Some Flagstone Patio Installation Tips

Flagstone can be expensive, mostly because it is a natural stone material that is more costly than manufactured and artificial materials like concrete pavers. However, this expense can be lowered if you install the flagstone yourself. Flagstone patio installation can be difficult, though, even with the right tools and information. The skills and experience needed working with hardscaping materials may be above the ability of many homeowners, and they may benefit from contacting a contractor to do the work. However, if you believe you can do the work, here are some flagstone patio installation tips that may be useful for you during the project.

(Note: These flagstone patio installation instructions will depend on the specifics of your project. We can only offer you some general guidelines to keep in mind when installing your patio. There are many ways to ‘skin a cat,’ and there are many ways to install flagstone pavers. Contact a contractor or your flagstone supplier if you have specific questions about your project.)

  1. Before you do any installation, you need to be clear on the design of your flagstone patio and the pattern in which you want to lay the material. Do you want to lay it directly into the ground, or do you want to install a sub base? Do you want the pattern of flagstone to be irregular, or do you want them to be regularly cut and in a specific patter, such as herringbone? You need to be clear on all of these questions before you begin, as the answers will have consequences for your flagstone patio installation.
  2. There are many different bases you can use. The general distinction here is between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ installation. Wet installation requires the use of wet concrete and/or mortar, while dry installations do not. Dry are usually easier, but if they are not put together securely, they may not hold together as well. Some like to install it over a concrete slab. Others put it directly on top of the soil or ground. Still others simply put in a concrete/cement base underneath and mortar in between the joints. Still others use an installation akin to concrete pavers, with a base of aggregate concrete and a bed of sand for a more precise fit. The type of base you select will depend on where you’re installing the flagstone, what shape the stone is in, what patterns you want to lay, and other considerations. Each base type has advantages and disadvantages in terms of price, work required, and skill required, so weigh them out carefully before making a final selection.
  3. Always measure out the area of your patio before beginning. Use spray paint, stakes and strings, or anything that will help you.
  4. Don’t skimp on the sub-base if you’re going to use one. Whether it’s aggregate concrete, sand, or concrete, the foundation of your flagstone patio will be the crucial element that determines the strength and longevity of your installation. Make sure you dig deep enough, at least 6 inches, and use a plate compactor to compact the area after you’ve filled it in to the right depth with crushed aggregate or some other base material. You might consider having a contractor do this part for you, as it will be relatively cheap compared to the total installation process, and you’ll be sure that your base is properly installed. He or she could also give you tips and instructions on how to do the finishing touches on the installation.
  5. The difficulty of the actual laying of the flagstone patio will depend on the type of flagstone you are using. If you are using cut flagstone that arrives in regular shapes, such as rectangles or squares, the job is easier, as you can just put down a uniform base and lay the flagstone in the pattern you’ve selected. You’ll have to do some adjustments to make it level, but otherwise it’ll be pretty simple. However, if you’re using irregularly shaped flagstone, you may have to make adjustments while installing the stone in order to make sure that the final product comes out level. Simply use a rubber mallet and extra base material to even out the areas as necessary to ensure a level surface.
  6. How you hold together the actual project will depend on the installation method you’ve chosen. Some simply fill the joints with sand and wet it down. Others fill it with dirt and sprinkle grass seed in between to allow grass to grow in between the flagstone pavers. Others use a cement base, while still others mortar the joints. Others also add edging to the outside of the patio to hold it together.
  7. Use a wet saw, circular saw, or masonry saw to cut the flagstone if necessary to fit in your pattern. This may be important if your pattern is irregular, or if you are putting the pavers together in a ‘jigsaw fashion.’ Always be careful when using this equipment to avoid injury.
  8. Make sure that the area is graded, or sloped, properly, to allow the proper flow of water away from vulnerable areas and towards drains and other water sinks.
  9. You may need to use a plate compactor to secure the flagstone pavers properly, but this will depend on the type of installation you are doing.

If you have any other tips, share them in the comments!

