The Best Materials to Use in Your Patio Design
Paver patio or flagstone patio? Although other materials choices are available such as cobblestone and brick to design your backyard patio with, we will be focusing on the most popular materials: pavers (manufactured concrete product) and flagstone (natural stone).
Flagstone Patio Materials
Flagstone, which is a common term that is used to refer to natural stone, includes bluestone, sandstone, limestone, travertine, and slate. Flagstone is quarried in various parts of the country. Each kind of stone has its own distinctive color, texture, and qualities.
Stone comes from the quarries rough cut into square and rectangular shapes of various sizes. It is also available in large slabs and random irregular shapes.
The uneven shape and size of stone provide craftsmen with the opportunity to work creatively and ‘go with the flow’ with the stone, to allow them to determine the size and spacing of the joints in between. If you want a more tailored appearance for your patio design, craftsmen can lay all of the pieces out and then fine cut them so they fit the pattern and create evenly sized joints in between the stones to give you the design you are looking for.
Concrete Paver Patio Materials
These pavers are also available in different sizes of random pattern sets and slab sizes. The main difference is they come precisely cut from the factory, so there is minimal or no need to cut the pieces on site. Materials are required to have consistent dimensions and meet certain standards of strength. To protect against tripping hazards, paver heights only can vary by either minus or plus one-eighth of an inch.
If you a more free form and organic look, then stone is your best option. If you want an out-of-the-box solution and uniformity of spacing between the units, then manufactured pavers are ideal for achieving this design.
The Versatility of Flagstone
For the patio designs that we work on, we use flagstone that can be either laid on top of a compacted gravel base or set in concrete along with mortared joints. If your design requires big slabs of irregular-shaped flagstone, we can set them on top of a gravel base. We use pea gravel to fill the joints, or low growing ground cover can be planted to fill the spaces in and to provide greenery. It helps to soften the stones’ edges.
The Consistency and Efficiency of Pavers
Thanks to technology, today’s paver patio systems have design capabilities that are more sophisticated than in the past.
Patio Construction Requirements: Flagstone vs. Paver
A similar preparation is required for both flagstone and paver patios. However, there are two main differences. The first is the base layer’s composition. The second is the skill level that is needed for installing the stones or pavers.
The Base Layer. A flagstone patio’s base layer can be mortar and poured concrete so that the stone surface is attached to the slab, or similar to paver patios, the base layer can sit on top of a base made of compressed gravel with a layer of sand on top of that.
Pavers are placed on top of the sand and then secured using polymeric sand, which is a specialty manufactured sand that fills the paver joints so that weeds and dirt are kept out. There is silica contained in polymeric sand. In contrast to regular sand, over time, polymeric does not wash away since when it comes into contact with water the binding agents within the mixture are activated to lock the particles of sand together and also keep the pavers in place simultaneously.