A paving stone is any stone milled to a uniform shape and size. These "stone pavers" are used in a modular building system to create patios and other outdoor projects. Available in many shapes, sizes and colours, there are stone pavers to coordinate with your home's exterior. A patio made of paving stone will increase your home's value while adding square footage to your living space.
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Your choice of paving stone includes granite, limestone, marble and travertine. Granite is the hardest and virtually indestructible. Limestone is comprised of layers of hard sediment making it long-lasting, but may require sealing. Marble pavers are durable and have a lovely swirl and vein effect due to mineral impurities present in their formation. Travertine stone is "morphed" limestone that is ideal for a patio as it stays cool for bare feet and resistant to damage from freeze and thaw cycles. Travertine's colour does not fade and actually improves in appearance with age.
Paving stone patios require little maintenance if properly installed. An occasional sweeping and light power washing will keep it in good shape. Since stone is formed naturally and has already been around for millions of years, a stone patio is durable and can last as long as your home. Paving stones are adaptable to your space and can be laid in any size or shape. Simple enough to construct yourself, a stone paver patio is easy to repair by replacing individual, damaged pavers.
Choose a stone paver that contrasts with the exterior of your home to create interest and bring attention to your patio space. Or select pavers in soft muted colours to blend in and make your patio homogeneous with its surroundings. Place your pavers in a vertical running fashion to encourage traffic or turn their direction toward a part of your patio where guests will want to stay awhile.
Select your stone pavers, decide on your design and lay it out on a paper template first. The rest is a straightforward process: Prepare the ground properly to keep your patio level and in place; lay about four inches of gravel with at least one inch of bedding sand to provide proper drainage and a level surface to set your stones; finish with an edge to hold your patio in place.
The potential designs for your patio are almost limitless. With the availability of so many different stones in so many different colours and patterns, you call the shots. Go for a traditional or colonial style with traditional 4- by 8-inch stone pavers. Choose pavers in a combination of rectangles and squares to create a cobblestone feel. Placing pavers in a circular pattern brings focus to a special area of your patio. Choose herringbone, basket-weave, running bond (straight vertical runs), or a random pattern to get the look and feel you want.
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