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Author: Stonehunter

Everyone Loves Bluestone

But not all are created equal!

Gothicstone SEAHAZE SEAtm is a Bluestone quarried in the Atlas Mountains of northern Morocco. Several other countries quarry Bluestone, like Belgium, Germany, France, Vietnam, China, and the USA. By comparison, the notable difference between PA/NY Bluestone and SEAHAZE SEAtm is that SEAHAZE SEAtm Bluestone is characterized as a limestone whereas the PA/NY Bluestone is characterized as a sandstone. And, typically, limestones stay cooler than sandstones.

8 Reasons to choose Gothicstone SEAHAZE SEAtm Limestone for your bluestone pavers.

The Technical Differences

  1. Limestones typically stay cooler than sandstones. Therefore, an additional benefit to using SEAHAZE SEAtm Bluestone over the PA/NY option for copings, pool decks, or any outdoor hardscape areas.
  2. PA and NY Bluestones are quarried from sandstone deposits. And commonly suffer from chipping, delamination, and flaking due to the way the deposit is formed in striated sedimentary layers.  The striations (layers) do not commonly occur in limestone deposits.  For this reason, the SEAHAZE SEAtm limestone is easier to work with and will retain its natural beauty without the delamination issues that can be quite common with the PA and NY Bluestones.
  3. Due to many of the advantageous technical characteristics of limestone plus a more exacting manufacturing process, SEAHAZE SEAtm Limestone is often less expensive to implement compared to Bluestone originating from PA and NY.
  4. These Limestone pavers are greater than 5,000 PSI compressive strength. They can be used in most industrial applications.

The Aesthetic Differences

  1. We produce extra-large format pavers which are available according to your specifications. Example sizes are 18×36, 30×30, 24×48, 48×48, and varying thicknesses according to your project needs (2cm/3cm/4cm/5cm/6cm/7cm, etc.). We work with you to determine the best thickness and surface finishes for the best technical and aesthetic balance in your hardscape design.
  2. These limestone pavers cut beautifully and are processed with more precision and accuracy than the typical PA and NY Bluestone processing plants can produce. The resulting aesthetic is the ability to “butt install” the pavers or tile without extra-large grout joints.
  3. All SEAHAZE SEAtm products are available for your patio, pool deck, driveway, interior stone flooring, and general building projects are pavers, slabs for countertops and wall caps, step treads, block treads, coping, cladding, tile and driveway pavers or cobblestones.
  4. Finishes varieties: Suregrip Moleskintm – a mechanically sandblasted surface; Etruscan Finishtm – bush hammered with a mechanically sandblasted secondary finish applied; Tumbled; Honed; Bush Hammer – mimics the ancient art of point chiseling/texturing the surface of the stone.   A great combination of textural visual aesthetic and tactile interest without being too aggressive, and yet it significantly raises the coefficient of friction (for those who have that concern); Micro Bush Hammer – a finer more delicate version of the above. 


Contact us for your free project value engineering consult.

Blogs that may be of interest:


SEAHAZE SEA Limestone 30x30x3cm Project Inspection
SEAHAZE SEA Limestone 30″x30″x3cm Pavers


Gothicstone produces custom stone solutions – the piece parts of the whole project are produced together for a turnkey solution. No more trying to figure out what pool coping, treads, or wall caps will go with your pavers. Consequently, with our distinctive selections of materials, colors, surface finishes, and sizes, we can easily personalize your client’s outdoor living spaces.

We collaborate with our clients from cradle to grave

We collaborate closely with our clients from cradle to grave. In other words, we work with our clients every step of the way to ensure their success and the success of their projects. Therefore, in all projects, we make sure that we understand where the material will be used and how installed so we can make recommendations for size, thickness, and surface finish.

Free value-added consulting services

Many clients have designs or complexities in their projects that require an expert source for the best ways to engineer a solution. Gothicstone provides free value-added consulting services.  For instance, we assist in planning, designing, selecting, value-engineering, and installing techniques for natural stone.

Custom stone solutions example

A Tennessee client wanted a particular grey color stone for their lower pool deck, outside entertainment areas, and house-level patios. We consulted with the general contractor, pool builder, and architect to determine the size of the large format stone to produce. Consequently, through reviews of drawings and discussions regarding installation methods, we recommended 30″x30″ pavers. Subsequently, this size paver minimizes the number of cuts and wastes across the 6500-square-foot project.

