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Build A Flagstone Patio - A Stylish Home Improvement

Jan 6, 2008
The current low interest rate environment provides exceptional opportunities for the homeowner to carry out remodeling and additions to their current house through a home equity loan. There are many options available to improve the look and functionality of a home and a popular idea with many homeowners is to increase the outdoor living area by building a flagstone patio or adding a deck.

Adding a deck can be a simple project, however if you want to build a flagstone patio it can become a major project. That said, however, flagstones are an architectural feature that can add drama and richness to a home while providing a substantial outdoor entertaining area.

A full flagstone patio can be an expensive outdoor home improvement. However, if you simply add a flagstone border to an existing patio you may be able to add strong visual appeal at a fraction of the cost.

Apart from the cost of the flagstones, the other major expense will be the contractors' labor. A flagstone patio can be quite time consuming to lay as the flags frequently need to be cut to size and there is a great deal of planning involved in achieving an outstanding result.

To save on the cost of hiring contractors you might want to consider laying the stones yourself. It is possible to build a flagstone patio yourself, but you'll need to have good instruction and follow the directions carefully. The good news about doing it yourself is that flagstones are more forgiving than tiles because they usually don't have to be regular in size.

Cleaning Your Flagstone Patio

An important cleaning step when laying flagging is to sponge off the stones to remove any excess concrete. You want the concrete to stay in the joints and not leave any on the stones. After the flagstones have been laid you may need to clean off the entire flagged area with masonry cleaner. It is important to check with your stone supplier about the type of masonry cleaner you should use. You must avoid using a cleaner that is too strong for your stone. Follow the directions on the pack and rinse off the cleaner very well.

Sealing Your New Flagstone Patio

There are pros and cons to sealing flagstones. In some instances it is recommended and it will highlight the natural color and beauty of the stone. However, in an outdoor situation the sealant will tend to wear quickly and not in an even manner which can lead to some areas of the flagging becoming dirty whilst others retain the sealer and their natural beauty. Many people prefer to leave the flagging unsealed. It will age evenly and retain a more natural look, especially in an outdoor setting.

If you are tempted to seal your new flagstone patio avoid using a urethane sealer. Some people want to use this type of sealer as it gives the stone flags a wet look. However, the urethane won't allow the stone and concrete to breathe and will cause the alkaline in the concrete to work its way to the surface, which in turn will cause gray blotches to appear on your stone.

Design options for building a flagstone patio are unlimited. Follow the guidelines, ensure you have a stable base, set the larger flags first and then fill with smaller stones. Your flagstone patio will give you many years of beauty and enjoyment.
About the Author
Alison Stevens is an online author and publisher and maintains The Home Improvement Website to assist homeowners with home improvement tips and information. You'll find more information on flagstone patios here.
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