Bluestone and Slate Walkways

by Adam

What do you think about a slate walkway in Michigan with the weather changes? Also, what is the best and most appropriate way to have it set and the appropriate thickness of the slate to prevent cracking, breaking, etc...How does it compare to bluestone?

Thank you!

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May 07, 2009
Landings - Dry Laid and Mortared
by: Susan

The porch and steps in the picture on my Patio Design page are basically dry laid. The bluestone treads are mortared on, and I am not sure but the dry laid stone MAY have a bit of mortar behind it. The blue stone wall caps are mortared also.

But the bluestone porch surface is dry laid. The porch was built up with lots of loose stone to raise the height. After that, stone dust was laid and the procedure was the same as for any other similar hardscape installation. I hate to say this, but you might look for a more experienced installer. You are absolutely right about the cost going way up if it is wet laid.

To clarify, the risers were dry laid but the bluetone treads were set in mortar. The bluestone wall caps were also mortared.
Here are some pictures: (middle picture0 This is the video, but you can pause it.

It would be my pleasure to design something for you at any time.


May 07, 2009
Dry Laid Bluestone Landings
by: Adam

Hi Susan,

That patio you designed looks great. I should have you design something for our house when we are done with the front.

What did you do about bluestone steps/platforms leading up to the porch? I have a design that I would like to show you for our front porch.

However, on more than one occasion the landscaper has said they can't put steps/platforms in by dry laid method, not sure if it will hold. How do you do it then? If they use wet lay, the cost goes up double and the wet laid with the dry laid stone on the walkway won't look right. Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

May 07, 2009
Blue Stone Walkways
by: Susan

Hi Adam,
I'll be honest with you. I really don't know that much about slate. What I recall is that it is often thinner than bluestone and it can break
more easily. I typically use bluestone, which comes in different thicknesses. One inch should be fine.

With the weather changes that you have and the freeze thaw conditions, I would suggest doing a dry laid application. Then you will have no
concrete cracking issues down the line. The bluestone itself should not crack if it is laid properly. Space the pieces as close as 1/4 inch, or you can go wider. Fill the joints with either a loose stone or a polymeric sand which hardens.

Here is a picture of a dry laid bluestone patio I designed. Full range, with various colors, was used but you can also use all blue.

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Bluestone Patios

by Annie

Love your site. We live in Silicon Valley area of CA. Remodeling backyard and can't decide on best way to handle the patio. Like the bluestone patio style in your video very much. Is that dry laid or tile on concrete?

We know it will look good initially, but want it to look good 5 years from now too. My husband can't stand cracks in tiles or grout so want to know which way to install to avoid cracks.

If cracking is unavoidable, want to know best method for repair...concrete foundation or dry laid?


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Nov 08, 2010
slate walkway
by: Anonymous

what type of cement to use to repair a slate walkway outside ?

Dec 19, 2008
Repairing scratched bluestone
by: Jill


We recently had a gorgeous bluestone walk installed. We live in the northeast and have to deal with snow and ice. The snow shovel has scratched the bluestone terribly, and I am heart broken becasue the damage appears to be permanent. Is there anything that I can do to repair the scratches? I'm wondering if sandblasting is an option, and if so who does this type of work?

Appreciate any advice you may have.


Nov 03, 2008
Dry Laid Bluestone
by: Susan

Hi Annie,
Thanks for the compliment on my site!

The bluestone used for the patio in the video is dry laid. I typically recommend this type of installation for just the reason your husband is concerned about....cracking of concrete.

When the bluestone is dry laid, there is no concrete used. There are usually joints, but if you keep them close to 1/4 " wide, it is best. The joints are either sand swept, or I believe now you can use a type of sand that hardens.
They hold up well. What is nice about the dry laid method is that if by any chance something ever happens, you can easily replace the stones.

I hope this was helpful.

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Bluestone & Pavers????

by Denise

Hi! I live in Minnesota and am looking to add a patio out back. I have looked at the Borgert Minnesota River cobblestone pavers.

I want a trim/edging that is different with some contrast, not a stark contrast. I was thinking of bluestone as the trim....the greenish one with other colors running through it.

Do you think it would go with the Minnesota River since there is not green in the pavers? Any other suggestions? I love the bluestone. I have searched everywhere on the web and can't find photos of pavers & bluestone especially the greenish color.

I would appreciate any help or suggestions you could give me.

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Sep 26, 2008
Deck Footings
by: Susan

Hi Denise,
Glad I could be of help! I think the gray paver edging will look great.

As far as the deck goes, you can add additional pieces of wood to make it look like a thick base with some detail.

Take a look at the pergola picture on the top of the Patio Designs page.


Sep 22, 2008
footing dressings
by: Denise

Any ideas or examples of footing dressing for the bottom of the deck posts that meet the cement footing? I would like to cover them.

Sep 22, 2008
bluestone & pavers
by: Anonymous

Hi Susan,

I have decided to use a solid color grey paver all the way around as a border. I will get my bluestone patio another day. Thanks so much adding my question to your page. I will look forward to the comments!

Sep 22, 2008
Patio Pavers and Bluestone
by: Susan

Hi Denise,

I took a look at the pavers you selected. I was not familiar with that company, but I really like what you chose. The blend of grays and tans is a nice coloration.

I am sure I would not like the bluestone that has various colors running through it, as it would fight with the various pavers colors. You might consider getting a couple of pieces of bluestone (solid blues) and holding them against a few pavers (enough so that you could see the full color blends in a decent sized area) and see how the blue goes with the gray in the pavers.

It's hard for me to see the true paver colors online. You'll have a better chance by at least using the all blue stones.

I know you said you really want to use bluestone, but if the two materials don't look well together, you might consider either of these options.

1. Do the entire patio out of can select the multi color bluestone that you like (full range).
2. Border the patio with with one of the colors from the paver mixture. In other words, do it in a gray paver, as a soldier course (shown in the picture on the Minnesota River page.)

I have not used bluestone combined with pavers. I have used bluestone wall caps or steps with pavers though and it can look nice if the paver goes well with the bluestone color. Only by looking at them together will you know for sure.

I hope this was helpful.

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Blueston and Slate

by Bob
(Annapolis, MD)

I want to build a patio along side of a new deck. The patio will be approximately 14 feet by 16 feet. I have a chance to purchase slate that has been cut very precisely to 1.5 inches thick in all sizes and shapes.

I hoped to break up the monotony of 24 inch slate slabs by inserting some darker colored soldier courses intermittently. Is 1.5 inch slate adequate for laying on a 6 inch base of CR6 with one inch of sand immediately below the stone?

Also, I am concerned about slippery conditions when it gets wet. I live in Annapolis, MD where there is some freezing, but little snow, and relatively mild winters. This patio will only be used during spring, summer, and fall. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Slate Patios
by: Susan

Hi Bob,

If you take a look online, you should be able to find specifications for a dry laid patio installation.

However, what you are proposing sounds about right. I am not familiar with CR 6, but I am assuming it is a type of crushed stone. Typically a crushed stone base is installed at the bottom, then sand is laid, then paving material. You can either lay the slate so that each piece butts up against each other, or you can leave some narrow spacing, ideally about 1/4". You can then fill these joints in with polymeric sand, which hardens.

1.5 inch slate sounds fine to me.

The only time slate might be slippery is after a rain. I wouldn't let that stop me if you like the stone.

I get a lot of questions about installations. Maybe I should post a drawing on my site.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any further questions, just post them here.


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