Creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space requires extensive planning and preparation. One of the biggest decisions you will make about your patio areas is the type of hardscape you should use. Two of the most popular choices on the market today are concrete pavers and natural flagstone.
Styles, Shapes, Textures, and Color
Concrete pavers are uniformly created in a manufacturing facility but they are available in a wide variety of styles, patterns, and colors. Flagstone, a hard fine-textured rock, is quarried in different regions around the world. Its appearance varies between mining locations with colors that offer a rich, textured, earthy appearance, often with variations of color throughout a single stone.
- Cutting: Because concrete pavers are held to strict standards of dimensional consistency, they require minimal onsite cutting, making them quicker to install than flagstone, which needs to be cut on site from large, irregular shaped slabs.
- Base: Concrete pavers are set on top of and secured with a manufactured polymeric sand. This sand holds the pavers in place, won’t wash away over time, and fills the joints between the paver The base layer for a flagstone patio can be poured concrete and mortar or compressed gravel topped with a layer of sand.
- Labor: The uniformity of concrete pavers allows them to be laid out quickly in many patterns such as herringbone, circular, or basket weave. Flagstone patios require installation and layout by highly skilled stonemasons who can shape and fit the materials on site.
Maintenance and Repairs
- Pavers: Pavers are much more durable and easier to maintain than flagstone. They also shift with the earth’s movement, making them ideal for pool areas, driveways, patios, or walkways where a plumbing repair may be required. Should repairs be needed, the individual paving stones can simply be removed and replaced.
- Flagstone: When the soil underneath flagstone shifts, the flagstone will break. Since it is installed on top of a concrete slab, repair and replacement is more difficult (and costlier) than it is with pavers. Repairs to the mortared joints on a flagstone patio will require your contractor to use a grinder saw to clean out the joints and replace the mortar. These mortared joints will then likely stand out as a repaired patch. Also, due to the wide variations in flagstone color and quality, it is difficult to find replacement pieces that match your original installation. Traffic (foot, auto), sun exposure, moisture (standing water from a sprinkler system, morning dew), and other natural elements will cause the natural layers of flagstone to shed, crack, and chip. To prevent injury, it is necessary to periodically apply a sealer to your flagstone patio.
Cost and Warranty
A concrete installation base and stones that require extensive on-site shaping mean there is generally a higher overall expense with flagstone patios. Because flagstone is naturally susceptible to chips and cracks, warranties and guarantees are rarely offered, whereas concrete pavers often come with a guarantees or lifetime warranties to protect you against damages.
Choose Atlanta Porch & Patio
You may have a hard time choosing between your love of the natural beauty and versatility of flagstone or uniform concrete pavers. Let us help! At Atlanta Porch & Patio we can show you ways to blend a variety of hardscape to create accents, patterns, borders, and more depending on your style, vision, and budget.