Bluestone is the name given to rocks formed by diverse geological processes that have occurred in various regions of the world. In North America, bluestone is essentially sandstone or limestone that was originally extracted from New England quarries during colonial times, although similar stone formations were later found in the river valleys of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The name bluestone originated from various studies of the ancient and mysterious Stonehenge site in England. Some of the stones used to build the structure were of a bluish appearance but were not extracted from local quarries, which means prehistoric builders somehow transported massive blocks and slabs located more than 10 kilometers away.
Along with slate, bluestone has become a popular choice for outdoor residential applications such as garden paths, summer kitchens, and patio decks. Here are some reasons that support the choice of bluestone for outdoor projects.
When James Madison University was envisioned in 1908, many of the original courtyards and buildings were made with limestone extracted from quarries in the Shenandoah Valley. Builders of this college chose the most attractive limestone formations that resembled Pennsylvania bluestone, which has been used for outdoor applications for centuries. You do not have to settle for blue or dark gray patterns when choosing Pennsylvania bluestone. Since this is a sandstone, you have a wide range of colors and patterns.
North American bluestone is abundant and very competitive in terms of pricing. Even at a time when granite slabs extracted from Brazilian quarries are offered at low prices thanks to free trade agreements, bluestone remains an affordable choice of construction material, particularly when compared to marble and slate.
Here’s an interesting fact about bluestone that explains why it is often chosen for patio decks: some blocks look like they are made of blond hardwood planks. Your guests will think you have installed laminate flooring on your patio decks until they walk on the hard and cool tiles, which look great when the sun shines on them. When designing a landscaping project, your best bet is a mosaic of bluestone tiles of various patterns and colors with a tumbled finish that evokes a rustic look.
Ease of Maintenance
Regardless of the surface finish you choose for your bluestone, you can easily maintain the integrity of your tiles or slabs with modern products specifically designed to clean and reseal natural stone. The surface integrity of your outdoor tiles will need to be protected against the elements, and the best method to accomplish this is with the frequent use of a spray-and-wipe solution such as Granite Gold Outdoor Stone Cleaner®, which allow you to clean the surface and keep the seal fresh. This maintenance is essential in regions known to be exposed to lots of sunshine and acid rain.
If you’d like to learn how to clean outdoor stone, get in touch with Granite Gold® today. We offer a wide array of stone care products that are safe to use on bluestone, slate, marble, granite, and all other types of natural stone. Give us a call at 1-800-475-STONE.