjected to due to the explosion in contractors and homes owning such equipment, plus of course this is required to maintain the optimum overall appearance of your investment in natural stone.

For more advice or assistance with your specific paving project, please call 01257 266696 for FREE Expert Advice during normal office hours, or you can email us at any time to: and we will get back to you just as soon as we can. Thank you.