It was cost-effective for the client for us to produce 3/4″ stone for the upper patio areas (wet-set installation). Similarly, we produced 1 1/4″ paver thickness for the lower pool and entertainment decks that were going to be dry set. With the size of the pavers being 30″x30″, the thinner pavers were going to be a lot easier to install! A bush hammer surface finish was added to the 30″x60″ steppingstones for an optimum non-slip finish. Grate drainage pavers, for water overflow, were added to match the pool deck pavers. The copings are 40″ in length and the outdoor shower slabs were cut to exact custom sizes for easy installation.

Contact us to start the conversation about your next project and how Gothicstone can help you achieve your goals!

Silver Travertine Color Selections

Silver Travertine color selections are typically a mixture of light and dark silver-grey with beige and white colors. Gothicstone is promoting two Silver Travertine selections for better project specificity. Silver Travertine Toadflax selection is the mix of the quarry, as mentioned above and the Silver Travertine Gunmetal selection which is all silver and grey with little if any beige or white. Both selections have lots of movement in the stone – it is primarily the coloration that is the difference.

Silver Travertine color selections make a difference for your project!

Specializing in custom project productions, we think it is critically important to have the best selection of materials, surface finishes, and custom sizes of pavers, treads, copings, wall caps, countertops, and cladding so we can produce exactly what you need for your client’s project.

See our complete product portfolio of materials, colors, surface finishes, and applications.

Radius Coping, Treads, and Wall Caps are not custom for us!

Just send us the drawings! The dimensions range from 6×12 to 24 x 72 (or higher) but we produce according to the project requirements so, about any size is possible and standard in our productions.

Smart Solutions

We specialize in ‘smart solutions’ designing safety (in particular, surface finishes with a high coefficient of friction) into the implementation and end-use of our products. New surface finishes such as Micro Bush Hammer, SUREGRIP MOLESKINtm, Hand-Chiseled, and, Etruscan Texturetm add soft and subtle interest without changing the material itself.

Cleaning & Sealing Natural Stone – Limestone, Travertine, Marble

Cleaning and sealing a natural stone (limestone, travertine, or marble) pool deck or patio is less maintenance than its wood counterpart.  Stone sealer and cleaner products are very high-tech and require minimal maintenance to keep your natural stone looking like new over the years.

Cleaning natural stone on a regular basis:

  • Use any non-caustic degreasing agent (mild dish or hand soap) mixed in warm water. Agitate/scrub with a broom.
  • Use Stain Proof Alkaline Cleaner, formerly Oxy-Klenza™,
  • Power washing with residential strength power washers (ie: 3000 PSI or less) is recommended. 

    Minor restoration cleaning (mild surface etch):

    This treatment will renew the original look of the stone surface and make the color ‘pop’ and is only recommended occasionally (maybe once every several years). Not in lieu of regular cleaning.

    • Dilute muriatic acid 10 parts water to 1 part store-bought muriatic acid.
    • Hose down the entire stone surface.
    • Pour diluted mix and move it around with a broom or rag mop – consider doing it in 10-15 square foot overlapping sections.  Don’t let it sit in one place without moving and agitating it.  The acid will neutralize after 10-15 seconds. Be sure to follow all safety procedures (eye protection, rubber gloves, etc.) as with any caustic material. However, this weak solution of diluted muriatic acid will not attack the skin under normal circumstances.  Additionally, after 10-15 seconds of contact with the stone the acid will be neutralized (100%, more or less) and not harmful to plants, shrubbery, pets, etc.  
    • Finish by rinsing the surface with clean water.

    Sealing natural stone when dry-set installation:

    For a dry-set installation, it is not necessary to seal the stone.  However, sealing the stone with a high-quality penetrating sealer does provide some attractive benefits.

    • If you choose to seal the stone (to prevent staining that can naturally occur with any masonry product) we recommend ICP brand products; ‘Stain Proof’ sealer and cleaner products.  Please be sure to follow all recommendations stipulated on this page for optimal results:  
    • Another benefit is the additional ‘locking in’ effect that the sealer has on prolonging the natural coloration of the stone. Over many years, can fade slightly due to acid rain and other environmental factors. 
    • NOTE: Do not use concrete paver sealers – they are formulated as topical sealers. They can be very slippery and appear as an undesirable shiny coating on the surface.  Furthermore, the topical coating traps moisture. It doesn’t allow the stone to “breathe” (which is important for all natural stone products). 
    • NOTE 2: If you choose to purchase sealers from a “big box” retailer, be aware that (even within the same brand name) you will get a lesser quality product. The “big box” retailers force the manufacturers to make less expensive (lower quality) versions for them under the same brand labels. 

