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Bluestone pavers have established their popularity in both modern building and landscaping applications due to their versatility and durability. More than that, these natural-looking stones are at par with other paving materials laid in patios, stair treads, driveways, garden paths, and pool copings. As you plan out your next home improvement project using bluestone pavers, you should know about the thickness and sizes of these materials. Don't you worry, we've found various bluestone thicknesses to get your planning started.
Bluestone pavers can come in various irregular sizes because they are quarried. The thickness should depend primarily on the installation options and the setting base on which the bluestones will be laid. As recommended by experts, the width of these pavers should be not less than 1-inch, preferably 1.5 inches, to ensure strength. In terms of the available sizes, these pavers can have the following dimensions:
- 12″ x 12″
- 12″ x 24″
- 24″ x 24″
- 24″ x 36″
- 24″ x 48″
As popular exterior stones with a wide variety of colors and patterns, bluestone pavers can render your landscape attractive and nature-centered! They're not only notable for their classic and formal look but also for their ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. So stick around to know more about the functionality of these materials, including the pros and cons of using them!
What are Bluestones?
Bluestone, a colloquial term, is a type of sedimentary rock formed mostly by the combination of clays, feldspar, quartz, mica, and rock fragments. These minerals solidify into rocks under pressure through thousands of years.
These minerals give bluestones different colors such as blue, gray, brown, orange, and purple; therefore, these stones are not always blue! With sandstone, limestone, and slate, bluestones are classified as flagstones.
In the USA, this beautiful natural material can only be sourced from Pennsylvania and New York. In other countries like Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Tasmania, and South Australia, "bluestones" have become cultural or commercial names for basalt, dolerites, feldspathic sandstone, and slate, respectively.
3 General Categories of Bluestones
Bluestones as finishes offer a wide range of uses. They are classified according to the areas, both residential and commercial, in which they are commonly applied.
1. Thermal Bluestone
This type of bluestone is typically installed in areas that need to be non-slip such as pathways, walkways, sidewalks, pool decks, and patios. It usually has a smooth surface that's why it is torched to achieve a textured groove on it. It comes in different earthy tones to give your project a stunning look.
Aside from subjecting the bluestone to intense heat in the process, they are cut using diamond blades. The finished product with uniform thickness is expensive but can offer easier installation and leveling.
2. Natural Cleft Bluestone
Natural cleft bluestone has irregular shapes and heavy textures. It is ideal for homeowners who want to give their exterior projects natural-looking vibes. As the name suggests, these bluestone pavers are split or cleft into layers while being quarried. From slabs, it is cut into rectangles, making it suitable for easy layout and fitting.
Compared to thermal bluestone, natural cleft bluestone is less expensive, but its irregular thickness and sizes make its installation and leveling more labor-intensive.
3. Irregular Bluestone
Similar to natural cleft bluestone, irregular bluestone, also known as "flagstones," has extremely irregular shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. It is however not cut into rectangles. Generally, it best compliments outdoor living space where a traditional, rustic yet elegant look is very much preferred.
The cost of irregular bluestone per piece is much cheaper than the first two types, but shaping and leveling each of them during the installation is indeed laborious.
How Much Does it Cost to Install Bluestone Pavers?
The average cost of installing bluestone per square foot is $18 to $20 according to HomeAdvisor. Prices are always different and dependent on zip codes. Consider a 100-square foot bluestone pavement. Basic materials will cost you from $700 to $740. If you wish to get premium materials to achieve a more fantastic pavement look, you'll need to prepare at least $825 dollars.
The labor cost for bluestone installation ranges from $325 up to $400. Bluestone pavers, depending on types (e.g., thermal, natural cleft) weigh between 14 lbs per square foot with 1-inch thickness to 21 lbs per square foot with 1.5-inch thickness. Big-scale installation, therefore, can be physically demanding so it's a lot better to get a good mason to do the work for you more efficiently.
Remember that square footage is an important determiner of price, but there are other factors to consider in your figures such as the project layout, permits, and existing structures.
How to Install Bluestone Pavers
These pavers can be installed either on an existing structure (i.e., concrete slab) or on the sand. In the process, you may use gravel, sand, or plants (e.g., moss) between the stones. Should you wish to do it yourself, here is your guide in installing bluestone pavers:
1. Get the materials needed
Before working on your dream bluestone project (e.g., walkway, patio), you should prepare the following materials:
- bluestone pavers (thermal, natural cleft, or irregular)
- rubber mallet
- hand tamper
- edge restraints
- base (gravel, sand, or cement)
2. Excavate the area
Remove any obstructions (e.g., grass, roots, stones) on the ground. Using strings, outline the shape or the dimension of your project. Dig out the topsoil for about 4 inches. If you intend to use the pavers for a driveway, excavate the soil for at least 8 inches. To keep the outer soil or mulch away from the pavers, set the edge restraints on the sides. These will also prevent the bluestone pavers from moving.
3. Apply the paver base
You may install the pavers into beds of either cement, sand, or gravel. Prepare the base with at least 2-inch thickness. Use a hand tamper to compact the base materials and to ensure that the entire area is level and flat. Areas that have high traffic really require a sturdy foundation.
Like in any paving endeavor, you should highly consider permeability issues and correct water drainage to minimize the effects of the freeze and thaw cycle during winter. By preparing your base with the right elevation to direct runoff away, especially for patios, you will also be able to prevent the unwanted growth of slippery moss due to water buildup.
4. Layout and install the pavers
Start placing your pavers into position and lightly tapping it down with a rubber mallet. Use a level again to avoid tripping hazards due to uneven paving stones --remember, bluestones are naturally bumpy! You may either remove or add materials under each paver to achieve that consistent flatness.
If you choose cement or mortar as your base, you should start paving on the corners of the project. If you are using irregular bluestone, start paving with the larger ones then use the smaller ones to fill in the remaining spaces. Use a chisel or masonry saw to shape the stones into desired sizes.
If you are using rectangular slabs, it is recommended to leave at least a 3-millimeter gap between each of them.
5. Fill the joints
Using either sand, moss, or gravel, fill in the gaps. If you choose to use sand or gravel, sweep over the pavers to make sure that all fillers sit well in between the stones.
Moss or other plants can be a perfect finishing touch to give your project life and color. Use the excavated soil using a spade to fill the joints before putting the plants. There you have it: a gorgeous hardscape with bluestone pavers!
Does Bluestone Need Sealing?
There's no need to always seal bluestone pavers because they are naturally porous especially in pathways or around the swimming pools. Sealing is recommended, however, for stain resistance and maintenance purposes. This is true for areas that are usually splattered with oil or fats.
Durability, versatility, and of course, organic elegance are some of the best qualities of bluestone pavers. It is an excellent choice for homeowners who want to revamp their outdoor living space with an earthy look. For sure, you want nothing but the best and most long-lasting outdoor project so make sure to use bluestone pavers with the right thickness and size!
Paving can be a delightful and fulfilling activity when you know the process. See these related posts to know more!