After you choose to add a flagstone patio to your backyard oasis in Fairfax, VA there will be a very important decision you need to make: foundation material. There are two categories of material that can be chosen from. These options are wet-laid and dry-laid. Wet-laid simply means the material, i.e. cement, will be wet when the flagstone is laid. Dry-laid refers to the use of sand, gravel, or a combination of the two which are dry when the flagstone is laid.
Grade level cement will crack especially in areas with harsh winters like the ones in Fairfax, VA. Laying flagstone on a cement foundation will end up being a larger, more expensive task if ever the time comes to replace it. It should be noted that laying flagstone on a gravel or sand base then filling in the joints with cement is not a wise idea. The base will be flexible using these materials while the cement is rigid. Cracking will eventually happen.
With sand as the base of your patio there is a possibility of ants. If you are determined to use sand as the base of your flagstone patio, be sure to use course sand or quarry screenings. Heavier sand will ensure that the stones stay in essentially the same place. Movement is inevitable, but shifting should be minimal if the job is done correctly.
It is highly recommended to use modified gravel for the base and quarry screenings for the final leveling agent. It may be complicated to go this route with flagstone because you may need 1 inch on one side and 2 inches on the other due to the irregular shape of the stone. Ants love fine sand, but if the flagstone joints are small enough the ant issue should be minimal.
A Flagstone patio is a great addition to an outdoor area. If you are interested in adding one in the area of Fairfax, VA contact Green Acres for more information.
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