    Sealing natural stone when wet-set installation:

    • It is best to seal the stone BEFORE grouting as the sealer also acts as a “grout release” and will make the grouting process faster and easier.
    • Please be sure to follow all recommendations stipulated by the sealer manufacturer. If using Stain Proof, please follow the recommendations on this page for optimal results:  
    • NOTE: it is important that you do not use concrete paver sealers! They are formulated as topical sealers. It can be very slippery and appear as an undesirable shiny coating on the surface.  Furthermore, the topical coating traps moisture. It doesn’t allow the stone to “breathe” (which is important for all natural stone products). 
    • NOTE 2: If you choose to purchase sealers from a “big box” retailer, please be aware that (even within the same brand name) you will get a lesser quality product, as the “big box” retailers force the manufacturers to make less expensive (lower quality) versions for them under the same brand labels. 

    See our detailed video on this page, STONE SEALER PRODUCTS BENEFIT FOR MANY YEARS

    We do not receive financial compensation, nor do we bear any responsibility for the use (misuse) of these recommended brand products.

    Direct inquiries to:

    SALE: Grey Limestone Pavers Coping Treads


    SEAHAZE SEAtm Limestone Pavers – Coping – Treads

    • SEAHAZE SEAtm Limestone 18x36x2cm, $5.29 /SF
    • SEAHAZE SEAtm Limestone 24x24x3cm, $5.89/SF
    • SEAHAZE SEAtm Limestone Treads-Coping, 12”x48x5cm, $13/SF
    • SEAHAZE SEAtm Limestone Treads-Coping, 16”x48x5cm, $14.00/SF

    Pick up at Bridgeport, PA warehouse or we can arrange delivery. Limited availability while supplies last.

    Also, Special pricing on ALL project orders placed before November 30, 2022. Delivery 8-10 weeks.

    Outdoor Pavers

    With a history in building and value engineering, we can facilitate the requirement for large quantities of outdoor pavers in home remodeling and commercial projects. A supplier for hundreds of projects over the past 25 years, we can offer expertise in the selection and application of natural stone tiles and pavers.

    A Source for Outdoor Pavers, Countertops, and Tiles

    Our staff is available to discuss any size custom project. Engineers will be able to answer questions about order amounts, value engineer considerations, and suggested installation considerations. We recommend grout, sealant, and preparation of surfaces, as well.

    Choose limestone, marble, or travertine outdoor pavers to complement other building materials, home decor, and even the surrounding environment. Discuss your other construction applications such as driveways, outdoor kitchens, and/or retaining walls with us for optimum design and value engineering.

    Natural Stone is a top choice

    Natural stone outdoor pavers are becoming a top choice in pool deck flooring for their quality look and easy care. Limestone, marble, or travertine pavers give any pool area an upscale appearance that will last for decades. Consider matching pool coping, wall caps, and stair treads for further visual continuity. About 12 different surface finishes are available in our product portfolio to enhance the textural or aesthetics of the project.

    Likewise, kitchen remodels are a primary design consideration for both indoor and outdoor cooking and entertainment. Each area can incorporate floor tile or pavers, countertops, and a fireplace facing the same material. Limestone and travertine are tested for up to zero degrees Fahrenheit. No chipping or cracking when used outdoors.

    Gothicstone produces natural stone to your specification for optimum design and value engineering. We offer more than 300 choices of building products to satisfy important components of your project. 

    Check out some of our projects for ideas.  

    Some of our most popular materials and colors.

    Concrete Pavers vs Natural Stone Travertine Pavers……You Decide!

    10 Reasons why select Natural Stone Travertine, Limestone, or Marble Pavers vs Concrete Pavers.  

    #1 REAL natural stone travertine pavers are less expensive than faux-stone concrete look-alikes….and have a much better look and enduring life span.
    #2 ASTM* Tested – twice the strength of concrete.
    #3 Stays Cool Underfoot unlike man-made products or slate.
    #4 Great for all exterior (pools, patios, driveways) and interior spaces (kitchens, bathrooms, countertops, basements).   Copings, treads, and wall caps are all readily available in various thicknesses.
    #5 ASTM* Tested – high co-efficient of friction for a non-slip surface.
    #6 No Maintenance – no need to seal or coat (especially, if dry-set pavers).
    #7 ASTM Tested for freeze/thaw compatibility in northern climates.
    #8 Retains its natural beauty forever! (They are over 50 million years old).
    #9 Does not scuff or degrade like patterned concrete or stamped asphalt surfaces (asphalt and concrete get extremely hot).
    #10 Fashion-forward look with timeless beauty.

