• Mark Shepherd

Flamed Pennsylvania Flagstones

Nice consistent colors and textures in this Queen Anne Neighborhood walkway project

This was a customer I had worked for a couple of years ago. They have two very active dogs and property on a very steep slope with (previously) no steps or pathways, and a fairly small budget to work with. So when we were there before the walkway you see in the photos was put in as strictly clean crushed rock contained with aluminum edging. (We also put in large rock steps down the side of the house).

Fast-forward to Summer 2022 and it had become clear that the gravel paths were not going to be sufficient for the activity level of these dogs, so they wanted to replace the gravel paths with flagstone. It just so happened that the local flagstone supply was very depleted as it was the start of the busy season and the shipping and supply lines for Pennsylvania Bluestone were over-burdoned.

Luckily Rock Mountain Products outside of Redmond had my back. They had in stock a certain cut/style of bluestone I hadn't seen around before: Sawed/Flamed Irregular Flagstone. Unlike the commonly-used Natural Cleft Flagstone, these pieces were cut from blocks of deep bedrock with a giant mill saw then given a heat treatment (also known as "thermalling") which flakes off the outer surface giving it a more natural, stippled look and texture. Thermalled stone is also superior in the fact that it is so reliably even, making it a breeze to arrange them into a perfectly smooth and level plane.

Normally this type of flagstone costs around twice what the natural cleft version costs, but they had a few overlooked pallets of medium-small pieces laid flat (referred to as "patio stone") which were priced very modestly helping me keep the project on-budget.

I like this material very much and would like to see more of it available. These particular clients weren't concerned about the color blend, but I often have customers who would prefer this kind of consistency over the usual variegated look.