About flagstone flooring
Flagstone has been used for flooring for hundreds of years, you may have come across it in some of the UK’s historic castles and farmhouses. As well as offering a delightful natural appearance, it is heavy duty and hard wearing enough to be used both indoors and outdoors providing it has been properly sealed. Walkways and patios are popular spots for this durable rock, and it’s an increasingly frequent choice for people looking for interiors in the farmhouse style, particularly for kitchen flooring. It’s even possible to use flagstone for walls too; its rustic appearance imparts a pleasant, natural look wherever it’s used.
What does flagstone look like?
Flagstone takes its name from the flag-like, rectangular shape of the individual stones. The sedimentary stone is a form of sandstone generally sporting a reddish appearance, although more exotic colours do exist. Formation occurs when sand and non organic minerals build up in the bottom of a body of water. As the grains become compacted by the weight of the water, over time the stone forms.
Common issues with flagstone flooring
Whilst it is extremely hard wearing and remains very popular, if it’s not correctly looked after it can be susceptible to some forms of damage. One common issue with flagstone flooring is that the flagstones become uneven over time. Because they can be laid on a range of subfloors including sand, movement in the subfloor often directly results in movement of the flagstone. If laid properly the risk of this is minimised and it only really becomes a major issue if the uneven flagstone creates a tripping hazard.
Protecting flagstone flooring
It’s very important to properly seal flagstone, as a porous rock it can be vulnerable to staining from absorbed spillages. When sealant is professionally applied it produces long lasting protection but over time it will wear down, especially in areas of heavy footfall. Routine maintenance generally ensures trouble free flagstone. The main thing to avoid is letting the sealant wear down to the point where debris can be ground into the surface of the stone and create lasting marks. Impacts from heavy falling objects can crack the flagstone and would require replacement stone to be sourced.
A professional knowledge of the correct cleaning and sealant chemicals for flagstone is essential, sandstone based rocks can degrade quickly in the presence of acidic chemicals and bleach. If the sealant has become damaged and these corrosive liquids contact the stone there is a risk of permanent staining. In some cases this can be treated, at worst the flagstone may need replacement.