Pennsylvania Bluestone Basics
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PENNSYLVANIA BLUESTONE PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE
Pennsylvania bluestone which is quarried in Northeast Pennsylvania has grown in popularity exponentially of late. There are many applications which bluestone is being used for these days, including patio stone, interior flooring, pool coping, countertops, cladding, veneer and more.
Natural Cleft Pennsylvania Bluestone
Natural cleft pennsylvania bluestone is cut from bluestone quarries in cubes and mostly used for flooring and veneer. These cubes are composed of compressed sedimentary layers of stone which are split apart. Once a piece is split from the cube it can be called a piece of flagstone or bluestone. Such a piece is inspected for flaws and then re cut on a large table saw. There are 12 standard sizes that quarries make and these include: 11.5"x11.5", 11.5"x17.5", 11.5"x23.5", 11.5"x29.5", 11.5x35.5", 17.5"x17.5", 17.5"x23.5", 17.5"x29.5", 17.5"x35.5", 23.5"x23.5", 23.5"x29.5" and 23.5"x35.5. It is important to note that natural cleft is not perfectly square but should be square to the eye. Also each piece varies in thickness. Most suppliers specify +/- 1/4" on thickness variance so "1" could therefore mean 3/4" up to 1 and 1/4". It is important not to assume but to make sure you know the variance to expect from your bluestone supplier prior to having material shipped to the project site. The project manager will need to ensure that the suppliers specified variance will work with the project layout. Natural Cleft comes in all blue ("blue blue") or "full color". It may also be purchased in large broken sheets and this type of bluestone is usually refered to as broken or stand-up. The term "irregular" bluestone or flagstone causes confusion between random size squares and rectangles ("random pattern") and broken stand-up and therefore should not be used.
Thermal Pennsylvania Bluestone
Thermal Pennsylvania Bluestone is used for both interior and exterior flooring, pool coping, countertops, cladding, veneer and caps of all kinds. Thermal Pennsylvania Bluestone is more versatile in terms of what it can be used for because of the process in its creation. First massive chunks of of solid bluestone is drilled and removed from the quarry and transported to the gantry saw. The gantry saw saw the huge Chunk into consistent slabs which can then be cut to desired dimensions. Therefore Thermal is gauged for exact thickness and is ideally perfect though that is dependant on the gantry operators standards. Thermal Bluestone also comes in all blue, full color or variegated. It can be purchased as squares and rectangles or broken stand-up as well. Thermal bluestone gets its name from the finishing process which entails torching the stone with oxygen and propane which crackles a thin layer off of the sawn face of the stone. This enhances the color and textures the finish of the bluestone. Edgework sometimes includes bullnosing, easing and rock facing.
Pennsylvania Bluestone Care
Its a good idea to use either an enhancing or non-enhancing impregnating Sealer after installing Pennsylvania Bluestone. Miracle 511 makes both products and either
is supposed to be food safe as well, for honed bluestone countertops. The enhancing sealer will darken the stone a bit and the non-enhancing variety will not change the appearance of the stone at all. Both sealers will lock out stains.
What to do with stains on bluestone that was never sealed
Bluestone is porous so stains can be difficult to remove. For organic stains a 20/80 bleach water mixture can be sprayed on the affected area. Next scrub with a brush and rinse. Repeat if necessary. Grease and oil stains are impossible to get out of this porous stone. This is why sealer is recommended to seal the stone before a problem arises. Enhancing sealer may camouflage such a stain but it will never completely remove its appearance.
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