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08/22/2022

Flagstone vs Bluestone: What Is the Difference?

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Flagstone and bluestone are both large, flat stones commonly used for landscaping across patios, walkways, driveways, and pool decks.

With both remaining popular in home designs, these stones offer supreme durability, rich colors, and a natural stone look for versatile implementation. And while both are popular when designing outdoor spaces, there is a difference between flagstone and bluestone, and the best one for you largely depends on your unique project.

To help you understand bluestone vs flagstone, we are breaking down all the must-know knowledge below!

What Is Flagstone?

To help differentiate in the debate between flagstone vs bluestone, flagstone is described as a sedimentary rock that’s typically composed of sandstone bound together by minerals, including silica, calcite, and iron ore. 

The flat stone is ideal for use as a paving stone and is commonly implemented in walkways, patios, and wall projects. Additionally, this stone can be cut and shaped in a range of ways, offering a unique finish for each homeowner. 

Flagstone is most commonly known for its rich texture and vast range of colors. Offering shades such as brown, gray, gold, and blue, this stone can match a range of different home designs. 

What Is Bluestone? 

Did you know bluestone is actually a type of flagstone? It’s true!

Bluestone is a form of flagstone and is characterized as a sedimentary rock that's formed through the fusing of particles deposited by rivers, oceans, and lakes. Bluestone usually features a moderately textured surface. 

Unlike the vast range of flagstone colors, bluestone typically comes in bluish and gray shades but can have more full-color tones mixed in. Additionally, it tends to offer a sturdier surface and comes with natural cleft and select grades. Due to its durability, it tends to be more resilient against the elements for a weather-resistant finish. Yet, with these perks, comes a higher cost. 

bluestone vs flagstone
Bluestone with limestone border, with grass accents

Appearance

There’s a reason flagstone and bluestone are so popular in landscaping - they both offer a beautiful natural stone finish that adds a stunning touch to any outdoor space. Both are typically implemented as pathways, walkways, steps, driveways, walls, and even interior flooring. 

In terms of appearance, bluestone offers a rich blue and gray color that stands out in an outdoor landscape. Typically, bluestone is regarded as more stable and stronger than flagstone, yet comes in fewer shade ranges. 

Flagstone, on the other hand, is a more neutral stone. With this in mind, it tends to better blend in with the landscape, offering a more neutral accompaniment to your design. Plus, with such a vast range of colors, it can expertly blend in with a variety of home designs. 

Durability

While bluestone is a type of flagstone, these two stones do offer different levels of durability. 

Bluestone is typically regarded as the stronger of the two. It is known to hold in place better than flagstone, and is naturally dense, and thus more resilient against the elements. 

Flagstone, on the other hand, may not be as sturdy as bluestone, but still has decent durability. Flagstone is weather-resistant in its thick, compact variations - something to consider when investing in this stone. 

Functionality

In terms of the functionality of flagstone vs bluestone, they each have their pros and cons when implementing them in your design. 

Bluestone is the superior choice if you live in a harsher weather climate. Whether you deal with extremely hot summers or bitterly cold winters, bluestone is better built to withstand these elements. Additionally, bluestone tends to be slightly more slip-resistant due to its rougher surface, which is great for around a pool area.

Flagstone, on the other hand, tends to still be slip-proof, just not as much as bluestone. Additionally, the lighter flagstone colors will be better for hotter climates as they won’t retain as much heat as the darker-hued bluestone. 

Maintenance

Maintenance is essential to maintaining the beauty of any stone, yet some need more than others, which can occupy quite a bit of your time. 

Bluestone tends to need more maintenance than flagstone when comparing the two stones. Since bluestone is more porous, it’s easier to stain. That being said, it is still easy to clean, so scrubbing the surface with water and dish soap weekly or bi-weekly will do the trick. 

Flagstone, on the other hand, tends to be less porous than bluestone, thus requiring less maintenance over the years. That being said, it's still important to clean it to avoid the buildup of stains. 

difference between flagstone and bluestone
Flagstone maintenance

Cost

Now to get to the detail you've all been waiting for - the bluestone vs flagstone cost. 

Typically, flagstone is not considered an inexpensive material. Depending on where you source it from, the type, cut, and color, flagstone ranges from $15 to $20 per square foot, coming in at around $120 per ton to over $500.

Sound like a lot? Well, bluestone is more expensive. Since bluestone isn't available in all areas, it tends to have a steeper price, in part due to shipping. 

To combat costs, flagstone and bluestone are used in smaller projects to avoid breaking the budget, yet are well worth the price to enhance your space. 

Flagstone vs Bluestone: Which One Is Right for You?

So, now that you know the difference between flagstone and bluestone, which is right for you?

Considering that bluestone itself is a form of flagstone, you truly can’t go wrong with either material. The stone that is best for you depends on your unique project, design, and needs. Typically, bluestone is considered the sturdier of the two and will hold in place better for a more resilient finish to withstand the elements. With blue and gray tones, this stone is a more classic, formal design choice for a clean, even aesthetic.

Flagstone, on the other hand, offers a more earthy look for contemporary landscape designs. Since it comes in a variety of shapes, textures, and colors, it’s a more flexible choice when designing your space. Plus, it provides traction with natural ridges to limit slipping and helps reduce surface water pooling. 

Still, debating? Let’s break down the benefits of bluestone and flagstone for a quick guide to your search. 

bluestone vs flagstone cost
Bluestone

Bluestone:

  • Typically stronger than flagstone;
  • Offers a beautiful color that stands out from the landscape;
  • Offers more versatility;
  • Is more stable than flagstone;
  • Better at withstanding harsh weather conditions;
  • Naturally slip-resistant.

Flagstone:

  • Neutral-colored stone blends into the landscape;
  • Can be split into layers;
  • Slip-proof when in its rough form;
  • Considered a generic paving stone. 

Conclusion

So, where do you stand on the bluestone vs flagstone debate? With so many benefits to each stone type, you can’t go wrong with either choice. Ultimately, the best choice, whether flagstone or bluestone, depends on how you implement it in your design and the look you’re hoping to achieve.

To explore more on the difference between flagstone and bluestone, and to see the wide range of colors and types available, check out our selection at Stone Center. If you’re ready to begin on your project, get the best results with our team. To start the process, contact us today.