Are you thinking about redoing your driveway, patio or front entryway and not sure if you want to go with Flagstone or Pavers?
If so, then read on and learn which hard-scape solution is best for you…
Lets begin with Flagstone, an absolutely gorgeous stone.
Flagstone is a sedimentary rock, which simply means that it is composed of many different layers.
The most common colors of this natural stone include Buff (a yellow-brown), Red and Blue.
There are others, but the latter are the most prominent.
Is there a reason why you mention that it is a sedimentary rock?
Yes, this is very important to note. Since it is a layered natural rock, the stone should remain protected from the natural elements to inhibit “pealing,” or any other deterioration of the surface-layers.
For instance, UV rays from the sun, standing water from a sprinkler system, morning dew, as well as other natural elements which will all expedite the deterioration of the stone.
You are probably wondering…
“I know a lot of people with Flagstone, so how are they protecting their installation?”
A great solution is to install a sealer after the flagstone has been installed. A recommended sealer is a water-based-natural-sealer, which allows your stone to breath, while slowing down the affects of the natural elements.
If you do not opt to seal your project, your stone will eventually start to break-down as the layers deteriorate. You might have seen a flagstone installation where it appeared like there were divots or holes scattered though-out the installation, which is in fact the sedimentary layers of the stone flaking away.
“So if I do go the sealer route for my flagstone, how long will it last or how often do I have to reapply the sealer?”
It all depends on several factors, such as the amount of sun the stones are receiving on a daily basis, the amount of use(foot-traffic, vehicular, etc.), or the amount of precipitation that the stone receives.
In addition to these factors, there are also, several different sealer applications which can used, and they have different life expectancies. However, on average you are most likely looking at a sealer reapplication range of every 2-4yrs*.(*this is just an avg. range and could be less or more, depending on your specific situation)
“Okay, so we have covered the sedimentary rock aspect, what else is there to consider with flagstone?”
There are 2 more important factors to consider:
— The 1st being the limited colors.
— The 2nd and probably more important factor is the overall price of the material and installation.
Since flagstone is a natural product, you are limited by the colors that are quarried. There are going to be price variations based on the quarry location and color, where the more rare and/or exotic the color, the more you are going to be paying for the material.
Depending on which color you select, there may be lead time, in terms of when the product will be available for delivery.
The last piece to consider in regards to flagstone is the overall price
Flagstone is pricey, especially if you are buying quality material and installing it the correct way. If you are going the flagstone route, then it really doesn’t make sense to do it any other way, then top notch material and utilizing an experienced installation crew.
You can think of it like buying a Ferrari and skimping on the engine with a Honda engine under the hood. Looks nice on the outside, but when you expect it to perform as you hit the gas, you are going to be very disappointed.
If you are going to go this way, make sure you do it right from the start and it all beings with ensuring that you purchase top quality material, and select an experienced crew that installs flagstone for a living; not a side-gig.
The price for material and the installation of flagstone is going to be all over the map. Typically, it will run anywhere from $15/sqft to $20/sqft, all depending on the material you choose, and the experience of the crew. We have even seen prices as high as $30/sqft.
The better the material and the more experienced the crew, the more you are going to pay. Makes sense right? The old adage, “you get what you pay for,” generally holds true more often then not!
If you are going to go this route, please make sure you do your homework first. The more time you spend up front with an effective due diligence strategy, the less potential heartache down the road.
That’s enough on flagstone, lets move onto pavers.
The main difference right out of the gate, is that pavers are a manufactured product as opposed to a natural stone. This means all the variables that go into producing paving stones are controlled within a facility.
We will not go into all the nitty gritty specs of pavers here, (that will be another post). Just note that having controlled variables as opposed to unknowns are a “good thing.”
Lets get right into the juicy stuff…
Pavers come in a vast variety of shapes/styles, colors, and textures. Since we are comparing pavers to flagstone, the great thing to note is that Belgard (an Oldcastle Company) manufactures a paver, called Mega Arbel, which is intended to replicate the look of natural flagstone.
The Mega Arbel, Flagstone Paver is a relatively new product on the market right now, and is extremely popular. Many customers who are interested in flagstone and then discover Belgard’s Flagstone Paver are sold almost immediately.
You are probably wondering…
“Why, is it half the price of flagstone or something?”
All depending on which Flagstone you choose, right? Assuming you were going to select a quality flagstone installer and a quality stone, then YES, Flagstone Pavers will be half the price.
Not only are pavers enticing in terms of their price point, there are more colors to choose from, you have more design options, and most importantly they are backed by a LIFETIME PRODUCT GUARANTEE against breaking and cracking.
You remember how natural flagstone is composed of sedimentary rock (a.k.a. layers)? Well, since pavers are made in a controlled environment, they do not have these layers and as a result you do not have to worry about the stone breaking down over time.
Since the paving stones are backed with a guarantee, you can have piece of mind that your new flagstone paver patio, driveway or entryway will be the last one you will ever have to install.
The Bottom Line:
If you love the look of natural flagstone, and price is not a concern and you understand the maintenance factor to upkeep your new install, then natural flagstone is the way to go.
If you are looking for a less expensive option that is backed by a lifetime product guarantee, and is relatively maintenance free, then Flagstone Pavers are for you.
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