    LIMESTONE Pavers

    Limestone is the youngest of all these natural stones, a sedimentary stone usually found in ocean beds. Typically, limestone is homogeneous in color and most of the buildings around the world (ie: The Parthenon, Empire State Building, Lincoln Memorial, Pyramids, The Great Sphinx) have been built with sedimentary limestone. It is the most common building material in the world. It is a great choice for a more contemporary or modern design. It has 5000+ compressive strength and is great for all applications, including driveways.


    Travertine is a type of “morphed” limestone, but it is created from Artesian wells which means lime has been deposited by water, which is why Travertine has such a varied movement in the stone. It is about 50 million years old. Travertine makes an excellent natural stone material choice for any indoor or outdoor area because it never gets hot (no metal content in the stone), it is twice the strength of concrete, and is non-slippery. Travertine (and limestone) are durable for any application both commercially and residential.

    MARBLE Pavers

    Marble, on the other hand, is about 100 million years old and is perfect for the same applications as travertine and limestone. Since marble is an older natural stone material, it typically will be “veinier” and less “wild” than the travertines. Like all stones, marble is used for interior flooring, wall veneer, pool decks, patios, driveways, and wall cladding in both commercial and residential applications.

    Check out our colors, surface finishes, and applications

    Driveway Stone Pavers Make an Impression and Add Value

    Driveway stone pavers add incremental lifetime value to residential and commercial properties–before you even enter the building. First, using driveway stone pavers improves the sale price of the property. Second, owners or property tenants can enjoy this upgrade for years. The obvious value of its “curb appeal” is priceless at the first impression, initial sale, and any sale thereafter. That curb appeal sets the expectation for a special property as prospective buyers arrive to tour the property. Residents and commercial owners appreciate a natural stone driveway feature every single day, whenever they use the drive or look out their windows. And, remarkably, driveway stone pavers prove to pay for themselves when it comes time to re-sell the property.

    The days of limiting driveway systems to “blacktop” (macadam) or concrete are in the rearview mirror!  Driveway stone pavers complement many architectural styles. But, even more, driveway stone pavers provide the necessary compressive and flexural strength. With natural stone, the driveway systems can be uniquely attractive as well as functional. You no longer need to choose form over function (or vice versa) when you can have both!

    Right now, we’re seeing a shift to natural stone for both residential and commercial driveway systems. It’s time to replace the dated and oft-stained concrete surface. Natural stone comes in all formats—traditional, small 4” x 4” and 6” x 6” cubes to larger sizes. The pavers continue gaining traction with architects and builders focused on their aesthetic and structural benefits. These driveway stone pavers provide a desirable and broad alternative to standard and dated concrete pavers.  

    Let’s explore the technical factors architects and builders should consider when selecting natural stone for driveway applications.

    Driveway Stone Pavers Deliver Strength, Durability, and Visual Impact

    Several stressors negatively impact all driveway systems. The combination of these three major durability stressors influences the lifespan of the driveway installations:

    • The vehicle ‘load stress’ on a driveway system (flexural strength)
    • Environmental factors such as freezing and thawing
    • Driveway installation methodologies and technologies

    Now, with driveway stone pavers, architects and builders can work around these concerns. Start by selecting the appropriate stone with these stressor considerations in mind. Then choose the aesthetic for your natural stone application. 

    Road builders have selected porphyry and granite cubes as the typical natural stone materials used to endure vehicle traffic for thousands of years. The common cube size of 4”x4”x4” provides the necessary strength and the flexibility to create many designs and patterns. Larger formats produce even different visuals. But the size of the stone dictates the installation methodology. See our blog, DRIVEWAY INSTALLATION: BEST PRODUCTS (AND TECHNOLOGIES) FOR LIFETIME VALUE

    Start with Flexural Strength

    The compressive strength of most stones more than satisfies this application, so flexural strength becomes the core consideration.  The thickness of the stone increases the flexural strength, while compressive strength remains static. 

