Monthly Archives: November 2012

PA Bluestone Flagstone Colors: Blue, Gray, Green, Brown, Lilac, Rust

Lilac Irregular Color 20121115 150x150 PA Bluestone Flagstone Colors: Blue, Gray, Green, Brown, Lilac, Rust

Lilac Irregular PA Bluestone Flagstone Color

Pennsylvania Bluestone, also known as flagstone, comes in a variety of shapes and textures as discussed in an earlier article entitled PA Bluestone Flagstone – Shape & Texture.  All of these options also come in multiple colors.

When most people think of flagstone they think blue:  Pennsylvania Bluestone.  However, most flagstone is actually not blue in color.

The color of flagstone is caused by the minerals in the ground where the flagstone is formed.  Most flagstone is full color also called variegated.  This mean that a full range of minerals run through the quarry such that each piece from that quarry can be blue, gray, green, brown, lilac, or rust in color.  Most pieces will exhibit multiple colors swirled together in unpredictable patterns.  Many believe it is the unique combinations of color that gives flagstone its most compelling beauty.  Natural clef pattern and natural clef irregular flagstone have the most color variety and drama.  In full color thermal flagstone, much of the drama is removed by the flaming process.  Multiple colors still exist but appear more subtle.  And the rust color is nearly non-existent in thermal.  Tumbling also reduces the dramatic lines of color separation, although not quite as much as the thermal process.

“True Blue” Pennsylvania bluestone occurs less often in nature than full color. True blue flagstone comes out of the quarry in a consistently blue-gray color.  A range of blue shades can appear in true bluestone, but the variation is very minor.  A large blue flagstone patio may exhibit what appears as waves of blue shades similar to looking at water, but the variation will be negligible.  Blue flagstone appears the same color in all forms, i.e., natural clef, thermal, and tumbled.

Occasionally, a large section of a bluestone quarry will be deep reddish – purple.  The industry calls this color lilac.  Lilac flagstone may also have rust color veins but the underlying color is lilac rather than blue.

When choosing color for your Pennsylvania Bluestone project, be sure to see samples.  Samples will give you an idea of the range of variety and the core colors of the various options.  However, remember, flagstone is a natural stone.  Variety is inherent in the product and in the attraction of natural stone.  The material you purchase and its installation will be unique.  If you are looking for color consistency, you should consider a manufactured, simulated flagstone product.

PA Bluestone Flagstone – Shape & Textures

If you are considering PA bluestone flagstone as the material for your patio or other outdoor living project, you have several additional decisions to make: Shape, texture, color, thickness, and quality. This article discusses the options for shape and texture.  The range of shape and texture options is far greater than you might expect.Pattern Full Color Shape 20121101 150x150 PA Bluestone Flagstone   Shape & Textures

Two basic shapes are available:  irregular and pattern.  A piece of irregular flagstone is generally two to three feet wide by three to four feet long with a completely random amoeba-like shape.  Irregular flagstone is packaged in a pallet vertically or standing up which is why it is often called “stand-up” flagstone.  Pattern flagstone is cut at the quarry into squares and rectangles in a large selection of sizes.  Standard sizes (in inches) are 12×12 up to 24×36 in six inch increments (i.e., 12×12, 12×18, 12×24, 12×30, 12×36, 18×18, 18×24, 18×30, 18×36, 24×24, 24×30, 24×36).  Because of the range of measured sizes, pattern is also referred to as “dimensional” flagstone.  Larger pattern sizes are less readily available. Smaller patterns sizes are re-cut from broken pattern and used for tumbling only.

Thermal Texture 20121101 150x150 PA Bluestone Flagstone   Shape & TexturesThree textures characterize flagstone: Natural clef, thermal, and tumbled.  Natural clef is the irregular somewhat wavy surface that is created by nature when flagstone separates or splits along natural fault lines.  Thermal refers to the effect created when flagstone is cut and then flamed to remove any irregularities.  Thermal is completely flat but has a slightly bubbly surface (almost like a manufactured non-slip finish) created by the flaming process.   Tumbled flagstone is literally tumbled in a machine similar to a large drier.  The tumbling process smooths the top and bottom of the flagstone and breaks off sharp edges leaving a soft rounded edge.

Both irregular and pattern are available natural clef, thermal, and tumbled.  Perhaps obviously, these combinations of shape and texture result in a huge range of options.  And, options can be combined, e.g., natural clef pattern patio with irregular natural clef sidewalk.  Be sure to see samples of the textures and shapes of PA Bluestone Flagstone you are considering before making your final decision.