The main aim of this article is to give you a clear understanding of the cost to install a flagstone patio. We take a detailed look at the costs and prices of all your options, the different types of flagstone, the pros and cons of a flagstone patio, installation costs, maintaining flagstone, and comparing the cost of flagstone to the cost of other patio building materials.
What is Flagstone | Pros & Cons | Flagstone Material Prices | Price Factors | Installations Costs | Total Costs | DIY Vs Professional Installation | DIY Costs | Maintenance Costs | Flagstone Cost Vs Other Patio Options | Types of Flagstone | FAQ’s
Let’s start by agreeing on the definition of flagstone.
WHAT IS FLAGSTONE?
Flagstone is actually a generic term for sedimentary rock that has been split into layers or slabs. The term flagstone describes various types of stone that can be laid as “flags” or shapes in patterns on outdoor surfaces.
Flagstone is a natural stone that is very well-suited for paving patios primarily due to narrow, packed joints that allow water to permeate instead of running off or pooling. The stone provides a beautiful, organic look that will complement any landscaping.
PROS AND CONS OF A FLAGSTONE PATIO
- Long lasting
- Fairly easy to install from a technical standpoint
- Easy to maintain and repair
- Is time-consuming to install
- Using a flagstone not suited to your climate can cause it to deteriorate more quickly than it should
- The sand under dry-laid flagstone can shift or erode an might cause low spots and need to be built up and repacked
HOW MUCH DOES FLAGSTONE COST
The average cost of flagstone is about $7 per square foot, depending on the type of stone and the size of the slabs. Smaller pieces, or pavers, will be less expensive than large slabs.
The stone for a flagstone patio can be as cheap as $3.00 per square foot, but most starts around $6.00 or higher. Premium materials can be as expensive as $12 per square foot.
Flagstone is often sold by the ton. One ton of flagstone will cover about 140 square feet and will cost between $600 and $2,200 per ton. Sandstone will be in the lower price range, limestone and bluestone are in the mid-range, with travertine and slate at the high end.
The size of the flagstone paver or slab makes a difference in the cost. Typically a ton of flagstone will include various sizes but if you want all large pieces or particular shapes like squares or long rectangles, expect to pay considerably more per square foot.
Other factors that will affect the cost include:
A simple design using the factory cut edges and sizes will cost less than having the stones cut on-site to fit a complex design. The more cuts needed, the more the labor will cost and with a complex design you’ll need up to 25% more flagstone due to losing the cut ends of the stone.
You may need a construction permit to add a patio to your home. A construction permit typically starts at about $150 depending on where you live.
TIME OF YEAR
It may cost more or less to have a patio installed in the off-season and it will likely cost more during the height of the season. When you get estimates, ask at what time of year costs are lower.
FLAGSTONE PATIO INSTALLATION COSTS
Flagstone patio installation costs range between $11 and $17 per square foot depending on the method used – dry-laid, mortar-set, or concrete-set. Labor cost is about $12 per square foot for dry-laid or mortar-set and about $15 for concrete-set installation.
Dry-laid is the easiest installation method. First the area is excavated and leveled then sand and gravel are laid down as a base for the flagstone. When the area is prepared the installer will cut and fit the stone slabs creating the desired patio shape and size. Grout is then applied between the stones to keep them in place and create a finished look. The labor cost for a dry-laid patio will average about $11 per square foot.
A mortar-set patio is created by preparing the area but mortar is used as a base rather than sand and gravel adding additional stability and durability to the patio. Expect to pay about $12 per square foot for mortar-set installation.
After the area for the patio is excavated and leveled, the contractor will cut and fit the stones then 4 inches of concrete is poured to create the base. The stones must be laid in place quickly before the concrete sets. Grout is applied between the stones to finish the patio. A concrete-laid patio will cost about $15 per square foot to install.
FLAGSTONE PATIO TOTAL COST
With materials and labor a 100 square foot patio will cost between $1,750 and $2,500 and a 500 square foot flagstone patio will cost about $8,750 to $12,500.
COST TO DIY A FLAGSTONE PATIO VS. HIRING A CONTRACTOR
The average cost of labor to install a flagstone patio is about $13 per square foot so a 100 square foot patio will cost $1,300 and a 500 square foot patio will cost $6,500 for labor alone so you might want to attempt to DIY.
If you DIY, your costs will include:
- Flagstone at between $6.50 and $10 per square foot
- Sand, gravel, mortar or concrete at between $100 and $500 for 500 square feet.
- Rental equipment at $75 to $150 per day such as a soil compactor to ensure the ground is even and won’t settle.
- Sealant at $35 to $200 per gallon, with one gallon sealing about 200-250 square feet depending on how porous the paver material is.
You will save money installing a flagstone patio yourself, but it is not an easy task. It can be time consuming, cutting the stone is difficult, and the stone is heavy. If you’re not experienced in stone cutting, order extra stone to provide leeway for cutting errors.
THE COST TO MAINTAIN A FLAGSTONE PATIO
There are just a few basic but critical steps to maintaining a good-looking flagstone patio.
New flagstone patios should always be treated with a sealant to fill the pores in the stone and provide moisture and stain resistance. The best sealant for stone features a penetrating acrylic with a matte finish so water will bead up and not seep into the stone. Don’t use a glossy finish sealant as that can give the flagstone an unnatural appearance and cause it to be slippery.
Using a sealant is especially important in salt-air climates and if you intend to have a barbecue or outdoor kitchen on the patio. Reseal the flagstone every 2 to 4 years depending on how much you use the patio.
