Should I Be Sealing Sandstone Paving (Including Indian Stone)

When it comes to finishing off your driveway, applying the correct treatments will make the world of difference. Sealer protects driveways from the elements and prevents them from becoming damaged or stained, therefore prolonging their lifespan. However, only certain types of driveway will benefit from being sealed, so before you get started, you might wish to consider whether you should seal sandstone or Indian Stone driveways. 

Being a natural material, sandstone including Indian stone isn’t as prone to damage as man made materials. For this reason, it isn’t vital that you seal it. However, some people prefer to complete this step either for aesthetic reasons or for their own peace of mind. There are pros and cons to doing this so it is important to weigh these up before making a decision. 

If you are erring towards using a sealer so that your driveway remains looking pristine at all times, then it may be better to use a maintenance product. But again, this is something that varies from person to person. 

What Is Sandstone?

Sandstone is a very robust natural material and is great for using on driveways and patios owing to how well it resists the elements. In addition to this, it will last a long time and won’t start looking tired with age; although you will notice a change in its appearance as it ages, this is usually a good thing. What’s more, so many people opt to use sandstone because it presents very few problems once down. 

This is a type of sedimentary stone which means that it has been formed under pressure. According to Wikipedia, sandstone makes up around 25% of all sedimentary rocks.  Tiny grains of sand, rock and mineral deposits are pushed together under this pressure and the results are beautiful, strong stones that last for many years. 

Do You Need To Seal Sandstone Pavers?

If you have installed a sandstone driveway and want to protect it, you will be pleased to know that this natural material is pretty resilient. Unlike some other types of driveway, your sandstone will stand up to the elements; after all, it manages to withstand everything that life throws at it ‘in the wild’ so why would this change just because it now lies on your driveway?

It is important to consider that, over time, sandstone will age and this is entirely normal. While your new driveway may look immaculate now, as the years go by, it will change in appearance. But for many people, this gives the driveway character and is one of the biggest draws of using natural stone. 

For this reason alone, a lot of people choose not to seal their sandstone driveway. However, since this material is very porous, it is more susceptible to staining. Liquids and contaminants will bleed deep down into the stone making it much more difficult to lift them out. If this is something that concerns you then sealing may be an option. 

Sealing sandstone will slightly alter the colour but not so much so that your entire driveway will be unrecognisable. This is because, in order to get the full effect of the sealer, you will need to go for something very heavy duty owing to the porous nature of the stone. An impregnating sealer such as Dry Treat will work best. This product, and others like it, take away the porous nature of the stone and this prevents oil from settling within it. 

It may also be worth keeping in mind that using a sealer on sandstone won’t create that glossy effect that many people admire. The treatment will penetrate deep down into the stone offering protection, but the finish will be much the same as an untreated stone. 

Other Types Of Natural Stone?

Sandstone is just one of many materials that are used to line driveways and patios all over the world. When we talk about Indian stone, we are referring to any stones that have been imported from India, a country which is known for its beautiful stones with natural veins. These stones can be made from a variety of materials including sandstone and any of the following that we are about to discuss. 

Granite

Granite is an incredibly durable stone that is formed from volcanic rock. It is, in fact, the hardest and most resilient stone you can use when choosing natural materials. Aesthetically speaking, granite is an excellent choice as it will not fade with age like some other natural stones will. 

Since granite is not a porous stone, nor will it succumb to the effects of water and other elements, there is no real reason to seal it. 

Limestone

Many people are of the belief that limestone is the same as sandstone and while they do have their similarities, they are vastly different. Where sandstone is made from grains of rock and sand, limestone is based around calcium elements. Imagine taking a piece of rock and a piece of bone, for example and laying them outside for an extended period of time; the two would react very differently.

Generally speaking, you will find that limestone is a much more delicate material and will weather far more quickly. This is in relation to both its color and durability. As a result of this, most experts would agree that sealing this stone is much more advisable. Of course, you don’t have to but you will notice the effects of time and the elements far more quickly. 

Slate

Out of all the types of natural stone, slate is often the most sought after as it has one of the most pleasing aesthetics. Moreover, the way that slate is formed under the pressure of tectonic plates, means that this is an incredibly durable material that will last for many years when properly cared for. 

There are reasons for and against sealing slate and there is no real answer as to whether this is a good idea or not. If you are concerned about the condition of your slate driveway deteriorating, then you can rest easy because this type of stone will not wear away nor will it succumb to the effects of things like UV rays. It will remain in great condition for a very long time. 

However, some people like the visual effect of sealing a slate driveway. When you add a sealer, this can enhance the colour and alter how the slate looks when it is wet. Moreover, using a sealer won’t damage the slate in any way. 

Ways To Maintain A Natural Stone Driveway

If you have decided against sealing your sandstone driveway then there are other ways that you can keep it looking as good as the day it was installed. For example, there are a plethora of products on the market designed to care for this material and keep it pristine. While many people seal their driveway to avoid stains, there are products out there for removing oil and other stubborn marks from natural stone without causing damage. 

Moreover, there are things like rust removers, bleaches and algaecides that have been specifically manufactured for natural stone like sandstone. 

Choosing The Right Sealant

If you do take the decision to seal your natural stone driveway, then it is important to make sure that you are using the right product. There may be some products that are not suitable for use on sandstone and other naturally occurring materials. One of the best ways to determine the suitability of a product is to speak to a contractor who will have the relevant knowledge and experience to assist you. Moreover, they will be able to apply the sealer in the best way, freeing you up to tend to other tasks. There is the issue of labour costs but this is often worth it when working with natural materials.

When you are sealing sedimentary stone such as sandstone and limestone, you will need to use a sealer that is specifically designed for these materials. Owing to the porous nature of these stones, they are prone to developing algae which can leave marks. Your sealer should offer suitable protection from these kinds of problems. 

On the other hand, when you are sealing granite stones and other hard rocks, you will need something that has been designed for crystalline stone. The problem with this type of stone is that it is so dense and tough that it tends not to work too well with regular sealers. That said, and as we discovered earlier, hard stones like granite are so resilient that a sealer isn’t really necessary.

Conclusion

Sealing a sandstone or natural stone driveway is not essential. Since these materials are, by nature, robust and resilient, they will protect themselves just as much as any sealer would. However, many people opt to seal the stones as a way of preventing oil stains which can be a significant problem on a driveway. 

Alternatively, there are several products designed for stain removal from natural stone and it is often thought that using maintenance products like these is preferable to sealing. That said, it is a personal choice and there are pros and cons to both options.