    If the stone surface exceeds 6 inches in any one direction, then a strong (high ‘flexural strength’) material is optimal, particularly when considering a ‘dry set’ application. Avoid stones prone to having natural fissures or clefting, in some instances. For example, most types of marble and travertine are extremely durable and very appropriate for this type of application. Yet, seismic activity negatively impacted some individual quarries thousands or even millions of years ago, resulting in fissures in the stone. This may cause premature failure later. Be sure to purchase your stone from a reputable supplier with a history of working directly with the source quarries.

    Regarding ‘compressive strength’ (an important consideration for both ‘dry set’ and ‘wet set’ applications), most stones on the market are at a minimum of 2,500–3,000 psi ‘compressive strength’, so it’s typically not much of a concern. Check with the distributor of the stone to be sure you choose an appropriate material for your specific application and environmental conditions.

    Work with the Environment

    When selecting driveway stone, it’s important to consider these environmental factors. 

    1. Local temperatures & seasonality – extreme cold and/or heat plus heavy rains and flooding should influence your choices. For example, some stones are not considered frost-proof, such as coral stone and other exceptionally soft stones.
    2. The propensity for staining (foliage, oil deposits, and tire track staining) – some stones may be too porous or light in color for driveways.  However, with the proper impregnating sealer, this problem can be mitigated.
    3. Co-efficient of friction – Always select a non-slip finish for the surface treatment/surface finish. We recommend bush hammer/chisel face surface finish as best overall for driveways.  See all our surface finishes and select the best option for your application.   

    Identify the Driveway Installation Methodologies & Technologies

    Environmental considerations such as code limitations regarding pervious/impervious surfaces (crucial consideration), slope/drainage and soil type, and flexural strength/size of stone dictate driveway stone installation methods. 

    Typically, you have two basic choices for natural stone driveway installations, either ‘dry set’ or wet set.  Gothicstone recommends that a Cellular Confinement System (CCS) be utilized in the installation of the subbase for optimum longevity and lifetime value.  When considering methods of installation, there are aesthetic differences between ‘wet set’ and ‘dry set’; most notably, the need for expansion joints when installing on a concrete slab.  Expansion joints can detract from the natural beauty of the driveway stone. 

    The critical distinction between the two common methods:

    • ‘Wet set’ dictates the pavers being cemented to a concrete base.
    • ‘Dry set’ allows the pavers to ‘float’ on top of a compacted aggregate base.

    Dry-Set Installation

    Dry-set avoids the failure/cracking attributed to freeze-thaw heaving in cold climates, and expansion and contraction in hot or cold climates and combinations thereof.  An environmentally sustainable alternative, this installation allows water to pass through it or “percolate.” This has become a hot-button issue for most municipalities and zoning regulators regarding water runoff. 

    While we recommend CCS systems for all patios, driveways, pool decks, or any installation that utilizes gravel in the subbase, driveway projects particularly benefit from CCS because of the uneven distribution of vehicle tire track load.  

    For more information on dry-set installation, see our blog, DRIVEWAY INSTALLATION: BEST PRODUCTS (AND TECHNOLOGIES) FOR LIFETIME VALUE.

    Wet-Set Installation

    Wet-set installation is an option, but not the best option in climates with heavy freeze-thaw cycling. Often, failure, in the form of cracking, can occur in the concrete base. Invariable these cracks transfer through to the surface material causing an unsightly appearance resulting in costly repairs. Conversely, cracks in the slab can be mitigated by the implementation of appropriate separation membranes such as Schluter®-DITRA & DITRA-XL.   So, if you’re in a freeze-dry environment, skip the ‘wet set’ method, and look at the ‘dry set’ (floating paver system).

    To learn more about these driveway system installation methods and advantages, see our blog, DRIVEWAY INSTALLATION: BEST PRODUCTS (AND TECHNOLOGIES) FOR LIFETIME VALUE.

    Other resources that may be helpful in your planning: 

    Driveway Installation Best Products (and Technologies) for Lifetime Value

    Natural stone paver driveways are a thing of beauty, a real estate highlight, and a feat of engineering. They increase property values, up the curb appeal, and boost resale prices. So, what’s the best way to protect that investment and maintain its physical appeal? Let’s start at the basics, which means ensuring the natural stone driveway installation is done correctly.

    There are two options for natural stone paver driveway installation.

    1. ‘Dry set’
    2. ‘Wet set’

    And, at Gothicstone, we suggest all ‘dry set’ and ‘wet set’ installations include a cellular confinement system (CCS) underneath for maximum longevity and lifetime value.

