Does Natural Stone Need Sealing?

Types of popular patio paving in UK and should they be sealed?

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The most popular types of natural stone or slabs used as patio paving in the UK are :

  • Indian Sandstone
  • Limestone
  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Porcelain

Patios are expensive to have installed or replace, and of course homeowners want to maintain their attractive appearance for as long as possible and protect them against staining. You will find many conflicting opinions on whether or not to apply a natural stone sealer, and if you do, which product should you use?

Gleam Team Cleaning Services provide professional driveway and patio cleaning and sealing services in Kent and London but we would never encourage customers to have unnecessary work done or opt for a sealer when there is no obvious benefit to justify the extra costs. This article is intended to give an overview of the types of stone most often used for patio paving and an honest assessment of the benefits applying a sealer might have. When a sealer is clearly not necessary we will say so.

We also like to use products that are known to us and we have experience of so we can be sure that they combine quality with value for money. We are completely transparent with our customers about the costs involved and shop around for the best prices. We only charge for the actual cost of the sealer and never add any additional ‘handling fees’ etc. We would always encourage people to require a contractor to provide specific details of the products they’re using, quantity and price.

You can then easily see what the charges for labour are and decide whether or not it’s fair and a good deal for you.

Types of natural stone sealer

We will also look at the 3 main types of sealer for stone and their finish :

  • Invisible / clear
  • Gloss
  • Colour enhancer

Invisible or clear finish sealer is exactly that. It has no visible effect on the paving and leaves no trace on the surface. This is the most popular type and what we would recommend as it highlights the natural beauty, and often stunning effects of natural stone.

Gloss sealer is sometimes wrongly confused with ‘wet look’ and they are in fact 2 different types of finish. Gloss, if it works as advertised, leaves a high shine effect. Whereas wet look is similar to how stone looks when it id still damp after a rain shower.

Drawbacks of gloss sealer are that it can become slippery when wet and when the sealer starts to wear out the paving surface can crack and look untidy. Before it can be re-sealed the old sealant may need to be stripped off so that it can properly absorb fresh product.

We have used various gloss sealers on stone and block paving, including well known premium brands, and despite following the application guidelines exactly the glossy shine was minimal. In view of this we do not advise customers to choose any specific brand because we aren’t confident the end result will be as they wanted it. We will of course discuss various options with them but ultimately it’s the customer who needs to make a product choice and we will then apply it.

Colour enhancers are meant to enhance the colour and appearance of natural stone. However, some sealers have a tendency to only darken the stone rather than making it look better. We would advise purchasing a test sample first to check the resulting colour is what you want.

What does paving sealer do?

Natural stone sealer or block and brick paving sealer provides a protective barrier to patios and driveways that helps to :

  • inhibit weeds
  • prevent moss, algae and lichen black spots
  • stabilises (hardens) block paving jointing sand
  • resists oil, grease, food and drink spillages
  • acts as a dustproofer to make cleaning easier and quicker
  • maintains appearance and prevents the effects of UV fading and weathering

Does patio paving need ongoing maintenance?

Yes it does. There is no such thing as a maintenance-free or weed-free patio or driveway. If paving is neglected and dirt is allowed to accumulate on joints or cracks then shallow rooted weeds and grasses will begin to appear. However, after a professional patio cleaning and sealing service the effort needed in the future is minimal. All that is required is a regular sweeping or washing down with fungicidal wash or outdoor cleanng product. Then rinse the surface clean with plenty of fresh water.

Natural stone sealer

Sandstone – sandstone is a sedimentary rock meaning it’s made by sediment – tiny fragments of rock, sand and minerals cemented together by silica, and then under intense pressure from the weight of land or water above them slowly form into stone over thousands or millions of years.

Indian Sandstone is the most popular type of natural stone paving in the UK and is available in many beautiful colours. But it is a very porous stone and quicly absorbs stains such as bird droppings, fruit and berries, food and drink. If left on untreated sandstone these stains will be extremely difficult to remove. By applying a natural stone sealer it will make cleaning much easier and these kind of stains can be removed just with soapy water.

So if you plan on using your sandstone patio for entertaining where drinks may be spilt or fatty foods dropped, then treating it with a natural stone sealer makes good sense.

Gleam Team provide professional Indian Sandstone patio cleaning, sealing and re-pointing in Kent and south London.

Limestone – limestone is a softer sedimentary stone that is susceptible to fading. It is usually grey or blue in colour, and another popular choice is black limestone. When it is freshly quarried it has a deep shade of black but after exposure to the sun and rain it can soon fade to pale grey.

But fortunately we have the solution! Gleam Team can restore your black limestone to a deep lush colour as part of driveway and patio cleaning and sealing services in Kent and London. Black limestone should be sealed approximately 3 months after installation and will need re-treatment every 1 – 2 years.

It is important to note that acid based cleaners should NEVER be used on limestone as they can dissolve the stone. This also includes DIY methods involving vinegar as that is also acidic. Stick to soapy water or call in the professionals for stain removal.

Granite – this is the hardest stone used for paving slabs and is naturally resistant to fading and weathering. Sealing is not necessary to protect the stone but can be used if you desire a glossy, high shine appearance.

Slate – slate is harder than sandstone and limestone, hard-wearing and more resistant to the elements. Again, it is only really necessary if you want a gloss finish.

Porcelain – porcelan tiles are a relatve newcomer as patio paving but are sure to grow in popularity as the public become more aware of them. They are an excellent material for patios due to being non-porous and therefore resistant to stains, water penetration, frost and fading. They are hard-wearing, durable, low maintenance and visually stunning.

Pressure washing is the most suitable method for cleaning them and Gleam Team provide porcelain paving cleaning services in Kent and London.

Gleam Team are based in Maidstone and operate throughout Kent, London and the south east. We provide professional exterior cleaning services, pressure washing and low pressure soft washing for all outdoor areas and hard surfaces including :

render cleaning


walls and brick cleaning

Locations we cover include :

  • Maidstone
  • Chatham
  • Gillingham
  • Rochester
  • Medway Towns
  • Meopham
  • Gravesend
  • Dartford
  • Swanley
  • Sittingbourne
  • Sheerness
  • Ashford
  • Canterbury
  • Cranbrook
  • Paddock Wood
  • Kings Hill
  • Borough Green
  • Tonbridge
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Sevenoaks
  • Bexley
  • Bexleyheath
  • Sidcup
  • Bromley
  • South East London

References :

Alden, Andrew. “What Is Sandstone?” ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021,

Should You Seal Stone Paving With Patio Sealer?, 12 September 2019

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