6 Things you Need know when using Bluestone Flooring Outdoors
1. What are Bluestone pavers made of?
“Bluestone” is a cultural name for a Basalt which is an igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of lava.
Bluestone pavers are used in much of modern-day architecture, loved by architects and homeowner alike – Bluestone is a popular choice amongst many Australians. With “cat paws” throughout the stone truly brings a volcanic and raw feel to any project.
2. Where Bluestone pavers are suitable to use?
An appropriate paver to use for your courtyard, patio or even poolside. Bluestone pavers also come in accessory products, like natural organic shaped stepping stones that can transcend simple walking paths into exciting focal points.
Bluestone pavers are dense and hard-wearing, they stand the test of time and withstand harsh weather conditions quite well making them a suitable choice for most residential or commercial applications.
Due to the durability and being salt-resistant, bluestone pavers are a great choice to use as Pool coping and around the pool area in general – as well as other outdoor areas that are exposed to the weather. By making them a high-grade slip rating (P5) you are secure in knowing that your family’s safety comes first.
Combining dark blue, grey and charcoal hues – this combination comes together to create a minimalist feel allowing for a sleek contemporary finish without hindering surrounding garden environments.
Bluestone pavers mainly come in Sawn, Sawn & Honed and Flamed finishes.
• Sawn finish means the surface of the stone has sawn marks and this highlights grey tones with enviable character throughout, an ideal choice for that plain, clean look that works with any outdoor spaces that are open to the elements.
A sawn stone finish is reached by cutting the stone with a diamond blade, this creates a rough finish. Once this process is done the stone usually will appear lighter and because of the ‘sawn’ process will have added grip strength. An excellent choice for outdoors.
• Sawn & Honed is smooth on the feet however it is non-slip making it the perfect paver to use in exposed weather environments. The way that it has been made is by taking the sawn pavers and honing it over to the degree required to hide the saw mark but still keep it non-slip – This still allows for what’s called a P5 (Pendulum 5) finish.
Pendulum Test P rating – Is a process undertaken to measure the grip of the finish. The higher the slip rating is the more the surface becomes non-slip. P5 is the highest grade achievable for grip strength.
• A Flamed finish is produced when an intense flame is fired at the stone, causing the surface to burst and become rough. Flamed Bluestone pavers feature slightly more grey tones with hues of Olive throughout. It has what we call, an earthy warm tone.
• Bush Hammered– Higher grade version of sandblasting, this process is done by nails hitting the stone at high speeds to create a broken look.
3. Are there any Disadvantages with Bluestone?
Bluestone, being a Volcanic rock and having dark coloured pigments can get quite hot if under direct sunlight for long, it can become quite unbearable underfoot. Be conscious of where you decide to use the them as for example if you are getting a lot of westerly sun during the day it may be better to use stone pavers from calcite family stones like Limestone pavers or Marble pavers as they reflect heat or you could possibly use Structural Porcelain Stone-look pavers as they get 35% less heath than Natural Stone.
4. What do I Watch Out for with Bluestone?
‘Curling’ is an unfortunate process that can affect Bluestone that is of poor quality. Curling also is known cupping is when the outer edges of the paver lift up before the mortar or adhesive has had time to fully set. This creates a drummy/hollow effect.
The main causes of this symptom are stone Density, paver thickness & Moisture
Stone density plays a big factor in Curling, if the Bluestone has been quarried closer to the earth’s surface it will naturally be less dense, as density is built up over a long period of time – in which the stone has more layers and more pressure from the earth. This makes for a stronger paver and the chances rapidly decrease of Curling.
The thicker the paver, the more structural strength it holds, it is recommended to use 30mm Bluestone pavers as the standard or if you are going to go for a thinner tile as you might have a concrete slab, make sure to buy from the trusted supplier and make sure that you use a moisture-sensitive glue.
The more porous the material the higher the chance and the faster water will be absorbed from your mortar.
5. Do the Bluestone Pavers required to be Sealed before laying or grouting?
Whilst bluestone pavers are very dense, they do have many small pinholes throughout therefore it is required to be pre-sealed before grouting to ease up the grouting process.
You must grout entire paver not just grout joints, this is to avoid getting any picture framing. Using a coat of pre-sealer on the face of the stone will also assist with the process of cleaning off any excess grout post-installation and assist for a smoother transition to the finished product after the clean-up process.
This process will help the installer to clean off the grout easily and not have any picture framing. Imagine if you were to grout the joints only, then the pinholes that bluestone naturally has will get filled up with the coloured grout and will leave the middle part unfilled.
This will show the middle of the paver as a different colour than the edges.
If bluestone is less than 20mm thick you must deep seal your tiles with Aqua Mix Pro-Block adhesive bond breaker sealant before glueing them down with Moisture-Sensitive glue like Mapei – Granirapid Kit
The pre-sealer will penetrate the stones porous and effectively stop any moisture from coming up through the paver from the earth or from the glue used. It also helps manage the migration of efflorescence.
It is imperative to remove grout haze within 3-10 days of installation. It takes approximately 3 days for the grout to harden, but do not leave this for more than 10 days as it may become too tough to remove and require mechanical removal.
6. How do I Clean my Bluestone Pavers?
If those two recommended products don’t work then feel free to call us for advice using an alternative method.
To learn more about how to Seal and Clean Bluestone/Basalt click here
Bluestone a form of basalt, is a superb choice for the outdoor entertainer, Bluestone bears a sophistication that’s hard to match. With its mixes of earthy blues and grey charcoals, Bluestone lends its contemporary elegance to the outdoor environment.
It’s definitely a paver that requires the correct pre-installation and installations technique’s to ensure a premium finish to the product.
A sturdy and overall well-balanced natural stone, bluestone can be used to dress a wide array of outdoor areas. With its non-slip surface and wide range of formats, thicknesses and finishes it’s never been easier to create your unique desired landscape.
If you’d like to find out more, contact us today.