Paving slabs are quite self-explanatory in both what they do and what they are; these are slabs used for paving! However, that’s where the simplicity ends because multiple different types of paving slabs are manufactured, complete with several subdivisions.
How are Paving Slabs Categorised?
Paving slabs are categorised based on three main aspects:
- Best utilisation or use case
There might be several subdivisions, though, and most slab types have multiple use case scenarios. However, depending on what the product was originally intended for, its performance will vary. For example, a council paving slab manufactured for private use would be more decorative and, therefore, more expensive than the generic ones your city might be using.
Council Paving Slabs
The council paving slab is one type of a paving stone, which is categorised based on both the product’s usability and durability. These tough, concrete slabs are called council paving slabs because the city councils often use them to pave heavy-footfall walkways and popular pedestrian zones in the UK. However, their usage is not exclusive to council contractors by any means.
As it happens, due to their versatility and incredible robustness, council paving slabs are also used in various sections of both commercial and residential properties. Gardens, office exteriors, private sidewalks, and fireplace hearths, they all use these sturdy slabs for decorative and protective applications.
For instance, the slabs from armstrongsupplies.co.uk provide public, private, and commercial users with a wider range of options, something that is usually missing from the generally bland, council paving slabs we normally see. In addition to a wide range of designs on both 600x600mm and 600x900mm concrete slabs, they have pretty much everything else from bricks and lintels to timber and sheet materials on sale. Whether you are a contractor, a hobbyist, or a DIY enthusiast, you should be able to find something to suit your needs.
Natural Stone Paving Slabs
Natural stone paving slabs can be quite expensive, depending on what kind of natural stone we are talking about. They are usually not the first choice of City Councils and commercial contractors for public projects, but they do have their place in residential sectors, due to the visual appeal and long-term durability.
Natural stone paving slabs have four primary subdivisions based on the material or stone used to manufacture the paving slabs, which we are going to discuss next.
Sandstone Paving Slabs
Known for beautiful colours and patterns, but requires a lot of maintenance to keep it from fading, blotching and discolouring. That being said, it’s also one of the cheapest natural stone slabs to work with, and can produce amazingly colourful results without needing artificial enhancements at all. Even though unmaintained sandstone surfaces will fade and become rougher on weather exposure, these gorgeous stones are not at all weak. Even without maintenance, they can last for decades but with a bit of maintenance, sandstone slabs can continue to look good for decades as well.
Slate slabs are highly susceptible to weather damage and you are pretty much limited to just a few shades of blue-black. However, when used strategically, they can look quite beautiful indoors. Even then, it is not the most durable natural rock slab to depend on because of how susceptible slate is to moisture.
Limestone Paving Slabs
Limestone is even harder to maintain than sandstone, and extremely susceptible to weather damage. If you use limestone, get ready to be on it for continuous maintenance. It will raise your expenses, or end up looking half-eaten within a few years! Acid damage from rain is its main enemy, which makes it completely unsuitable for exterior décor.
This is the toughest natural rock in construction, easy to clean, and almost completely weather resistant. It’s also quite difficult to scratch granite, and comparatively easy to hide those scratch marks if they do turn up anyway. Granite also offers amazing colour options across all shades these days. If you are a hobbyist or a DIY enthusiast though, ensure you do have the cutting and cooling power necessary for shaping granite. Even commercial hubs have a tough time handling these stone slabs for their toughness and massive weight.
This should act as a brief introduction to the most popular types of paving slabs that are used today. However, there are other options that you can consider as well. Marble would be a good example, although it is essentially a more mature variant of limestone slabs. That maturity does provide marble slabs with more durability though, so consider it if you are considering limestone.
As far as artificial options are concerned, quartz is also deserving of some attention. It cannot be compared to granite, of course, but for kitchen tops and in-home décor, they have managed to gain some popularity in recent years. While manmade quartz is quite tough, it fails as an exterior paving slab due to its vulnerability to solar radiation.