Sweep the patio often to keep leaves, seeds, sand, and other debris from sitting on the flagstone which can hold moisture against the stones and eventually stain them. If possible, remove snow to keep melted snow from getting into the joints and freezing, potentially causing swelling and cracking.
When needed, use the hose to rinse the patio. Light power washing is OK too.
To clean stains and mold from flagstone use bleach or muriatic acid diluted with water and rinse right away. Do check with your flagstone supplier about what the best cleaning solution is for the type of stone you purchased.
If one of the stones cracks or is stained and cannot be cleaned, it is usually fairly easy to remove the damaged stone and replace it.
With that in mind, always purchase extra pavers for future repairs.
FLAGSTONE PATIO COST VS OTHER PATIO OPTIONS
In the chart below we compare the cost of a 250 square foot flagstone patio with the cost of concrete, stamped concrete, pavers, gravel, and clay bricks:
Flagstone Patio vs Other Patio Options – Costs Include Material and Installation
|Type||Average Cost per Square Foot||Cost per 250 sq. ft. (14′ x 18′)|
COST OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLAGSTONE
Below are some of the various types of stone that are quarried and laid as flagstone.
Sandstone paver cost is $6.50 to $8.75 per square foot for materials including the pavers, edging and fine stone to fill any gaps.
Sandstone is formed by layers of compacted sand and is native to the Southwest. The material has is found in soft colors, mostly earth tones like beige, pinks, tans, gold, and dark muted red.
Denser types of sandstone are very durable. However, more porous types are not suited for cold climates because the stone can absorb water and crack in freeze/thaw cycles. Porous types are not usually sold where winter freezes are common. Keep a good seal on sandstone to help prevent staining.
Quartzite paver cost is $6.85 to $9.00 per square foot depending on the color of the pavers.
Quartzite is formed from metamorphosed rock, has a smooth, glossy surface, and is typically found in Idaho, Oklahoma, and Utah. You’ll find a range of colors including tans, blues, grays, greens, silver, and gold.
Quartzite is hardy stone that holds up well over the years. It resists stains, but grease or chemicals spilled on it should be cleaned up quickly. The stone has crevices that collect dirt, so you’ll need to clean it regularly by spraying it off with a hose and gently brushing away the dirt with a broom. More on Sandstone and Quartzite at Wikipedia.
The cost of bluestone pavers and installation materials is $7.75 to $10.00 per square foot.
Bluestone is a type of sandstone that is much denser than what’s found in the Southwest. This attractive paver material is generally found in the Northeast including Pennsylvania and New York and comes in tones of blue, gray, and purple.
Bluestone provides a durable, and textured non-slip surface. It is a good choice where winters are cold and freeze/thaw cycles are common. It should be sealed though to keep it from staining or the color from fading. This is especially true if it will be exposed to coastal air or chlorine from a pool. Find out more about bluestone.
The materials cost $7.00 to $9.00 per square foot.
Limestone is a common sedimentary rock composed of calcite. Its natural split surface can be polished to provide an elegant appearance. Mined mostly in Indiana, limestone’s colors are earthy beiges, yellows and grays plus some black.
Limestone is a good choice for humid climates and can handle limited freezing and thawing. It is durable, but should be sealed. Avoid harsh cleaners on limestone to prevent staining.
Further Reading: Limestone Characteristics – GSA.Gov
Travertine paver cost with all installation materials is $8.50 to $9.75 per square foot.
Travertine is a variety of limestone that is very compact and typically found in western states. You can find travertine in tones of brown, tan, and gray blue. Travertine is durable and stays cool in the heat. Surface texturing does collect dirt, so it needs regularly cleaning.
The cost of basalt pavers is $8.25 to $9.50 per square foot.
Basalt is a volcanic rock with a light texture. Most is mined in British Columbia and Montana. Colors include gray, beige, and black that fade and become dull with age.
Slate pavers are premium pavers and cost $8.50 to more than $10.00 per square foot for some options.
Slate can be softer than sandstone and requires sealing to prevent staining. Most slate for pavers is mined in the Northeast and is shipped throughout the US. Pavers come in a range of silver, gray, green, rust, copper, blue, red, and purple tones. Because slate can flake it’s not suited for climates with freeze/thaw cycles.
How much is a flagstone patio?
Installed cost ranges from $17.50 to $25.00 per square foot. If you DIY, you’ll save $11.00 to $15.00 per square foot.
Is flagstone a good choice for a patio?
Yes, flagstone is one of the best materials for a patio. Flagstone is durable, long-lasting, and one of the most natural looking and attractive options available.
How long will a flagstone patio last?
Flagstone can last 100 years or more. The key to a long-lasting flagstone patio is making sure the installation method is suitable to the location and the stone choice is suitable to your climate.
For example, a dry-laid patio is best in a dry climate where the underlying sand won’t be washed away by rain and melting snow. A concrete-set patio is best in cold climates regardless of which type of paver you choose.
Slate is best in a temperate climate and bluestone resists freezing so is suitable to cold climates.
Keep it sealed too to prevent excess water absorption and staining.
Where can I buy flagstone?
You can buy flagstone at big-box home improvement stores, online retailers, and local stone supply and landscaping centers. Always check if the flagstone you are purchasing is suitable for your climate.
COMPARE FLAGSTONE COSTS FROM OTHER TRUSTED RESOURCES
- HomeAdvisor – $750 – $8,400 Typical Price Range for Completed Project
- Porch.com – $1,887 -$2,442 National Average Price Range for Completed Project
- Lawn Love – $750 and $8,265 Typical Price Range for Completed Project
- Landscaping Network – $15-20 Per Sq/Ft National Average Price Range
- Angi – $15 to $21 Per Sq/Ft Average Price Range