Flagstone vs Concrete Pavers for Toms River, NJ Homeowners
Hardscaping is as essential to a landscape as the flowers, plants, grass, and trees that often come to mind first. It creates balance and adds much needed function in any outdoor space. There are many different elements of a great hardscape design, including fire pits, walkways, water features, retaining walls, decking, and patios.
One of the most important decisions to consider when planning outdoor living elements like a patio or a walkway is the choice of material that will form the finished surface. While there are many choices on the market today, natural stone such as flagstone or bluestone and concrete pavers offer the increased design options and improved performance and durability.
But how do you choose between pavers and natural stone? There are several factors to consider including budget, installation time, requirements of your particular property, design options, and maintenance.
Natural stone material choices like flagstone are very comparable to the cost of large format concrete paving stones. While homeowners can still get a 6”x6” and 6”x9” standard finish paver for around $3/sq.ft. today, most outdoor living projects are being built using pavers that cost $5/sq.ft. and up. These new paving stones with cutting edge finishes are very similar to bluestone in terms of material cost.
When comparing the installation cost between pavers and natural stone, it really depends on the application and exact material choice for natural stone. For instance, irregular flagstone installations with a tight-fitting joint space, as well as what is referred to as a wet-laid bluestone installation which is set in concrete, are very labor intensive and will usually cost more than a typical paver patio or walkway install. On the other hand, pattern-cut bluestone installations which are more uniform in shape, and dry-laid installations which are set on a stone base similar to that of pavers, are far more in similar to the install costs of concrete pavers.
Natural stone paving such as flagstone and bluestone are timeless choices for your home’s outdoor spaces. That said, there are a lot more design possibilities with concrete pavers today. Homeowners can select from hundreds of shape and color combinations, ultimately choosing materials that compliment other elements in the outdoor design such as a home’s siding color or existing veneer stone on a foundation. Although an experienced mason or professional landscape contractor can install natural stone in custom shapes or add in details like inlays, bluestone and flagstone are limited to the natural hues and shapes that Mother Nature creates. As timeless as it is, some homeowners may find the color palette a bit too limiting. Related: Natural stone from Unilock.
When it comes to durability, both natural stone and concrete pavers are long-lasting material choices. However, there are some great advantages when using concrete pavers. As a result of harsh winters here in the Toms River, NJ region, wet-laid bluestone installations can be prone to cracking due to damaging freeze/thaw cycles. This can be an expensive repair because removing one piece of bluestone from a concrete bed is no small task. This is not a concern with pavers. The installation method allows the system to flex and move with freeze/thaw cycles preventing any cracking. In addition, if a few pavers were to get damaged somehow, it’s far easier to repair. Concrete pavers like those from Unilock have another advantage in that they come with a lifetime guarantee. As you may already know, natural stone (from other companies) comes with no such guarantee.
In today’s busy world, homeowners are particularly interested in the maintenance requirements of the building materials they choose for their home. A newly installed paver patio or walkway looks great at first, but with normal wear and the exposure to outdoor elements, will it soon start to look faded and dirty?
Although flagstone and concrete pavers both require minimal maintenance, pavers can perhaps demand a bit less overall. Because of its uneven texture and finish, the surface of flagstone and bluestone may be more susceptible to dirt and stains. Depending on where in the world the natural stone is quarried, there can also be some flaking debris on the finished surface that requires sweeping to keep clean. Concrete pavers will not flake or splinter because of the way they are manufactured, so keeping a clean surface will be a bit easier in that regard. There are many effective cleaners on the market for concrete paving stones, allowing for an easy cleaning process for homeowners. Furthermore, with surface protection features like EasyClean™ Stain Resistance Technology from Unilock, keeping pavers clean and beautiful is easier than ever.
Thinking of pavers or stone for your walkway, patio, or driveway? Get in touch with one of our Unilock Authorized Contractors to talk about your ideas or to get new ones.