Natural Stone Wall – Windsor, CT

Natural Stone Wall

The owners of this home are looking for natural stone wall to compliment their historic property in Windsor, CT.  They contact us in particular after reading about a wall we built in Concord, MA.  They are looking for nicely weathered stones that will give the wall an instantly antique look.   Stones like this are not easy to come by as they have to harvested right off of old walls.  We find a batch and secure them right away, and have them delivered to the rear of the property so we can return when schedule permits to build the wall.

Natural Stone Wall - Windsor, CT

Natural Stone Wall – Windsor, CT

 

Natural Stone Wall Construction

To build the wall we dig a shallow trench and fill with crushed stone as a base, and then spread the wallstone out along the length of the wall.  We’ll use biggest stones for the base, build the wall up exposing as much of the moss/lichen as possible, and save big flat stones for the cap.  The stones are dry stacked (without mortar) in the traditional method.  Dry stacked walls provide traditional/anitique look and will last many years.  They owners ask us to leave a gap in the middle so they can later install a picket gate.

Natural Stone Wall - Prep

Natural Stone Wall – Prep

 

Natural Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

Antique Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

 

Natural Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

Antique Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

 

Natural Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

 Antique Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

 

Natural Stone Wall – Completion

The wall comes together nicely.  It is ~80 feet in length and ~2.5′ high and consists of about 25 tons of fieldstone.  Freestanding walls take some care in that we must face both sides of the wall, but, they move along quickly as the work site is most often in the open and easy access.  The work takes a week or less and the owners are very happy with the result.

Drystack Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall - S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

Drystack Stone Wall – S. Windsor, CT

 

Stone Retaining Wall – Concord, MA

Stone Retaining Wall – Concord, MA

At this home in Concord, MA there is a large stump obstructing part of the driveway, and an unattractive hillside/chainlink fence.  The owner wants to remove the stump, widen the driveway, retain the edge with a stone wall, and then top it with a cedar fence.

Before

Before

 

Stone Retaining Wall – Prep

First we bring in the machinery to dig out the stump and excavate for the walls.  We hope to save the existing stone pier but the stump has grown underneath it and it comes down during excavation.  We also must be careful of town water an sewer that runs underneath the excavation area.  Once the major excavation is done we set sonot tubes in the ground in preparation for the fence.  The tubes are set several feet into the ground, we will build the wall around them, and then install the fence at the end.

Stone Wall Prep

Stone Wall Prep

 

Stone Retaining Wall – Construction

Next we bring in weathered fieldstone and start building the wall.  The stone comes from our private source in Western MA.  Much of it comes off of old farm walls and has a nice weathered color and texture as opposed to the smoother, lighter colored stones that are dug up during excavations.  We use a mix of large stones, small stones, flats, and rounds to create a classic New England style wall.

The stone column belongs to the neighbor and has history so we save much of the old stone, and re-build the column.  The original column used cement, but, we drystack it to match our wall and tie it all together.

Stone Retaining Wall

Stone Retaining Wall

Stone Retaining Wall

Stone Retaining Wall

 

Stone Retaining Wall – Completion

The stone wall is finished and capped.  It gets backfilled and graded behind, new gravel on the driveway, and the fence installed into our pre-laid tubes.  The driveway is now wide enough for two cars to fit, and the home has more privacy and a solid hillside that won’t wash out.

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Completed Stone Retaining Wall

Types of Bluestone Patios

Types of Bluestone Patios

A question that often comes up when discussing bluestone patios are the different varieties of bluestone pavers. To the untrained eye they may all look the same, but, there are actually a number of differences that effect the cost, appearance, and installation methods.

Natural Cleft Bluestone:

Natural cleft bluestone describes bluestone that has been split into layers during the quarrying process. Bluestone is a sedimentary stone, meaning that is comes from sediment that has been fused together over time from the enormous weight and pressure from above.  Natural cleft bluestone is formed closer to the surface of the earth than other bluestone.  Without as much pressure on the stone, lines of de-lamination form which make it easy to split into layers.  These layers are then cut into rectangles to make the bluestone pavers you see today.

As it is naturally split, the bluestone pavers have some irregularities.  The surface of the stone will have more bumps and texture, and each stone will have somewhat varyied thickness.  Natural cleft bluestone also tends to have a range of colors from blue, gray, purple, and rusty orange.

Although the quarrying process takes less machining and makes natural cleft bluestone less expensive than other bluestone, the varied thickness and irregular surface makes it more labor intensive to install.

natural cleft bluestone

natural cleft bluestone

Natural Cleft Bluestone

Natural Cleft Bluestone

 

Thermal Bluestone:

Thermal bluestone is formed deeper within in the earth.  With more weight and pressure above, the stone is solid and must be broken off in chunks and then saw cut into layers.  The saw cut leaves a very smooth, unnatural surface which then must be re-textured.  This is the ‘thermaling’ process which gives its name.  The stone is wet down and then heated with a super hot flame until the surface flakes off, exposing the natural roughness of the stone.

Thermal bluestone is more expensive to produce, but, the stone is almost perfectly uniform in thickness. This makes the installation and leveling process less labor intensive.

Thermal bluestone then comes in three different color varieties, full color, regular, and true blue.

Full Color Thermal Bluestone:

Full color thermal bluestone is less common and slightly less available.  It is thermal cut stone but still has a ranger of blues, grays, and purples.  The colors will not be as pronounced as Natural Cleft Bluestone, but more so than other thermal bluestones.

Regular Thermal Bluestone:

Regular Thermal Bluestone is most common.  It will come in a mild range of blues and grays.

Thermal Bluestone Patio

Thermal Bluestone Patio

“True Blue” Thermal Bluestone

“True Blue” Bluestone has been hand picked and sorted so that all of the stones are identical in color.

Thermal Bluestone Patio

True Blue Thermal Bluestone Patio

Irregular Bluestone

Irregular bluestone, also called “stand-up bluestone” or “flagstone” is naturally cleft bluestone that has not been cut into rectangles.  Irregular bluestone is sold by the ton instead of by the square foot and is generally cheaper in cost, but, much more labor intensive to install.

Irregular bluestones will vary greatly in shape, size, and thickness.  Depending on the desired look, they need to be cut and shaped to fit together, and leveled one by one.

Irregular Bluestone Patio

Irregular Bluestone – Grass Joints

Irregular Bluestone - Tight joints

Irregular Bluestone – Tight joints

Irregular Bluestone Paito – 1″ Joints

In Conclusion

There are various options for bluestone patios depending on your style preference and budget.  Please contact us with any questions or to receive a quote.