Installing Flagstone over concrete on a S-Shaped Front Entrance Path- Part 2 of 2

This is the second of two articles that illustrates why it is very important to work with a good masonry contractor who specializes with flagstone. We discuss laying flagstone on a 48-foot long S-shaped front path in the Washington DC area. Dimensions of S-Shaped Front Entrance Path
  • On the street side, the base is 7-feet long to accommodate people getting out of the car,
  • At the narrowest section, it is 48 inches wide to allow two people to walk shoulder to shoulder, and
  • At the front steps, its about 6 feet wide.
    Job Specifications
    1. Pennsylvania Select Blue 1.5 inches thick,
    2. Random rectangular pattern,
    3. Hand picked to match Pennsylvania Select Blue flagstone on porch,
    4. Grout to match that on porch, and
    5. Installed per landscape plan on concrete base.
    How the job went The job went reasonably well and the people installing the stones really knew what they were doing. They had to troubleshoot several problems and did so with relative ease. The work goes very slowly, but that is just the way it is. All told, it took about 5 days to lay the stone, make the final cuts to the shape of concrete base, and to wash the stone with a mild acid solution. One issue that surfaced prior to work beginning was the thickness of the flagstone. We specified 1.5 inches in our contract. In reality, 1.5 thick flagstone ranges in size from 1.125 inches to 2.12 inches. We insisted on a minimum of 1.5 inches to ensure that the stones would not crack over time. Our contractor made another trip to the quarry and managed to find some. As with any natural stone, color varies. Some of the stones were not blue and had a rust color in it. Again our contractor was able to find the better color, but as our article on selecting flagstone suggests, it is not easy. All told, the most important aspect of your job will be your stone mason. If he has a competent crew and provides the necessary supervision of his crew, your job will turn out excellent. How to Ensure Success We interviewed many masons and so should you. Ask them what they specialize in. All the contractors we interviewed were very good and professed to be able to do flagstone, brick and concrete. The truth is that masons specialize in one or the other. Here are some tips:
    1. Get at least three recent references,
    2. By all means go see the a masonry contractor's work,
    3. If the masonry firm can't provide you with references, then move on,
    4. When you go to their previous jobs, observe the size of the job. Is it comparable to what you want him to do?
    5. Talk to the owners an get their take on how the job went, and also,
    6. Visit a masonry contractor who is on an current job.
    Hopefully, your entrance path will turn out like the one below.