Stone Patio Cost Guide
Stone pavers create a distinctive patio style that enhances the look of any home. Versatile and eye-catching, these natural accents provide the building blocks for creative homeowners who want to add a personalized touch to their outdoor living spaces.
- Materials cost: $480 to $720
- Average cost per square foot: $11 to $19
Material type, square footage and equipment used may result in higher costs for a total patio installation.
Types of Stone Pavers
Stone pavers offer a natural look for patios and come in several varieties, including:
- Cobblestone - to create an old-fashioned look
- Flagstone - a common choice for patios and walkways
- Bluestone - a particular type of sandstone
- Pebble tiles - created by attaching pebble stones to a mesh backing
- Marble and granite - usually cut into even sections
Pavers may be square, rectangular, round or irregular in shape and come in a variety of colors. The availability and price of each paver type depends largely on where a home is located. Stone that is easier to find in the local area will be cheaper while materials that need to be shipped long distances will increase the cost of the patio.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Stone for Patios
The most obvious advantage of choosing stone for a patio is its versatility. The natural appearance encompasses colors that range from neutral gray to eye-catching red, blue, purple and yellow that complement any home style. Different sizes and shapes make it possible to create designs that are unique to a particular property, setting it apart and increasing the value with unmatched beauty.
Stone pavers are durable and easy to maintain, a big bonus for busy homeowners. Not only can a stone patio be cared for with the same type of routine cleaning done around the house; proper care also ensures that it will last a long time without needing repair. If a stone should crack or break, it's not hard to replace it with a new one.
The downside of stone is that, although the installation process isn't hard, getting the initial layout right can be a challenge. Irregular stones won't always sit together neatly and stones of any shape may need cutting in order to fit around the edges of other landscaping features.
Natural stone absorbs more moisture than other patio materials, especially if left unsealed. This can lead to a white residue known as efflorescence as well as cracks and mold or mildew buildup. In hot weather, stone may become uncomfortable to walk on as its surface soaks up the sun. Wet weather makes uneven stones slippery, creating a potential hazard. These advantages and disadvantages should be weighed before choosing stone as a patio material.
As with any outdoor project, the first step is to mark out the desired patio area to get an idea of how many square feet of stone will be required. A level bed must then be created within the area with a slight slope incorporated into the design to ensure that water will drain off rather than collecting under the stones. Filling the area with gravel and sand provides more drainage and creates a sturdy base for the patio. Both a hand tamper, which costs about $25 to $35, and a compactor, which can be rented at a hardware store, are essential tools for compacting the base before laying stones.
Laying stones requires attention to ensure that each one remains level and fits together with its neighbors. During the laying process, some stones may require special cutting or shaping. Artistic homeowners who choose the lay a patio themselves can take advantage of this step to create eye-catching patterns and other custom designs to make their patio unique.
After stones are laid, the cracks should be filled in and the stones sealed. However, if a more natural look is desired, the cracks can be left alone so they fill in with the native greenery. Decorative grasses and plants may also be seeded into the cracks for a softer appearance.
Stone Patio Styles
Whether a homeowner chooses a do-it-yourself or professional installation for a stone patio, the design possibilities are endless. Regularly shaped pavers in squares or rectangles fit together easily for a clean, modern look with sharp lines and a smooth finish. Irregular stones may be shaped to fit a specific area or laid in a less-structured pattern for a patio that follows the natural flow of the lawn.
Laying alternating patterns or building levels with steps between them creates separate spaces for dining, relaxing and special accents such as fire pits. Integrating a walkway into any patio style connects it to the rest of the yard to create a cohesive look that improves the appearance and value of the home.
Maintaining a Stone Patio
When properly installed, a stone patio shouldn't be difficult to keep clean. Sealing the stones after the initial installation keeps moisture at bay. Routine sweeping removes dirt, leaves and debris while a quick rinse with the garden hose washes away tougher messes. Pressure washing provides a deeper clean, but for tough stains, a solution of dishwashing liquid and water may be applied with a hand-held scrub brush.
Ingrained dirt and stains mar the look of a patio, and homeowners can remove these either with a mixture of household bleach and water or a commercial chemical cleaner. However, these methods should be used sparingly as they can cause discoloration of the stones over time.
Filling the cracks between patio stones with polymeric sand is a simple way to control weed growth and potential insect infestations. This sand, available in bulk for about $.50 per pound, can be poured on, swept into the cracks and tamped down after cleaning to ensure that the patio stays looking its best.
Stone pavers are attractive, versatile and easy to maintain, making them an ideal choice for creating a wide variety of patio designs. Once a new patio is laid, it will continue to bring beauty to a home and enjoyment to its residents for many years to come.
Last updated on May 16, 2016
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