Stone paving is the part of hardscaping that gives you the most versatility. You can go simple, or be as creative with color and design as you’d like. Using natural stone paving adds a natural and more free-form design scheme than using pre-made concrete pavers.
Unlike concrete, stone pavers aren’t uniformly shaped. Since they’re cut and made at a quarry from mined material, you’ll choose from different sizes and shapes. These variations are part of their appeal, as well as the natural look of stone.
While stone paving is suitable for a number of different hardscape types, it’s best suited for light foot traffic.
Types of Stone Paving
Stone can be more expensive than shaped concrete pavers, partly because of the additional labor involved in cutting, shaping and installation. Stone pavers don’t need much upkeep, only a sweeping/rinsing and snow removal, and the color never fades. However, stone does absorb water, so it is susceptible to the freeze-and-thaw of winter, and may develop cracks. (Concrete pavers have the advantage of being a little stronger.) Stone paving adds value to your home, and holds its value over time.
Although any stone can be turned into a paver, the most commonly used stones are Cobblestone, Bluestone. Travertine comes in a range of colors, is naturally non-slip, and resists heat in summer, so it’s perfect for using around pools and other wet areas. While these three can be purchased in most areas of the US, regional stone (such as slate, porphyry, granite or limestone) may also be available. Imported stone can include sandstone, and quartzite as well as marble.
Stone Paver Finishes
The type of finish you need varies with the plans you have for the stone. Some of the more popular methods of finishing stone include:
- Natural or natural cleft—this “finish” is actually the natural surface of cut stone without any additional processes. This is best for paving or wall installations.
- Polished—the slick, glass-like surface reflects the stone’s best features. The finish is created with crystallized stones, and creates a high-gloss finish that’s suitable for a number of applications. Reception areas, counter and table tops and interior and exterior wall cladding are all common uses of highly polished stone pavers, among others. It is not, however, suitable for pedestrian or other walkways—the slick surface isn’t slip resistant, and can cause serious trips and falls when wet.
- Flamed—exposing the stone to high temperatures causes its crystals to fracture, creating a textured surface with slip resistance. Mainly used for granite, flaming also hides tone variations and other imperfections.
- Sandblasting—another form of polishing, a high-pressure stream of sand and water softens the surface similar to flaming. The resulting fine texture makes it suitable for walkways.
- Leather—available only with granite and marble, the finish gives the stone a leather-like texture. It is both smooth and slip-resistant.
- Tumbled—after the stone has been cut, it’s placed into a vibrating drum-like machine with more resistant stones. The result is softer edges and surfaces as well as an “aged” look.
Once you’ve identified what you plan to do with the stone, and where it will be used, you can decide on what kind of finishing you’d like to have.
Your Scarborough Stone Paving Experts
Thinking about adding stone paving to your hardscape? From a small spot in the backyard to a full-on patio, we can design your perfect space and install it just the way you want it. Call us at Precision Landscape & Maintenance, (207) 939-8757. We can design, create and install your new patio, outdoor kitchen and other hardscapes you’d like. Summer is almost over, so call today.