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What is bluestone?
Bluestone is a type of sandstone formed millions of years ago and quarried in the northeast corners of the US. The name comes from the blue color of the sandstone found in New York, but it also comes in hues of grays, greens, and browns. Enough of the history lesson… let’s talk about the good stuff. I’m answering all your questions to help you decide if a bluestone patio or porch is right for you!
Is bluestone durable?
This one is easy…YES! It is a natural stone that is extremely strong and won’t crack as easily as its manmade counterparts if installed correctly. No need to worry about moving your patio furniture around or being paranoid about little hands dropping things. If it has been around for millions of years, I’m certain a bluestone patio will last for all the years you plan to enjoy it!
It will fade a bit after exposure to the sun. If you are not into the process of how sunlight affects this porous stone or you are worried about stains from spills, applying a sealant early on is the way to go.
Will it always be in style?
Bluestone and red brick go together like peanut butter and jelly! It’s a classic combination that will withstand the test of time in both durability and trendiness. Open a magazine (do we still do that?) or check out the online portfolio of all the high-end designers.
Notice a common design element in every room? If you guessed “natural materials” then you are correct! For example, you’ll probably see marble countertops, hardwood floors, and lots of natural fiber textiles. I like to use natural elements inside my home so why not outdoor spaces too?
While the original brick design was fine, adding bluestone really made the porch and front door stand out. Check out the difference in the images below:
There are so elegant ways to decorate an open bluestone porch or modern bluestone patio!
How is a bluestone patio installed?
There are two ways to install a bluestone patio. The first is called dry setting which is done by installing it over a compacted sand base, as you would with concrete pavers. One of the benefits of a dry setting is the ability to make changes; you can correct the gradual shifting that happens over time. The bad news is that shifting occurs in the first place due to the use of flexible joint material. Hiring an experienced and skilled installer will be your best bet in preventing future issues.
Wet setting is a more permanent option because it involves concrete and mortar joints. It won’t cave under pressure and is lower maintenance if sealed properly. Since there is more work involved in the installation (basically installing two patios), this process is more costly.
I lucked out when planning my bluestone patio and front porch because my next-door neighbor is a stone mason! This seems to be a dying profession in some areas so it may be difficult to find someone you can trust with this project. Do your research!
How much will a bluestone patio or porch cost?
It’s complicated! Bluestone and marble are naturally occurring materials that need to be mined from quarries. Marble is available in more regions than bluestone, but the process of mining these beautiful stones is part of what increases the cost.
Your geographical location will also be a factor in how much you pay for certain materials. The greater the distance the stone has to travel, the greater the cost. Therefore, the cost to install a bluestone patio will vary with where you live, how many square feet you need, and the patio design you choose.
Is it okay to have concrete patios? Sure! Can you install quartz countertops in your kitchen instead of marble? Absolutely! Listen, stick to your budget. If you aren’t able to splurge on higher-end options for every space, that’s ok!
When we finished our basement, I chose one big-ticket item and found budget-friendly items for the rest of the bathroom design.
What are the layout options?
Are you a little particular about how things look? Do all the labels line up perfectly in your pantry? A geometric arrangement of sawn-edge bluestone pavers is probably the way to go.
Slabs are cut down into specific sizes and you can either use uniform stones for a modern bluestone patio look or line up varying-sized squares and rectangles to create the perfect “random” classic pattern.
Thermal bluestone is a popular option for this layout because of the non-slip surface created by applying heat.
If you prefer the more “natural” state of bluestone, you may want to go with the organic irregular shapes of natural cleft bluestone. Splitting stones along natural fault lines creates a rough surface of distinct raised and flat areas.
No matter the pattern you choose, here are some modern patio furniture and decor ideas to help you create a beautiful and welcoming outdoor oasis:
How to clean a bluestone patio or porch
Maintenance is something people may not consider until after the project is completed. However, it’s important to consider how much time and effort you are willing to put in each spring. I am happy to report that cleaning a bluestone patio is easy!
A high-pressure gas-powered washer is better for surfaces like concrete, wood, or poly-wood decking, but using too much pressure will actually blast right through the mortar and stone surface causing damage.
We use an electric power washer with a lower psi, being careful with grout joints, and it works great! It’s great since you don’t have to keep filling it with gas, but you are limited in how far away from an outlet you can use it. Cleaning solutions are not recommended to use bluestone because harsh chemicals can cause sealants to deteriorate and seep into the stone surface.
Ah, the satisfaction of power washing! Grout lines look like new and the stone is brought back to life. Check out the before and after results below!
Now it’s time to get out the patio furniture, plant some flowers, and host some backyard get-togethers on your beautiful bluestone patio! Create a stunning outdoor living and dining area that you will enjoy for years to come. You can even design the outdoor kitchen of your dreams!