Bluestone driveways are extremely elegant, whether in gravel, tile or solid slab format, and add an undeniable sense of refinement to any property. Bluestone is a form of sandstone, a sedimentary rock consisting of many layers of ancient sand deposits.
Like limestone and travertine, it has a rich history in construction, dating back over five thousand years. In fact, the famous Stonehenge monument in England was constructed of bluestone in approximately 2300 BC, and it still stands today! Its great advantage as a construction material is in its durability and beauty, as well as the ease with which it can be cut and shaped to suit almost any need.
Bluestone is named for its color, which begins as a deep blue but will fade, over time and with constant sun exposure, to a light shade of grey. In driveway construction, bluestone comes in various shapes and sizes: it can be crushed into gravel, cut into tiles to create intricate patterns, or left in larger slabs. Each of these carries with it a distinctive appearance and unique advantages; bluestone gravel, for example, shares more properties in common with more common gravel – porousness, regular required maintenance – than it does with solid bluestone.
One concern is repeated exposure to the freeze-thaw cycle, which can cause bluestone to crack, fissure and flake; this problem can be offset by proper installation of drainage systems, regular application of sealants and by purchasing a finer grade of bluestone, which are less prone to flaking and cracking due to their increased density. Most sealers, however, have a visible impact on the color of bluestone, usually by making it shinier or more reflective; it would be wise to test out any sealants on a small sampling before applying them to the entire driveway, in case the extra sheen is not appealing to you.
Unlike many other finer driveway materials, bluestone can be quarried in North America, thereby reducing shipping and material costs. Despite this, it is still more expensive than standard concrete or asphalt.
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