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Bluestone Patio We Did

7273 Views 21 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  JimLewis
Here's a few photos of a Bluestone Patio we finished last week....

Sorry, there is some gravel on the patio and steps due to some traffic after we blew off the patio. :rolleyes:


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We did a bunch of other stuff on this project too. Outdoor lighting (Kichler LED), Irrigation System, Sod Lawn, Planting, Garden Boxes, Rock Staircase, Gravel Pathway. So there was a lot more to the project. But this was the highlight.
To answer a few questions:

Yes, we used polymeric in the joints. But not sand. The joints were too wide and poly sand wouldn't look right anyway. We used Gator Dust. That stuff rocks and gives a look similar to mortar when it's hardened.

I don't know why we don't get quarry marks on these. I've never noticed that before. But we don't do too many cut Bluestone patios like this. This is only the 2nd or 3rd one we've done. For some reason, we got these pretty clean.

We installed it similar to pavers, except with the gator dust instead of poly sand. 1" gravel compacted into the clay subsoil to stabilize the clay, then a layer of biaxial geogrid fabric, then 5" compacted gravel, then sand then the stone.
Well, maybe I used the wrong term. I guess more specifically, we use woven geotextile stabilization fabric. It's used for under driveways or large patios to both stabilize the soil underneath but also provide a layer of separation so that the soil (clay, in our case) doesn't come up through and contaminate the gravel base of your patio or driveway.

It's my understanding that if you just lay down 4" or more of gravel and compact it with a plate compactor that later on eventually the soil underneath begins to work it's way UP into your gravel. And over time that destabilizes the gravel, resulting in sinking. So this fabric helps prevent that.

Apparently, it's ICPI standards to use this every time you install a paver patio or driveway. So we've been doing it ever since I found that out. First install, though, I found that the base was clay and because it was winter and it had been raining here, the clay was not hard. It was very mushy. So we laid down the fabric and several inches of gravel and compacted, as instructed. But even then, the gravel was still a little mushy in some areas. So we had to add more gravel, compact more, etc. to finally get it to be stable. That sucked. So I went to my supplier and said, "Hey, this fabric helps, but it was still mushy UNDERNEATH the fabric. So we still had trouble. What do you do when that happens?" He advised me that what they do is lay down a light 1-2" course of gravel and compact it INTO the clay soil. And you keep doing that until the soil gets firm. THEN you add this fabric and THEN you add your gravel base and compact. So that's how we do it now.

It looks and feels just like pond underlayment fabric. About 3/8" thick woven fabric.

Here is a site about it. This is the stuff we use;

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Not that I can tell. My crew installed this, not me. So I wasn't there the entire time. But I do know it's sticky as heck once it's wet. So you have to make sure to get the patio totally dry before you start spreading out the gator dust and then make sure the patio is cleaned off totally AGAIN once it has been swept into the joints. Then you lightly wet it down.

My crews are pretty careful with Gator Dust because we've been using it for years. Well, we actually started out using EnviroStone (similar product, but doesn't last like Gator Dust does) and switched to Gator Dust 2 years ago. But anyway, we install it a LOT. So they're pretty good about working with it.
No. You can't do that. Well, not with the plate compactor we have anyway. But I wouldn't compact this stuff with anything. No need to. First of all, most of those pieces are pretty dang heavy. The larger ones are over 200 lbs. each. So just the weight on top of the screeded sand pretty much makes them about as compact as you could get. I think you'd crack them or scar them if you tried to compact afterwards.

But they did tamp them down into place with a rubber mallet. So that helped make sure they were compacted down right on top of the sand.

Good to see you Matt. Howz biz? Are you as swamped as we are this year? We've been going very strong since almost the beg. of January. Jan and Feb 2010 were our best Jan. and Feb. on record so far. March looking like it may be as well. Great year so far. If this keeps up we'll have our best year on record. Nice change from the past two years which have been a little more of a struggle and lower profit margins to get jobs.
Well, the market seems really strong right now. I know the guys over at Preferred in Hillsboro and they've said it's been picking up quite a lot these last 2-3 weeks for them too. So I think you'll catch that wave soon.

Best wishes.
You're a funny guy, Matt. :hammerhead:

The client had us buy that plant for them and they are going to put it in a nice pot. Just hadn't been done yet. We prob. should have removed that before the photos.
No local suppliers for cell-tek locally, yet. But I am interested in it and have been looking into it.
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