Understanding the use of different natural stones for driveways and pathways

Even though modern architecture has pushed boundaries with the use of latest technologies, materials and aesthetics, timeless options like natural stone have never been relegated to the past. In fact, traditional natural building materials like timber, stone and concrete offer a ‘less is more’ ambience while increasing functionality in several cases. This is especially true in the case of driveways, where natural stone blends seamlessly with the landscape around a building, and adds a touch of authenticity.

Stone is functional and has a natural appeal, helping reaffirm a building’s relationship with nature. Natural stone offers high performing materiality and tonal variation, while offering a raw, visual appeal. When it comes to versatility of use, sandstone and limestone are both popular options that offer strength, durability and a range of finishes and colours to adapt to any style.

Limestone versus Sandstone
While both natural stone options are great choices for paving driveways, they have minor advantages over each other in key areas of durability, aesthetic appeal, texture and versatility.

Both limestone and sandstone are extremely durable options requiring low maintenance. They tend to absorb minimal amounts of water, making them ideal for all outdoor spaces. This is especially relevant for places that have varied and harsh weather. There is only a minor difference between the two stones where lighter shades are concerned. The light colour tones of sandstone are slightly more porous than darker colours, so they might need extra cleaning or sealant application. The difference is minimal, and this should not be the only criteria to choose the stone.

Aesthetic Appeal
The number of colour options available in limestone are fewer than sandstone. You are likely to find limestone in buff-grey, blue-grey and blue-black options, whereas sandstone is available in a more extensive palette. The colour options can further be extended with the help of finishes. When choosing limestone, sandstone or any other natural stone for paving, it is recommended to check beforehand what the stones’ appearance will be once it is wet. This is often an overlooked question, as rain and heat can alter the colour of stones when used outdoors.

When it comes to textures, the two options are quite different. Limestone has a tendency to be flatter and smoother, with less ridges in its finish. Limestone’s natural characteristics give it an inherent mild texture or a more pronounced natural split surface, which add non-slip functionality. Sandstone on the other hand is slightly more uneven, with a rippled texture that is more suitable for outdoors. Both can be treated with different finishes to enhance suitability and aesthetics.

Both limestone and sandstone can be easily cut into various sizes and shapes and adapted to fit to any paving style in a driveway. Since both the natural stones are durable and available in a variety of colours and finishes, they are equally versatile. Both traditional and contemporary looks can be created with these stones.

Being hardwearing options for the use of paving in driveways, limestone and sandstone fare equally well. Your choice could be dependent on visual appeal.