Crazy Paving in Canberra, ACT

Flagstone Sanding: Can You Do It?

Flagstone patios and walkways give a more rustic intrigue to your home. They are large, flat stones more commonly used for walkways, patios, and pool decks. They are very popular due to their durability, natural look, vibrant colours, and their versatility in installation. You can either set them in sand or mortar. 

Also, it can give your yard a boost by providing a more exciting look than stamped or poured concrete and pavers. But since they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, you’ll need to make some changes to make them fit in with the design of your home or the landscaping of your garden. 

So, do you want to know more about flagstone sanding? Read more to find out!

So, what is Flagstone?

Flagstone is a rugged, natural stone that comes in a wide range of colours and sizes. You can also install a flagstone pathway or patio using mortar or using the dry method where the gaps are sealed with other landscaping materials like stone, sand, grass, mulch, or groundcover.

How Can Flagstone Be Used?

Flagstones are not only elegant, but they are also incredibly versatile. They can be used in a lot of applications like:

  • Stone Walkways: Leading up to entry points or providing transitions from one part of the property to another is the primary purpose of stone paths. This application is a traditional use for flagstone, and it is charming. Consider planting ground-covering vegetation – moss or creeping thyme – between the stones to soften the rock edges and create stability. The standard for walkways is for 5 cm thick stones with some differences – try to get stones that are as even and smooth on the surface as possible.
  • Pool Surrounds: A flagstone is a natural option for a pool deck with its non-slip surface, high moisture resistance, heat resistance and durability. Also, when it is in slate or other monochromatic shades (bluestone, quartzite) is especially striking in contemporary in-ground pool setting designs.
  • Outdoor Patios: Aside from patios, flagstone can be used to merge built-in stone features such as a fireplace or BBQ spots into an outdoor area. Or, use it to make outdoor “rooms” in some areas of the garden. Flagstone can be laid in regular (a more modern aesthetic) or irregular patterns (for traditional and country cottage looks) according to the project.
  • Wall Cladding: A flagstone wall is effortless to build and helps mark areas within your garden while enhancing the beauty of the landscape. Made from light flagstones, this type of wall resembles a stacked slate and does not require any drainage system. A flagstone retaining wall is usually no more than 1 to 1.5 metres high and is used to keep soil in the garden.

Why Would You Want to Sand Flagstone?

Flagstones look great out-of-the-box, but sometimes you’ll need to make some adjustments to make it fit the project area or architecture of your home. So, you’ll need to sand flagstones for three main reasons: to change its shape or size and texture.

Changing Its Shape or Size

Flagstone comes in a wide range of shapes, and it is one of its main strengths. However, it can also be a weakness. The varying forms can be a pain to install, especially if you don’t have enough time to spend arranging them together. 

But no matter the layout that you decide to go with, you’ll inevitably cut some of them to make them fit together or follow along contours.

So, regardless of whether a flagstone patio or walkway will be mortared or sand-set, use larger stones to set the general pattern. Also, you need to use smaller rocks to fill the gaps between the larger stones when you lay flagstones. Cutting smaller stones to fit next to bigger stones gives a project a more finished appearance.

Changing Its Texture

Since flagstone is softer compared to other types of stone, it is easy to get minor scratches either when it is installed or from normal wear and tear. So, if your flagstone has been scratched, it is possible to remove deeper scratches and hide lighter ones. 

Aside from that, you can also change its texture depending on the application. Flagstones with smoother surfaces are more suited for indoor use or wall cladding because it will undoubtedly look better. However, rougher textures are needed for flagstones that are placed outside or by the pool area because water can make smoother ones very slippery. This kind of surface is very dangerous for the elderly or even children as they might fall over. 

You can alter the flagstone’s texture by using a combination of wet-sanding and using solvent-based topical sealers to enhance the deeper colours of the stone. 

What Materials Will I Need to Use?

These are the materials that you’ll need based on the adjustments that you want to do on flagstones:

To change its shape or size, you’ll need:

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Brick-set chisel
  • Mason’s hammer or a small sledgehammer
  • Heavy steel pipe
  • Tape measure
  • Plywood
  • Circular saw with masonry blade (optional)

To change its texture, you’ll need:

  • Water
  • 60-grit sandpaper
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • Topical solvent-based stone sealer
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Soft cloth

Warning: You must always wear protective gear when working with flagstone because it can shatter and splinter. 

Related Questions

When Do I Need to Sand Flagstone?

You’ll need to sand flagstones if you want to smoothen the edges. You can do this by rubbing the said edge on concrete as it will act much like sandpaper and smoothen them out. But if you have power tools, it will make the job a lot quicker. Aside from that, your flagstones will need sanding if it already has noticeable scratches.

Will Flagstone Look the Same Once Sanded?

All flagstone can be exposed to water stains, particularly in areas where the water supply is alkaline or contains minerals. So, all new flagstone paving should be sealed when it is completed. Also, a sealer fills the pores in the stone and repels spills.

Sam Christie

Sam Christie is the owner and operator of Christies landscapes, founded in 2013 Sam and his team of landscapers and designers have many years experience in the landscape construction industry. Over the years they have developed and refined a broad range of skills, qualifications and techniques to deliver outstanding projects throughout the Canberra region.

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