Bluestone Walkway Cost Guide
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When it comes to adding a walkway to a lawn or garden, many homeowners find themselves choosing natural stones. They love the look of the natural stone and the way it works with their overall landscaping ideas. Bluestone is one type of material that many homeowners seem to enjoy. Though most of the pavers found today come from just a few sources, shoppers will find that they can buy those pavers online or from different distribution centers and have the pavers shipped to their homes. When using bluestone for walkways and other landscaping features, homeowners should find out how much the job will cost before starting on the project.
$4 to $30 per square foot
What Is Bluestone?
Bluestone is a type of natural stone similar to slate or granite. Those selling bluestone pavers typically find larger stones from quarries and other sources and break those larger stones into more manageable pieces. Though some people think that the stone is only available in one shade of blue, it actually comes in multiple shades. Those shades range from a paler shade of ice blue to a deeper shade of blue. Bluestone comes in several shades of blue-green and darker shades of brown and red as well.
Bluestone only comes from specific regions in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York, and those responsible for making bluestone pavers offer traditional pavers and thermal pavers. Traditional pavers have the same unique striations and color graduations found in the natural stone itself. Thermal pavers have a more uniform color, shape and size. The companies selling these pavers use special machines to cut the stone into pavers that have the same dimensions and thickness. Bluestone pavers come in a range of sizes, so the material is suitable for everything from a garden path to a large courtyard walkway.
Cost of Bluestone
Determining how much a bluestone walkway will cost is difficult because it depends on the total amount of pavers needed and the size of the walkway. Natural stone pavers from Pennsylvania cost anywhere from $4 to $7 per stone, and come companies offer bluestone sourced from Connecticut. Connecticut bluestone costs slightly more per square foot. New York bluestone averages somewhere in the middle of those prices.
Homeowners also need to think about the amount of labor that the job requires. Depending on the length of the walkway, the installation company might need multiple people to complete the job, and each worker will charge an hourly rate. The total cost of a natural stone walkway installation typically costs $18 to $30 per square foot. Factors that can increase the price include:
- Elaborate designs
- Paths that shoot off from the main walkway
- Twisting or winding paths
The more complex the design is, the more the installer will need to cut and shape the stones to fit the path. Adding multiple paths that lead away from the main walkway will also increase the cost as this requires more work. A good landscaping company will take into account the design of the walkway before estimating the cost.
Advantages and Disadvantages
One reason homeowners choose bluestone for walkways and paths is because they love the natural look of the stone. Bluestone comes in a variety of colors that can mimic other more expensive types of natural stone, and many people like that they can connect the bluestone walkway to other areas of their lawn, including a front porch or a patio.
As bluestone comes from the northeastern U.S., it can handle frequent temperature changes and freeze-thaw cycles. Certain parts of the country experience a long freezing and thawing cycle every year. As the temperature warms, snow and ice melts, but when the temperature drops again, the melted water freezes. Bluestone can withstand those dangers well when properly sealed. Sealed bluestone is suitable for walkways that wind around fountains, swimming pools and other water features.
Though natural stone has a number of benefits, not everyone likes the cost. Manufacturing concrete pavers and other pavers is an inexpensive task, but finding a source for bluestone takes more time. Thermal bluestone is even more expensive because of the time that companies spend cutting and shaping the stones. While not as expensive as some types of landscaping materials, it does cost more than concrete and other man-made materials.
Homeowners should also beware of potential problems with weeds. Bluestone paver walkways often leave small gaps between the stones. Weeds growing up through those gaps can overtake the walkway and make it unstable. As long as the stone has a sealant applied, however, most homeowners will find that they can take care of those weeds with a few pesticides.
Installing A Bluestone Walkway
Installing a bluestone walkway takes a skilled eye and a talented hand. The installer will begin with the pavers, laying the pavers on the ground and arranging the pavers into the design that the homeowner wants. The installer will then outline the pavers with chalk or a rope, and some installers dig a small trench around each stone to mark its location on the grass.
The next step involves removing the grass and dirt directly beneath each stone. Most installers will carefully set the pavers to the side before removing at least 4 inches of dirt and sod. Using a tamping tool, the installer will pour some water onto the dirt and tamp down the surface of the dirt. After ensuring that the surface is level, the installer will add a thin layer of sand or a similar material before placing the pavers on top of the sand.
Depending on the design, the installer might pour more sand over the walkway. The sand will slowly move between the pavers and fill in the gaps located between each stone. This extra layer ensures that the stones stick firmly to the ground and won't move later. The last step involves tamping down the surface of each stone and ensuring that the walkway remains even and level.
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Last updated on May 16, 2016