What You Need to Know about Flagstone Pavers

Though concrete pavers are highly recommended for many home projects, they are not the only choice available. One choice is flagstone pavers, made directly out of natural stone. This stone is shaped, cut, and formed into slabs of various shapes and sizes, which are then fit together like a mosaic to cover the specific area. Aesthetically, the flagstone paver installation is quite nice, giving the area a natural look that paving stones can’t quite manage to capture in many cases due to the fact that they are artificially manufactured.

This article will give you a brief explanation of this material – its properties, how it is used, and the other features important to know about this expensive material before you use it. While this site focuses mostly on concrete pavers, it does contain some information on natural stone like bluestone, sandstone, and travertine paving. We plan on adding more soon and creating a more extensive collection of info on the various stone types, so come back soon!

Anyway – on to the article!

How Flagstone is Used & Design

These pavers can be used in a variety of applications. Flagstone patio pavers are one popular use, as are walkways and garden projects. The color schemes are more limited than concrete pavers, because they come from natural sources, but there still are enough color blends to satisfy most homeowner’s uses. The sizes, shapes, and thicknesses of these concrete flagstone pavers will also vary depending on the particular use of the stones.

There are a number of advantages of flagstone pavers over their competitors. The installation of these stones is usually quite easy compared to other options, as they can usually be laid right on soil, or with little bedding material required. They are also very strong and durable, withstanding any freezing/thawing cycles or other weather, traffic, or abuse. This makes these pavers very low maintenance and long-lasting.

How do you decide between flagstone or concrete pavers? Two factors override all others. The first is budget. If you have less money, you may want to go for concrete pavers, as they can be installed at a lower price per square foot than the natural option. If money is no object, than flagstone pavers may be right for you. The second factor is the particular look or ‘theme’ you want to convey with your project. Flagstone choices generally look more ‘natural’ and ‘earthy’ than manufactured options. These choices may work well with a garden, landscape area, or other place near your home that wants to communicate this natural look. Paving stones, on the other hand, communicate a modern, ‘old-world’ feel that may work better for patios, walkways, driveways, and other projects right near your home. Of course, this all depends on your tastes,  so be sure to consult with a local contractor or manufacturer for assistance.

Flagstone Patio Cost

Flagstone pavers price is usually more expensive, however, than manufactured options. This is generally true of all natural paving materials, as they cannot be mass produced in the ways that concrete paving stones can. The price will vary on a number of factors, including thickness, size, geography, and quality, but the usual price is between $20-30 a square foot.

One popular project for this material is a patio, so let me give you a brief run down of what you might pay for creating a patio out of this material. The flagstone patiocost, or the price of any flagstone installation, will depend on a number of factors. First, as described above, the price of natural stone is higher than manufactured varieties, as the stone must be quarried and cut into the appropriate shapes. In addition, like other hand laid materials like pavers and brick, the labor costs for the installation of these stone projects will be quite high. You can save money by installing them yourself, but ultimately it will probably be better to hire a contractor due to the high level of difficulty. In general, as stated above, the total flagstone cost will vary between $20 to $30 a square foot.

The actual, specific cost of a flagstone patio installation, or the installation of any project, like a driveway, walkway, pool deck, or other, will depend on a number of factors. These factors will depend on your area, the job itself, and how much you can contribute. The factors include:

  • Geography and economy. If you are in a cheaper area, your prices will be cheaper. If there is more competition between contractors, the total price will also be lower.
  • How much labor and material you can contribute. The more labor you put into the job, and the more free or reduced price material you can obtain (such as by recycling old material or buying it used), the less the total job will cost per square foot.
  • The actual contractor you hire. You may pay more for quality; paying less may leave you with a finished product that you detest.
  • The brand or type of stone you select. This is an important consideration to think about when you set out to buy flagstone. Not all stone and brands are created equal, varying in quality and durability and style. Pick the type that fits best in your budget and in your aesthetic vision.
  • How much prep work and excavation needs to be done. For instance, if you need an old patio removed, the total flagstone patio cost will be higher than if you had an empty or already prepped area to work with.
  • Design. If you pick a fancier pattern or overall design, the degree of difficulty of the entire project will increase. Picking simpler and easier to install designs will help keep costs down.