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Bluestone vs. pavers ?

rschleifs
4 days ago
Pros/cons/experiences with bluestone (wet-laid thermal full color) vs. pavers (likely Techo Bloc Blu60 or Mista). Aside from cost, are there other advantages to pavers over bluestone (durability, temperature, longevity, less slippery when wet, etc.)? How bad is the maintenance/upkeep for pavers? It is clear that every hardscaper/mason we’ve met with has a preference for what they like to use (whether it be due to cost, difficulty of installation, need for future upkeep/maintenance, etc), and it makes it difficult to get a clear, unbiased opinion about which is a better option for us. I love the look of bluestone and we are willing to pay the premium price for it - just wondering if it’s really worth it.

Comments (13)

  • PRO
    Yardvaark

    There are a lot of variables that are difficult to research and impossible for us out here to guess at. We saw a thread or two some time ago where someone (or two) was having trouble with new bluestone spalling badly. I don't recall if anyone provided bullseye diagnosis. K&D Landscape or Revolutionary Gardens might have. You might search for bluestone posts with their names associated with it.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Where are you and what are the conditions where you might use this?

    I am not familiar with the pavers you reference so I don’t know how much texture there is and how they handle moisture. IME Bluestone can be quite slick if shaded and wet regularly such as an area in all day shade since it may grow a thin skim of algae. It can be similarly treacherous when lightly damp and a freeze happens. Many pavers have more texture and so would need more free water to get the same degree of slickness under those conditions. Obviously if you live somewhere like San Diego, it would be irrelevant, but they are considerations here in northern New England as well as along the shore of Lake Erie where I grew up.

  • PRO
    creations landscape designs

    Here in CA blue stone is pricier than pavers. But really it's a look. With pavers, they will expand as needed and are easier to replace if one piece gets broken. I would suggest going to your local building supply place and getting a sample of the blue stone and whatever color pavers you like. Take both samples home and lay them out where you want them and see what they look like in different lights. After a few days, one will appeal to you more than the other.

  • rschleifs
    Thanks everyone! We are in Pennsylvania. The bluestone quote was more than the pavers but not totally unpalatable if worth it. I prefer the look of bluestone, but this is a project we really want to last us so longevity/durability are very important.
  • engrgirl
    Are you in an area of Pennsylvania with freeze-thaw cycles?
  • rschleifs
    Yes, we are in an area with freeze thaw cycles
  • engrgirl
    In a freeze-thaw area I would be hesitant to do anything wet-laid unless it is in a covered and protected area. Any moisture that gets in the “grout” lines or under the bluestone in the mortar will expand when it freezes and risks damage to the mortar “grout lines”, the mortar bond under the bluestone, and/or the bluestone (cracking, spalling). If the area is covered and not likely to have much snow or moisture on it during these cycles it may be fine. In my zone4 there are examples of wet-laid that lasts for a long time, but also many that don’t do well on wet horizontal surfaces. That being said, if you like the look or bluestone I would ask if they could also install that on a compacted base, screed sand or gravel, and sand or polymeric sand in between the joints. This would be more like a paver-type installation, has a little flexability to deal with freeze cycles without popping mortar, and would have a similar look to wet laid bluestone.
  • rschleifs
    Thanks so much engrgirl. That is very useful info. They did give us pricing for dry laid which was cheaper. The area would not be covered at all and would definitely be exposed to a lot of moisture, so those are very valid concerns you raise. We will definitely keep that in mind as we make our decision.
  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens

    Wet laid flagstone is going to look more formal and polished than dry laid, so choose according to whatever look you're after. In terms of how wet laid holds up, keep an eye on the joints and have them repaired as needed and you'll be fine. That's where water gets in and can pop the stones.


    If you're working with a good contractor and they're using the right product for the application, stone should last a good long time. I like stone. I think it's superior in appearance to pavers, and timeless in a way that pavers aren't.

  • rschleifs
    Thank you Revolutionary Gardens. The only people we would be using to install the patio, if bluestone, is a masonry company that specializes in bluestone application (they pretty much never use pavers) and gets the bluestone directly from the quarry rather than a supplier. If we do pavers, they would be installed by hardscapers/landscapers. I have a strong preference for the appearance of wet-laid full color thermal flagstone over pavers, and the company we would be working with has recommended wet-laid application. I will definitely be asking about the concerns mentioned in this thread and what upkeep is necessary should we choose to go that route. We are, however, going to check out pavers in person to see if there is anything else I like (almost) as much as bluestone.
  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens

    Sounds like you're likely in good hands. If you're looking at pavers to approximate flagstone, be sure to try and view them at a yard where they're laid in a good sized pattern. Both the Blu60 and Mista are good pavers but the sizes of both are way smaller than flagstone squares and recs. To me they're a premium paver that looks good, but they're not even close to a 1:1 sub for pattern flagstone.

  • rschleifs
    Yes, if we do pavers it would likely be techo bloc Blub60 in either Champlain grey or sandlewood as those both seem to have a little more of the color variation that I’m going for (I’ve also seen color blends of chestnut brown and shale grey that look great as well), but it will all depend on how they look in person. I have heard the Aberdeen pavers can provide a bluestone-like effect, but I also heard people have had a lot of problems with them. Thank you so much for your input. Your work is beautiful by the way !
  • PRO
    Dig Doug's Designs

    Bluestone installed by a good masonry company is the way to go, if the budget allows.

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