The Different Types of Stone Patios
An attractive and functional addition to any yard is a stone patio. Stone patios can be made from a range of materials that all function similarly but have differing appearance and costs. Read on to learn more about your options when it comes to your next stone patio.
A paver is really anything that can be used for paving patios, but, the term most often refers to manufactured concrete pavers. Concrete Pavers are very strong and durable and come in a wide variety of colors and styles and finishes. Pavers are usually cheaper than other paving stones and are also quick to install. This makes them an economical choice when deciding on your patio material.
Pavers can be laid in a variety of patterns to achieve different looks, and come in varying finishes that will try to mimic a more rustic, natural look. Pavers are very strong and will basically stay intact forever, but, their color can fade somewhat over time.
Bricks are similar to concrete pavers but they are made from natural clay. They are also fairly quick to install but the material cost is higher. Red brick provides a more antique, traditional look like you might see lining the sidewalks of Boston. Red clay isn’t the hardest material – the bricks can perhaps crack or deteriorate over time, but, this takes quite a while and replacing bricks when needed is not difficult.
Bluestone is a natural stone that is quarried mostly in NY, PA, CT. It gets it’s name from it’s blueish-gray hue. Bluestone is readily available and commonly used for patios, walkways, and other flatwork. Bluestone comes cut into various sized rectangles that can be installed randomly or with a regular pattern. There are different grades of bluestone that vary in price and ease of installation quite a bit:
Natural Cleft Bluestone:
Natural cleft bluestone is quarried shallower in the earth. The bluestone closer to the surface has less pressure from the weight of the world above it and thus has natural lines of de-lamination. Because of this the stone can be split off or cleft at the approximate thickness, and then cut to shape. This process leaves the stones at slightly varying thicknesses with some irregularities on the surfaces. The lines of de-lamination in the stone allow other minerals to seep in giving Natural Cleft Bluestone a range of blues, grays, browns, and purples. Natural Cleft Bluestone is the lower cost bluestone, however, the irregularities make it more tedious to install.
Deeper down in the earth there is more pressure and the bluestone is completely solid. For this reason the stone can’t be split and must be sliced to the appropriate thickness with a saw. The saw cut leaves a very smooth, unnatural surface so the stone is wet down and then treated with a super hot flame. This process flakes off little bits of stone to return it to a rough, natural stone surface. This ‘thermal’ treatment is what gives it’s name. Thermal Bluestone is consistent in color and thickness and the surface is rough like sandpaper but completely flat. Thermal Bluestone is more expensive than Natural Cleft Bluestone but is faster to install.
Irregular Bluestone or Flagstone:
Flagstone refers to any irregular, flat stones that are used for paving – in our area it is often made of bluestone. Irregular bluestone is naturally cleft but then left in its broken shape. Irregular Bluestone comes standing up on a pallet so is sometimes referred to as ‘Stand Up’ bluestone. Irregular bluestone comes in big pieces that you must puzzle together or cut to fit. There are many different finishes and tightness of joints that can be achieved depending on the desired effect and skill of the mason.
Granite pavers are similar to Thermal Bluestone. They are cut, and then flamed, and come in variously sized rectangles. Granite is more expensive than bluestone in this form and is less commonly available.
Cobble Stones are granite blocks that come in various sizes. Cobble stones are not saw cut, but broken and chiseled so have rough faces and other irregularities. Cobble stones are most often used for edging and accents but can be used for paving larger areas as well.
Fieldstone patio stones will be naturally occurring stones that are flat enough to use for patios, steppers, etc. These are thicker and heavier than other patio stones or flagstones. It will not be possible to level or fit them perfectly and so they will produce a rougher more rustic stone patio.
Combination Stone Patios:
When designing a patio it can often be nice to mix two or more different materials. This will add some character and leave more room for creativity and design. Often this can be nice when matching other existing stone features on the property. The possibilities are many but you can take a look at some examples below:
There are various types of stone patios to choose from, and plenty of different ways to design them and make them unique. Patios are long lasting and useful landscape features that you can really enjoy and make use of. If you’re thinking about installing a stone patio at your home please contact us for a consultation.