One of the most beautiful natural stones for decorative paving for your home is Pennsylvania bluestone. This bluestone is a type of sandstone characterized by a unique range of colors: blue, blue-green, blue-grey, golden brown, and violet. Stone companies can source the full range of these colors, known as full color, or if you specify, you can choose just the blue tones.
Architectural Pennsylvania bluestone is a sedimentary rock (rock that was formed as layers of sediment were deposited over hundreds of million of years) from quarries in regions of Pennsylvania and New York. Because of this stratification process, bluestone is easily split along its layers, creating a naturally flat surface which makes it ideal for use as an outdoor paver, for interior flooring, or for wall veneer.
Bluestone is typically available in two surfaces: natural cleft and thermal. Natural cleft is bluestone’s natural surface, when the rock is split. This surface will have slight variations (clefts) that create a random pattern of interesting textures along the top and bottom of the stone. Some of the surface may flake, or break apart, over time without damage to the stone.
Thermal bluestone is created by heating the top surface of the stone. This produces a finely textured surface which gives the stone a more refined appearance in contrast to the more natural appearance of the natural cleft. The thermal finish also produces a slip resistant surface.
Beyond its surface finishes, bluestone is available in dimensional cut stone and in irregular flagstone, allowing for great opportunities to create a look that’s just right for your outdoor spaces, whether used in sand joint or mortar joint installations. Thermal will have a consistent thickness, where natural cleft will vary in thickness along its overall length. The consistent thickness makes it easier to work with allowing for a faster installation.
For more naturalized or casual settings, irregular flagstone is great for creating random patterns for pathways, walkways, and casual gathering spaces.
For a more formal, or ordered space, bluestone is available in dimensional cuts as previously mentioned, such as 12”x12”, 12”x18”, 12”x24”, 24”x24”, and so on. These standard sizes make it possible to create designs with repeating traditional patterns, including basketweave, herringbone, stack bond, and running bond. Or if you prefer, use an ashlar pattern for a more random look.
Sealing and Cleaning
We use a local stone company where we source stone for our various projects that has been in business for over 125 years. They say that bluestone, in an outdoor installation, does not need to be sealed.
As with any outdoor hardscape, bluestone pavers do need to be cleaned periodically to restore its beautiful color. They can be cleaned using a cleaner such as oxygen bleach and a stiff bristle deck brush.
Visiting your local stone company, you’ll find many choices for bluestone and other types of natural stone, including wall stone.