After a long and freezing winter, there’s nothing that we love more in New England than to spend time outside enjoying the beautiful spring and summer weather. One of the best ways to truly appreciate the change of seasons is to spend more time in your own backyard. A popular theme for Westport home improvement is to expand outdoor living space by creating a patio, outdoor kitchen, dining area or space for entertaining. A beautiful patio flooring area made from natural bluestone or a pathway that leads from the front yard to the backyard made from natural stone steps or dimensional flagstone, can be just the thing to connect your original landscaping design to a custom outdoor living space around back.
Some of the ways that homeowners in Southeastern Massachusetts enjoy the outdoors at home is to create space that allows them to:
- play with children
- relax on a weekend
- enjoy meals together
- spend time as a family
- entertain friends
- cook or grill outdoors
- …and just breathe in the fresh air after being cooped up for months at a time!
At patio made from natural bluestone or dimensional flagstone can provide you with enough room to add a table and chairs, lounge chairs, cozy seating, plus plenty of space to cook and entertain friends. When planned properly, you can even include garden beds or planters made from matching natural bluestone and add natural stone steps leading up to the back door or toward the front of the house. Combining natural bluestone or other types of natural stone with your garden and other landscaping efforts can create a great-looking textural balance that adds interest to your outdoor living space.
Why is Natural Bluestone a Good Material?
Of all the materials used to create patios and pathways, natural bluestone is one of the more popular choices because of its versatility, look, texture and color. Particularly in the New England area, where the ranges of blue, tan, rust, gray and lilac are quite popular in the local architecture as a reflection of the surrounding waters and rocky shores, natural bluestone has become a classic material choice from Providence on out to the Cape. While this material is used all across the country and all throughout the world, it is most prevalent in east coast outdoor living, landscaping and hardscaping projects.
What is Dimensional Flagstone?
One of the materials that we have mentioned in our description of a beautiful hardscaping design for Westport home improvement is dimensional flagstone. This type of material is also known as cut bluestone. Because the material is made from natural bluestone, the colors will vary depending on the location of the quarry and the minerals that deposit within the stone. The color range goes from blue to gray and can include tan, rust and even lilac.
What is Thermal Bluestone?
More expensive than natural cleft bluestone due to the process of sawing it rather than splitting it during the manufacturing process for a more consistent thickness, thermal bluestone is cut and quarried from the same area in Pennsylvania as the natural cleft bluestone sold at J&J Materials. The cut and finish are the primary difference, making thermal bluestone the “top of the line” in natural bluestone materials. The process involves cutting each stone into a thickness of 1.5″ and then running the top surface through a furnace to create a consistent finish.
What is Natural Cleft Blue and Natural Cleft Full Color?
Moving to the other end of the spectrum, natural cleft blue is the most inconsistent type of natural bluestone with regard to thickness. It is quarried in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania and is hand-selected for its straight blue color. Cut directly out of the mountain in a large square block, the natural bluestone is then cut to the finished size to be sold. The blocks are split into thicknesses using wedges to reveal the natural texture on the face of the stone. This texture is where this type of natural bluestone gets its name, referring to it as a natural cleft finish.
What is the Down Side of Choosing Natural Bluestone?
It is important for people who are considering natural bluestone as a material for Westport home improvement to be aware of the down side of choosing natural bluestone. Because natural bluestone is a natural stone, it is subject to discoloration and weathering over time. One way to prolong the effects of the elements on your new natural stone steps, walkway or patio, is to use a quality sealer. This will help to keep your natural bluestone project looking at its very best for several years without any visible aging or changes to the coloring. However, it is crucial that homeowners realize that unlike manufactured stone, natural bluestone and other natural stone materials, will change over time.
What are Bluestone Treads?
Treads are a type of natural stone steps that are often used in hardscaping projects for Westport home improvement and projects across the New England area. These treads are made from natural bluestone and come from the same quarries as our dimensional flagstone and natural bluestone flagging materials. They are cut to size and then flamed with water and heat to give the edges of the natural bluestone a textured look and feel. Additional finishing can be done at an extra cost to give the edges a “rock faced” or “bull nosed” edge. These materials are used as natural stone steps or as caps, and they are perfect to match up with a natural bluestone or dimensional flagstone walkway, pathway or patio.
Tips for Installing Natural Bluestone
Whether you choose to create a patio, walkway, meandering backyard path or natural stone steps to lead up to your front door, bluestone should always be installed on top of a 4-6″ base of processed gravel or stone dust. It is important that the gravel be compacted and then a 1″ layer of concrete sand or stone dust be spread over top of the compacted materials. This foundation is known in the industry as a bedding course, which will help in the process of leveling the bluestone.
The benefit of using the 1″ thickness of additional bedding material is to allow you to level the slabs of natural bluestone or dimensional flagstone, which come in a variation of thicknesses, by pressing the materials into the sand if they are thicker, or by allowing them to float on top if they are thinner. Once leveling is complete, polymeric sand or stone dust should be swept into the joints to finish the project.
Where to Get Natural Bluestone in Southeastern Massachusetts
The best place to get materials for Westport home improvement or for projects throughout the South Coast and New England area, is to go to J&J Materials. With two locations, one in Rehoboth and the other in Bourne, J&J Materials has a wide selection of natural bluestone, dimensional flagstone and natural stone steps or trends, as well as many other natural and manufactured stone materials. Contact our office for more information or stop by and see our products for yourself. Our team can help you choose the best materials for your project that will look great and last for many years to come. Come see the difference in quality and customer service at J&J Materials!