Can you lay natural sandstone paving in winter?

Can you lay natural sandstone paving in winter?

At Bridge Street Stone, we get a lot of questions from customers about whether our paving can be laid in winter. The good news is that although low temperatures, frost, wind and rain can all make the job of laying Indian paving harder, it’s still possible to lay sandstone paving at your home in the winter months. However, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared and take the right precautions. Here are our top tips.

Be wary of rain

Short showers and periods of drizzle are common in winter and they shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. However, if you’re laying Indian paving in heavy rain, then you may encounter a couple of specific problems.

Firstly, in a large downpour, your concrete will likely become saturated. If this happens, then the slabs you’re laying may either move or start to sink. Secondly, the mortar you’re using can also become significantly weakened if the cement within it is washed away by heavy rain.

We recommend laying all our flagstones on a full bed of mortar and laying each flag individually to account for variations in thickness. If the rain compromises your concrete or your mortar, it may become impossible to achieve the quality of finish you’re looking for. Due to this, although you can lay paving in light showers, it’s best to avoid working in heavy downpours.

Try to avoid freezing temperatures

In winter, you may also encounter frost and freezing temperatures. Although these conditions aren’t impossible to work in, they can cause a number of challenges and are best avoided.

This is because frost can interfere with the curing process of your mortar. In freezing temperatures, your mortar will remain wet for longer. If the temperature stays below 0°C for a lengthy spell, then it may even start to flake. Thankfully, you can safeguard against this by adding frost-proofer to your mixture.

But, some of the building materials you’re using may still change shape in these low temperatures. For example, your sub-base will shrink when frost thaws, meaning your Indian paving may slip or sink.

Overall, although cold temperatures aren’t necessarily a barrier to laying Indian paving, we recommend that you only use mortar when the temperature is at least 3°C and rising. If you’re suffering from a prolonged or hard frost, we’d recommend ceasing all building work until conditions improve.

Keep your work area covered

In the winter months, you generally have less light to work in and the colder temperatures may mean that you require more breaks. This often means that projects take longer to complete.

Taking your time with your project isn’t an issue at all. In fact, it often means that you’re completing it to a higher standard. However, whenever you finish for the day, you should always ensure that you cover your unfinished project with sheets. If you leave it exposed to the elements, then it may become damaged by winds, frost or unexpected downpours.

As long as you plan for all the above, you may find it easier than you think to lay natural sandstone paving in the winter months. Just make sure to take your time, and keep an eye on the skies! If you’ve taken on the above advice and you’ve decided that you’re ready to lay Indian paving at your home, then we have plenty of Indian sandstone to choose from, including Golden Leaf and Autumn Brown. To make your order, ring us on 01282 860571. We’d love to help you pick the perfect paving for your project.