Bluestone Quality - Striation - Quarried and Formed Bluestone
(Sparta, New Jersey)
Some of my wet-installed bluestone is peeling. If replaced, should I expect this condition to occur. Is it the stone selection, or is this unavoidable?
Could you explain in more detail what you mean by peeling? Nothing like this should be occurring.FROM MIKE
I think the stone is separating in layers due to the moisture and the winter freezing temperatures. This time of year, if the top surface isn't completely smooth or solid, a leaf blower will get under the thin layers (1/16 inch) through a wear hole or crack,etc and easily separate it the top incomplete (partial, broken) layers from lower layers. Now that stone becomes less thinner and thus lower than the rest. Does this make sense to you?
I think someone described it as striation. The stone looks like plywood from a cross-section perspective.
Could this be prevented (in part) but not applying snow melt?
The stone is about 14 years old.ANSWER
If you look at different kinds of bluestone in a stone yard, you will see various types. Some is very flat and smooth. Typically this bluestone has been formed into geometric pieces. Others are rougher in appearance. Many times these have been either found in the field or quarried and left more or less natural which seems the type you have. There are better quality stones and there are lesser quality stone where you can actually see the striation.
I don't think there is anything you can do anything about your issue without replacing the stone. I believe there are types of snow melts that are less harsh on hardscape materials so you could use that type. To answer your original question about the assurance of this not occuring again if you replaced the stone, I highly doubt this would happne again if you used a good quality bluestone. I have some large piece of bluestone on my patio and during this last terrible winter (I am in NJ also) and with all of the freeze thaw conditiones (repeatedly), they came through it all just fine.
If your patio bluestones are irregular in shape, you will have to go with a more natural type. I would just make sure that the new stones used are quite thick (at least 2 inches) and do not show any striation. You would be able to see this by looking at the stone. If you have the time, go over to Wicki Stone in Great Meadows and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
"Susan, what a pleasure it was to work with you. You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly! Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant. You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes. Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"