What is an Indian stone driveway?

Indian stone driveways are made up of Indian sandstone imported from India. They are natural stone paving slabs which are set in mortar creating a natural, even, and attractive finish. Indian stone is multi-purpose so you can also use it for your garden path and patio to create a fully integrated outdoor design.

There is a huge range of stone to choose from with a wide variety of colours and textures. Typically, Indian stone is grey in colour, but you can also find black, beige, a reddish brown like a terracotta and there are brighter colours too. Some of the stones offer a quartz crystal effect which is unusual and eye-catching in the sunshine and when they are wet from the rain.

There are different depths of Indian stone paving slabs. Typically, the shallower variety are used for gardens and patios. For driveways, you will need paving slabs between 2.5cm and 3.5cm in thickness.

Different types of Indian stone

Riven sandstone

This stone features natural grooves and imperfections that are hand-chiselled into the surface to give a rustic effect. Every slab is unique from the others because they are hand produced. However, the indents do attract dirt and debris and these stones can be harder to keep clean than slabs with a smooth finish. Riven sandstone can be laid in square or coursed patterns or just in a random arrangement.

Tumbled sandstone

Tumbled sandstone is machine engineered to round off corners to give the slabs a soft look. This finish creates grooves in the stone which increases its rusticity and also makes the sandstone less porous. This is less of an advantage when it comes to run-off after rainfall, but it does make the stone more stain resistant. Tumbled sandstone can be aged or brushed. It works well for old, rural properties like farmhouses and barn conversions. Tumbled sandstone is usually manufactured in sets with several small slabs that have been cut into pieces around the size of a brick. They can be set out in random or uniform arrangements, and you can also match your driveway with tumbled sandstone as edging in your garden or as a path.

Sawn sandstone

Sawn sandstone is the Indian stone of choice for modern and contemporary properties. Sawn sandstone is literally sawn from larger blocks and is larger than riven sandstone with the sides smoothed down to give a polished and finished aesthetic. Sawn sandstone is one of the most expensive types of Indian stone and comes in a range of colours including raj green, Kandla grey and sawn mint.

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What are the advantages of an Indian stone driveway?

  • Indian stones are available in various shapes, sizes and colours so can work with all types of property from rural period to urban contemporary
  • The aesthetic will be unique for your driveway, although any unusual shaping may increase your Indian sandstone driveways cost
  • Many Indian stone paving slabs have a quartz crystal effect that can look stunning in the sunshine
  • Indian stone is robust and durable and will stand up to high footfall and high traffic households
  • Indian stone is weather resistant so will cope with hot temperatures in summer and freezing and rain in the winter without significant deterioration
  • These driveways are low maintenance, and they don’t tend to crack. Riven sandstone can accumulate dirt and debris in the indentations, but sealing can help to prevent this as well as repelling stains
  • Indian stone is well priced compared to other alternatives which offer the same design aesthetic and longevity
  • Lifespan is excellent if professionally installed, expect 30+ years

What factors influence Indian stone driveway costs?

  • The size of the driveway
  • If it is an odd or unusual shape
  • The type of stone you choose
  • The amount of excavation required to lay the sub-base
  • Whether an old driveway needs to be broken up and removed
  • Access to the site
  • Equipment hire like a skip for waste disposal of either topsoil or the former driveway surface
  • Postcode – where you live in the UK can influence Indian stone driveway costs due to the cost of both materials and labour, London and the Southeast are the most expensive areas

Installation of an Indian stone driveway

The first stage is to dig the foundations which need to be excavated to a depth of at least 15cm. Each driveway should have an incline or gradient to a degree to promote drainage an\d if you have chosen an Indian stone that is not porous then you will need to provide supplementary drainage. This should drain to a point on your own property so a lawn, flower bed or purpose-built soakaway not to the public drain.

Preparing the base is next with the installation of a sub-base. Several layers are created using a water, concrete and cement mix. The top layer of wet mortar is the one into which the stones are inserted. The entire slab must be supported by the mortar, not just the corners. A gap of around 1-1.5cm is left between each slab.

The paving is then jointed with a mortar mix which is applied by hand using either a trowel or pointing gun to the space between the paving slabs. The mortar is pressed down into the joints and then smoothed off. The mortar is left to harden for at least 24 hours following which it is safe to walk on. Cars need to wait a little longer. The driveway should be washed before use to remove any accumulations of dirt and mortar from the installation process.

Maintaining an Indian stone driveway

Indian stone driveways do best if they are cleaned regularly. Sandstone is resistant to chemicals meaning it can be jet washed or pressure washed without issue. A sealant can be applied to the driveway to repel stains and the cumulative effect of weather. Sealant should be applied on average every three to five years. Remember to opt for a sealant that matches the colour of the Indian stone slabs or is transparent.

