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 an outdoor space, 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!
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.
Did you know bluestone is 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. Along with these bluish and gray shades, it tends to offer a sturdier surface and comes with natural cleft and select grades. A natural cleft isn’t common.
Due to its durability, it tends to be more resilient against the elements for a weather-resistant finish. Everyone loves a weather-resistant natural stone. Yet, with these perks, comes a higher cost.
To fully answer "Are flagstone and bluestone the same?", let's break down the differences in great detail.
There’s a reason using bluestone or flagstone is so popular in landscaping - they both offer a beautiful natural stone finish that adds a stunning touch to any outdoor living space. Both are typically implemented as pathways, walkways, steps, driveways, wall projects, and even interior flooring.
In terms of appearance, bluestone, formed from particles deposited uniquely, 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 natural 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 is another factor to consider when deciding between flagstone or bluestone. 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, as a flat stone may not be as sturdy as bluestone, but still has decent durability. A sedimentary rock formed like flagstone is weather-resistant in its thick, compact variations - something to consider when investing in this natural stone.
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 near harsh weather conditions. 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 limit slipping, 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 is essential to maintaining the beauty of any natural 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.
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.
So, now that you know the difference between bluestone and flagstone, 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, has a moderately textured surface, 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 around things like pool decks. Plus, it provides traction with natural ridges to help it in being slip-proof 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.
While bluestone and flagstone are popular choices for outdoor landscaping, there are other natural stone options to consider as well. Let's explore some of the alternatives for your project.
When it comes to natural stone options for landscaping, limestone slabs are another popular choice. When comparing bluestone vs limestone, it's important to note that while bluestone is typically more durable and slip-proof than limestone, limestone is often more affordable.
It's worth considering limestone vs bluestone for steps as bluestone may be the better choice due to its slip resistance. When it comes to limestone vs bluestone pool coping, both bluestone and limestone can be suitable choices depending on personal preferences, but bluestone may be more slip-resistant.
And you may notice that many flagstone and bluestone designs look similar. That's because both stones are often grouped as “Pennsylvania bluestone” due to their similar appearance.
Finally, when we discuss the cost of limestone vs bluestone, limestone is often the most affordable of the three options, with bluestone typically being the most expensive. Don't let the price tag stop you from considering bluestone, however. It may be worth paying extra for its durability and slip-resistant properties.
In addition to comparing bluestone vs flagstone, it's also worth considering slate as a natural stone option for your outdoor landscaping needs.
When comparing bluestone vs slate, slate is generally considered to be less durable and more prone to chipping and cracking, but it can still be a great choice for patios, walkways, and other surfaces. When it comes to bluestone vs slate cost, bluestone is typically more expensive than slate.
It's also worth noting that slate vs bluestone patios can have slightly different aesthetics. For slate vs bluestone, while both stones offer a natural look, bluestone often has a more uniform color, while slate can vary in color and has a rich texture.
And remember, when considering flagstone vs bluestone for steps or pool coping, both options are suitable choices. This is especially true if you are considering bluestone vs slate for steps, as bluestone is generally the better option due to its durability and slip-resistant properties.
Although bluestone is generally known to be stronger and more resilient than travertine, the stony texture and earthy colors of travertine can add a unique touch to your design.
Plus, it's important to consider the cost of travertine vs bluestone when making your decision. Travertine is typically more expensive than both bluestone vs travertine but can be a great choice if you're looking for a unique design with added warmth and character.
The versatility of the travertine for landscaping and its durability also makes it a great choice for outdoors, walkways, steps, and pool coping. So don't discount the possibility of using travertine for your outdoor landscaping project.
Whether you want a long-lasting and durable stone-like bluestone or a cost-effective option like travertine, or a versatile choice like flagstone, there are many factors to consider as you decide which natural stone to include in your outdoor renovation project.
In conclusion, when it comes to natural stone options for outdoor landscaping, there are different factors to consider, such as durability, cost, and aesthetic preferences.
Bluestone vs flagstone vs slate are three popular options, each with its unique strengths and drawbacks. Whether you're considering bluestone, limestone, slate, travertine, or flagstone for your outdoor renovation, it's crucial to choose the stone that best suits your specific needs and design goals.
A professional landscaper can offer valuable advice and help guide you toward the perfect choice for your outdoor project, ensuring a beautiful and long-lasting result that you can enjoy for years to come.
Get in touch with Stone Center today for expert advice on your outdoor landscaping needs!
Jon, the owner of Stone Center, is a knowledgeable expert in natural stone products, specializing in various types of stone for landscaping and architectural projects. Passionate about promoting the beauty and versatility of natural stone, Jon aims to use these blogs to inspire readers with creative ideas to upgrade their homes.