Hammerhead Stoneworks specializes in designing and building flagstone paths and patios. Whether you are adding an outdoor room or redesigning your front entrance, we provide expert design along with durable and beautiful stone construction. In most cases, we lay our flagstone in a bed of crushed stone. By avoiding concrete slabs, mortar and grout, we create a patio that drains well, has a lower overall carbon footprint, and lasts longer. Dry stonework is flexible; it can move on a microscopic scale. Most stone patios absorb a lot of sunlight during the day. Stones of different colors and densities heat up and cool down at different rates. This means each expands and contracts at its own pace. In a drystone patio, this dynamic works perfectly and has no ill effects. If the stone patio is mortared and grouted, this differential expansion creates micro-fractures- tiny cracks that form between the stones and allow water to penetrate. Once water has found its way into a solid structure like a monolithic patio, cracking, efflorescence and other problems are inevitable.
Occasionally homeowners worry that a drystone patio will move around under their feet or track sand into their house. In my ten years of working this way, neither of these concerns has proven to be a real problem. Careful placement of the stones and providing good support underneath them ensures that the stones won’t wiggle under your toes. The mixture of crushed stone and screenings I use works its way into the joints and locks the stones together and stays in place. Certain types of plants thrive in the joints between stones, which helps lock the patio stones in place and gives the stonework a lovely, natural look.