Sawn Paving: The Lowdown – All You Need to Know


What is Sawn Paving?

If you’re unfamiliar with the notion, sawn paving (also known as smooth paving) is essentially cut straight off a quarried block, or scant – the latter being a bloc sawn on two sides down to the bed level. Typically, all six sides of the block will be cut in sawn paving. A sawn product is different to riven stone, which is split naturally along fault lines, creating a naturally uneven surface.

The large planks are then cut down into the available sizes as sold by Miles Stone.  View the whole video here

You get a smooth surface and clean lines, since the paving has been cut by a machine. Sawing is usually completed using industrial-strength saws, edged with diamonds sharp enough to cut stone. Sometimes masons use circular saws, but steel wire saws are highly efficient and therefore often preferred.

When it comes to length, width and depth, tolerance – the deviation from a specified measurement – is within 2mm greater or smaller than the specified dimension.

Sealing is a good idea to protect against stains; sawn models can be more prone to this issues as sawing can open up pores. (Although this doesn’t apply to sawn granite, which has a low porosity.)

What are the different types of sawn paving?

You have more options for your sawn paving than you may have realised. Typically, you would apply a surface finish to sawn paving to create a look which may be:

There’s also variety when it comes to choice of colour, and this is one of the reasons behind sawn paving’s great popularity. Sawn beige sandstone, for example, looks superb in a sleek modern design, and that’s just one of the available options.

Finally, sawn paving comes as planks or setts, extending your design choices still further. (Setts are broadly rectangular quarried stone used in paving, especially walkways.)

And what are its advantages?

There are a fair number of these, including:

  • Safety: Just because it’s also called smooth paving, that doesn’t mean sawn paving has to be slippery. You can choose not to apply a finish, and you’ll have a natura slip resistance.
  • Versatility: For all the reasons outlined above, you enjoy a great deal of choice when it comes to sawn paving types.
  • Pointing: This is the process of filling in the gaps between your pavers with something like sand or mortar, providing stability and keeping weeds at bay. With sawn slabs, pointing can be completed more efficiently and quickly. You get greater resistance with a machine-cut edge, plus the stuff being used as pointing can be packed more densely, making it more effective.
  • Tolerance: With riven stone, there is greater tolerance (as defined above.) The difference with specified dimensions can be up to 10mm, meaning it can take longer to create a neat finish.

Are there any disadvantages?

There are potentially a few of these, such as:

  • Moisture absorption: For sawn sandstone, there can be an absorption rate of up to 6%, leaving paving vulnerable to stains, mould, lichen and algae. Sealing is the way to deal with this issue.
  • Scratches show up: Sawn paving can be prone to dents and scratching over time. So you need to take care with things like patio furniture, pet claws and accidents which could cause scratches.
  • Weathering: Over time, the elements can give sawn paving a weathered look. However, this may be something you prefer!
  • A less natural appearance: Riven stone can arguably have a more natural appearance, thanks to its rough edges. As a matter of personal taste, you may prefer this.

Sawn paving from Miles Stone

At Miles Stone, we supply high-quality sawn paving for your landscaping project. Get in touch today to learn more – or see it for yourself in our display garden, open every weekday and located at Eastleigh, just outside Southampton.