Flagstone vs. Pavers (What is the Best Investment for my Patio?)

by Luke Whittaker

Pavers vs FlagstoneAre 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.

 

Comparing flagstone and pavers

 

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.

 

Flagstone vs Paving Stones

 

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?”

 

Flagstone vs Pavers

 

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.

 

Comparing pavers and flagstone

 

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.

 

Pavers vs Flagstone

 

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.”

 

Paving Stones vs Flagstone

 

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.

 

 Pavestone vs Flagstone

 

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.

 

Flagstone against Pavers

 

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.

Get a Free Estimate on Flagstone Pavers, by giving us a call, email or fill out this quick form and we will be in touch shortly → Get Started with a Free Estimate Here

To continue with Pavers 101: The Ultimate Paver Resource Guide Click Here to Continue Learning

 

About the Author

Luke is the Co-Founder of  INSTALL-IT-DIRECT and Estate Weddings and Events .When Luke is not working on EWE or IID, his second passions are in health, education(obsessed with learning) and traveling the world(life is too short to remain idle). His favorite destinations to date are Laos & Croatia. Patagonia is next on the list for 2014...Follow him on Google+Twitter, and Linkedin.

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Comments

  • beau schlesws
    October 22, 2013

    Real helpful. Thanks!

  • Sherry
    April 9, 2014

    The contractor that gave us an estimate on installing flagstone, says that it will cost the same amount for pavers. You article says that pavers are half the price of flagstone. How should we readdress this question with the contractor? I think they are trying to push us toward flagstone, but after reading your article, I’m leaning toward paver.

    • April 9, 2014

      Hi Sherry,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. So this is really is all going to depend on where you live. I can only speak about material/labor prices here in Southern California. The best advice that I can provide you with is to get several estimates from reputable licensed contractors and ask each one to provide you with a detailed breakdown of exactly what they are charging (line item by line item). You can also go down to your local masonry/landscape supply store and get material pricing on the exact flagstone and/or pavers they are going to install. Keep in mind that contractors typically will get a better rate than homeowners, however, it is all relative and the rep you talk to may disclose what their contractor pricing would be. You can ask the store rep to write you up a mock order by providing them with your installation details and they can price out all the materials you would need to complete the install, including delivery charges. This way you can double check the contractor’s material pricing and make sure everything is relatively on par with the quotes you are receiving.

      Hope this helps Sherry and please do come back and let us know how your due diligence process works out…

      P.S. Once you find a reputable installer, I would go the paver route :)

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