If you are looking to change your garden this summer and looking for the ideal paving it is important to not just consider price, colour, texture, size but also Quality. Quality of the paving will ensure it will last, maintaining the unique features that made you choose it in the first place.
Yet there are many hidden dangers with a significant proportion of the Indian sandstone available on the UK market today. Unfortunately a large proportion of companies in the UK still sell non CE marked paving… but what does this actually mean?
CE Marking ensures the stone has been tested and conforms to European standards ensuring that it has passed all the necessary safety checks, has been approved to use and will be fit for purpose.
Why is it important to check for CE Marking?
Many of the cheaper Indian sandstones supplied in the UK are soft and porous which are often not fit for purpose and are likely to fail during installation and usage. Therefore to make sure you get a quality and a cost effective lasting paving you need to look for the CE marked sign. Each product produced also comes with a Declaration of Performance certificate available on request. This will show the various properties of each stone and how it is likely to react under different circumstances. CE Marking gives customers the assurance that the material exceeds the base technical levels outlined in the British Standard, BS 7533 Class 2.
To give you an idea of the importance of testing below is an outline of 4 of many of the tests that are carried out:
Water Absorption Testing : This is to test the amount of water absorbed into the stone. This is a crucial consideration as the more water is absorbed after rain or cleaning the more susceptible the paving will be to mould, moss and algae growth. CE marking will make certain that the stone has a low water resistant rate, ensuring your stone will look cleaner for longer.
Flexural Strength Testing: Testing the strength and flexibility of the stone. Essential to know how strong your paving is providing you with the reassurance that it will survive for everyday use. Each stone will have a flexural strength value showing how much bending stress a paving unit can be put under before it breaks. The CE test certificate demonstrates excellent paving resilience.
Frost Resistant Testing: This is particularly important in the UK with its contrasting climate. Natural stone is very resistant to frost but it can sometimes weaken the stone causing it to crack or flake. Its resistance to frost is therefore measured by a percentage reduction in flexural strength after a cycle of freezing and thawing. If a stone loses strength or starts to fall apart when subjected to repeated frosts then it isn’t fit for purpose. CE marking gives you that commitment that your paving will not be affected by freezing temperatures.
Slip Resistant Testing: We all can agree that this is one of the most important values when searching for paving in your garden, whether it’s for children, pets or general footfall we do not want our patio to be very slippery, in both wet or dry conditions. During the testing process, a pendulum is used to swing across the stone to determine friction when wet or dry. Therefore paving that has the official CE approved stamp will be confirmed safe for you and your family.
Many more tests are carried out to decide if the stone is suitable for use, therefore it is important that you check before buying that your paving is not only CE Marked but the company can provide a Declaration of Performance certificate.
At Paving Superstore we only sell products that are from proven leading and respectable brands. Quality is paramount, so we ensure that only the best quality stone is selected for use in the manufacture of our products. This means our customers receive paving that is manufactured from the best quality Indian sandstone, limestone and granite, resulting in high durability of your paving long after installation.
All our products comply with the CE mark therefore you can trust you will receive a high standard material to make certain you can enjoy your garden in years to come. No cracking in frost, resistant to mould and safe.
Therefore our overall top tip for having a long lasting product is to make certain you are buying a CE marked product!
**There are a certain category of products that have to have CE marking which includes imported stone for paving. This testing and certification has to happen every 2 years, and comes at great expense. A number of suppliers find an easy route and just stick a ‘CE’ label onto their products, and hope for the best without actually carrying out the tests. Anybody caught selling a ‘CE Marked’ product that hasn’t been CE marked can be fined by trading standards up to £5,000. If caught a second time, this could be imprisonment sentence. Unfortunately trading standards are so under resourced that a lot of this goes un-noticed and un-policed. We have also heard that Chinese Exporters selling less desirable stone will stick ‘CE’ on their products, and when questioned claim it means Chinese Export!