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How to find the right driveway installer

If you know someone who has had an Indian stone driveway installed, then check out who they used. It’s important when getting a recommendation from friends or family to try and match the type of installation as not every driveway company offers or has expertise in this surface.

Social media can be a good source of suggestions, why not place a post in a community group or neighbourhood forum? However, do make sure that if you take up a recommendation, the person or people who responded to your post have actually used this company to install a driveway and are not just promoting a friend or family member.

Trader platforms are an increasingly popular way to access reliable contractors and tradesmen without having to endlessly trawl the internet and make lots of phone calls. Usually, you only need to key in a few simple details of what you want and your contact information and then quotes will drop into your inbox from local companies who offer the product you are looking for and who are able to do the work. Always make sure they follow up with a site visit to make sure the quote is accurate and so they can measure up. This will help give you an understanding of the true Indian sandstone driveway cost and hopefully avoid any unexpected costs further down the line.

How to manage your Indian sandstone driveway’s costs effectively

A new driveway can be a significant capital expenditure although it will increase the value of your home between as much as 5%-10% so your Indian sandstone driveway’s cost should be outweighed by its return.

Some people use savings or external funding or a mixture of the two. If you have enough equity in your home, then you can raise capital sums for home improvements with your lender via a home improvement loan. This is subject to your lender’s affordability test so you need to be able to show that you can afford the extra monthly repayments. Indian stone driveway costs can be spread over the longer term and can be very affordable. Some people do this if they switch lenders on a re-mortgage.

Your driveway company may tempt you with some finance offers, usually in collaboration with a third-party organisation who they feed the business to. These rates are not always the most competitive so if you do decide to go down that route, then shop around. The usual affordability rules and credit status checks still apply.

Checkout this short video of an Indian stone driveway installation:

In general, an Indian stone driveway cost more than the majority of the other driveway types available. If these costs are out of your budget, why not learn more about surfaces like pressed concrete as a cost effective alternative, Stamped asphalt for durability and appearance, and tar and chip for a low maintenance driveway. 

A new driveway can be a significant capital expenditure although it will increase the value of your home between as much as 5%-10% so your Indian sandstone driveway’s cost should be outweighed by its return.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to install an Indian stone driveway?

On average, it takes 3-5 days to install an Indian stone driveway depending upon the state of the site and whether or not an existing surface needs to be removed.

How quickly can I use an Indian stone driveway?

You should be able to walk on it within 24 hours and then drive on it after 3-4 days.

Do I need planning permission for an Indian stone driveway?

It depends upon the type of Indian stone you use as some are more porous or permeable than others. If the driveway is porous then there is no need to apply for planning permission providing it is under five square metres in size. If it is not porous then you will need to add a drainage system which must not discharge to the public drain but to a point on your own property and you may need planning permission. You also need planning permission for a raised driveway. If your property is listed and/or in a conservation area, then you will need to speak to the listings officer to make sure your new driveway is not in contravention of the regulations. Listing doesn’t just apply to the house but to the land around it. If you require either a new dropped kerb or to extend an existing dropped kerb because you are extending the driveway area, then this will always need planning permission even if the driveway does not.

How do I clear up an oil spill on Indian stone?

Mop up the excess as quickly as possible using either cat litter or sand. Clean the stain using water and a degreasing agent. Sealing the driveway will help repel the impact of chemical staining.

Is it true that Indian stone rusts?

Indian sandstone can discolour as a result of oxidation from the iron content in the slabs. Dark marks and patches can appear, but they can be prevented by using cleaners that contain hydrochloric acid. The sun fades Indian sandstone over time, but this can give a real authentic and rustic finish which many people love about this surface.

Is an Indian stone driveway slippery when it’s raining?

If you have small children, elderly relatives or family members with mobility issues then safety on your driveway is naturally a top priority. Riven Indian stone tends not to be slippery in the wet as it has a rougher, textured surface however, sawn sandstone can be. You can buy sandblasted sawn sandstone which has an anti-slip surface.

How can I save money on the cost of my Indian stone driveway?

Use a cheaper stone or make the driveway smaller. Use a cheaper Indian stone for the bulk of the driveway and reserve the more expensive stone for a border or edging. If you have an existing driveway to remove, then you could consider doing this yourself to save labour costs. However, you will still need to hire a skip for waste disposal, and you may also need to hire pneumatic equipment to lift the old surface so the savings might not be as much as you think.

Paul Robinson
Hi I'm Paul. After years in the mathematical field, I went on to help rescue a flooring and driveways company and spent 10 years building the company. I’m a property expert with extensive driveway and home improvement industry knowledge.
Mike Alexander

I’m Mike – writer and part-time home improvement expert at Refurbb. Since owning and refurbishing my own property in 2018, I’ve since been developing rental properties, writing about my home improvement endeavours, sharing what I’ve learned and connecting readers to reputable tradespeople in the UK. I’m also head of marketing and technical at Raindancer Ltd

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