In the world of hardscaping, there is a great debate between blue stone and pavers for patio construction. Patios are often a large project with large budgets and material should be a huge consideration in the planning stages. The following are pros and cons for both products and how to choose one for your property.
Bluestone is a natural stone coming from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The cost tends to be higher than pavers because it is more difficult to lay. You don’t get quite the variety of color and texture from pavers either. That being said, bluestone is a timeless material that can fit many different applications. Natural stones tend to blend with any surrounding. It has a classic elegance that can be used in almost all settings. It is quite durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic and will last a lifetime. You never have to worry about Bluestone going out of style. I do warn my customers that Bluestone can stain easily and may require sealant. It can radiate quite a bit of heat so keep that in mind in full sun areas and near pools. Also, it tends not to lay as perfectly as pavers, as it is not interlocking. It is best to hire a professional to lay blue stone because the stones are not exactly square, which means there may be some cutting required. But even with slight imperfections, it is still beautiful. Over the course of my career, I have actually pulled up existing bluestone, and relaid it and the patio looked brand new after a good power washing. We prefer the dry laid method to concrete and mortar because you don’t get cracks in the mortared joints in and it looks more natural. I also prefer it in a variegated color (hints of tans, blues, and greys) to the all blue because it gives it interest.
Pavers, manmade, concrete blocks are another alternative. They offer many different colors, sizes, textures, patterns. The possibilities are endless. They interlock, creating a nice, tight, ‘perfect’ looking patio. You can incorporate borders, play around with mixing different style blocks, and so on. They make permeable options that are more environmentally friendly and allow water to pass through. They also tend to be a cheaper option than natural stone because of their relative ease to lay and cheaper manufacturing costs. They usually are more durable than Bluestone and can be used in more high traffic areas such as driveways and commercial projects. A few of the downfalls are that pavers do not age as well as bluestone. Beware of following extreme trends that may go out of style quickly. I personally would also recommend to stay away from the pavers that try and replicate bluestone. They are almost just as much money and don’t quite do the trick.
As for application, you have to consider many factors. Where is the project going? Is it a farmhouse with existing stone walls? Or is it a new construction, contemporary home? Do you want something timeless or do you want to play around with color and design? You have to consider the project as a whole before choosing. I have noticed in the last few years that Bluestone is becoming more and more popular. Landscaping in general, is leaning toward a more naturalistic approach. In my own opinion, I like to choose a product based on the individual job, and not my preference for materials. I assess the homeowners wants and needs, the surroundings, and what the space will be used for. It is a good idea to look at completed projects of both and not just material samples, as a small piece is not a good representative of a whole project. Don’t hesitate to reach out for advice on your individual project!