Flagstone and concrete pavers are among the most popular types of hardscaping materials for outdoor use. Both homeowners and landscapers often choose one of these when creating patios, driveways, walkways. And because they can equally be as beautiful, it can be difficult to decide whether to go with flagstone (also known as bluestone) or concrete pavers. We're here to help you learn the basics about these two options.
If you want a natural look, flagstone is a good choice because it is made of real stone and helps a patio look outdoorsy and naturally attractive. These are often quarried from selected areas in the US where it exists naturally - and in our Hudson Valley area, most of it comes from Pennsylvania. This isn't for homeowners who want the perfect look since flagstone comes in uneven shapes and sizes and its what gives it the natural and interesting look.
And since each piece is unique, it must be cut or chipped off slowly to make it fit with the others. Often, gaps are filled with mortar to ensure that they stay in place and that the surface is somehow evened out a little bit to avoid people from tripping or hurting themselves. After everything has been laid out and the mortar has dried (if it was used), contractors sometimes apply a special type of sealer. This requires an expert installation from a professional landscaping contractor (we'll be biased and say we are the best for this!).
Concrete Pavers Basics
Pavers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can even be made to look like real stone. These are usually mass-produced and each piece is uniform with the other in an effort to make them interlock with each other upon installation. Since each piece is exactly the same, you can control the end design with a pattern or design to make it all the more interesting and attractive.
Instead of using mortar, landscaping professionals use polymeric sand (also known as stabilizer sand) to fill the gaps between the pavers. A sealer can also be applied on top of the pavers to further its durability, otherwise, it is ready to use. Related: 3 Tips for Choosing a Concrete Paver.
A common myth is that flagstone is more expensive the concrete pavers. Now while traditional pavers (that are rarely used) are indeed less expensive, flagstone and concrete pavers tend to range in the same price bucket. Depending on the manufacturer or type of flagstone, shipping can drive up the costs for either one.
When it comes to durability, they are both quite durable as a patio floor material. However, flagstone is more prone to chipping and damage because it is a sedimentary stone, meaning it is built in layers. Both require almost the same level of maintenance but concrete pavers are a lot easier to repair since you only replace the damaged pieces, not the entire floor system.
A patio is meant to be an extension of your living space, thus, it needs to be just as comfortable and safe as your indoor flooring. Both have that certain texture that does not make it slippery when it is wet. An exception is that pavers are designed to be consistent in their texture whereas flagstone isn't, so you wouldn't usually find small pools of water on concrete pavers.