    Insider notes: ‘wet set’ driveway installation with natural stone pavers

    An issue with ‘wet set’ (poured concrete slab substrate) particularly in climates that have a lot of freeze-thaw cycling, is that concrete slabs are used as the sub-base/substrate and often will crack. It’s often not a question of “if” the underlying concrete slab will crack, it’s “when” it will crack. And a cracked concrete slab will commonly transfer the crack(s) to the adhered surface stone or any material on top, such as concrete pavers, for that matter. The reality is very few contractors are willing to put the effort into making a slab that won’t crack because it takes extra work and expense. Utilizing rebar, a geo cellular confinement system, and a ‘separation membrane’ (such as Schluter®-DITRA & DITRA-XL) will mitigate the possibility of failure, as described below.

    Geo Cellular Confinement System (CCS) to the rescue: Why implement in a ‘wet set’ driveway application?

    Some people think the cellular confinement system isn’t needed under a large concrete slab. But we disagree. The fact is the minimal extra expense will all but guarantee that you will never have slab cracking. Water is going to get underneath the concrete slab and during freezing, it will expand. The cellular confinement system holds everything in place minimizing movement resulting from freezing and thawing environments.

    Steps to installing a ‘wet set’ long-lasting driveway with a cellular confinement system:

    To recap, if you want your installation to last a long time, follow these 9 steps:   

    1. Excavation with appropriate drainage considerations to mitigate water pooling underneath.
    2. Installation of geotextile to prevent gravel from sinking into the soil below it.
    3. Installation of the cellular confinement system following manufacturer’s best practices. 
    4. Fill the confinement system utilizing only clean (washed and graded) gravel. We strongly advise against using ‘modified/unwashed’ gravel mix.
    5. Installation of a top layer of geotextile on top of the gravel.
    6. Installation of rebar grid on the top of the gravel (preferably epoxy coated or ‘high-tech steel alternative’ composite rebar to avoid the risk of rust-causing future failure).
    7. Pour a fiber-reinforced concrete slab. It is imperative to follow the local code regarding the implementation of expansion joints.
    8. To ensure longevity, an extra step we recommend is to install a separation membrane such as Schluter®-DITRA & DITRA-XL on top of the concrete slab to mitigate cracks transferring through to the surface stone.
    9. Professionally install the appropriate natural stone including grout lines (and expansion joints where necessary) to enable expansion and contraction. This is imperative in extreme weather conditions. In a perfect world, ½” thin natural stone can be used when all the above steps are adhered to with precision. Otherwise, we would recommend the 1 ¼” standard thickness for exterior applications.   

    In conclusion, there are redundancies in the above best practices instructions. There is almost zero chance of failure if all these steps are completed, and the resulting driveway should last a lifetime. 

    Insider notes: ‘dry set’ driveway installation with natural stone pavers 

    ‘Dry set’ installation is the ideal method for driveway stone pavers. It avoids excessive movement of the stone due to heaving in colder climates. Also, stress from an expansion of the stone in hot climates. These unwanted issues are inherent in poured concrete slab systems. ‘Dry set’ installation is an environmentally sustainable alternative that allows water to pass through it rather than create problematic water runoff.

    For the safest approach, it’s best to select natural stone pavers of smaller sizes. When working with smaller pieces, such as 4”x4”, 4”x6”, or even 6”x6” cobblestones, use a ‘dry set’ application.  But if your customer wants something different than the classic cobblestone 4”x4” granite, limestone, or porphyry block, the key is to consider the flexural stress on the stone. If the stone surface is longer than 6 inches in any one direction, then a strong (high ‘flexural strength’) material is optimal, particularly when considering a ‘dry set’ application. Avoid natural stones prone to having natural fissures or clefting. 

    Large format natural stone pavers in a driveway installation

    Large format pavers can be successfully installed if the installation is done properly. You can install 12”x12”x1¼”, 16”x16”x1¼”, 8”x16”x1¼” or larger if it is installed correctly. But that’s a BIG “if”. Many contractors/masons rely too heavily on laborers to do the installations, emphasizing speed over quality. This isn’t a good idea. A small void or a “pea under the mattress” can cause failure.

    Geo Cellular Confinement System (CCS) to the rescue

    To mitigate shifting and cracking, install a cellular confinement system. Gothicstone recommends a cellular confinement system (CCS) under any base.  With driveways, it’s almost imperative due to tire track “rutting” to use a CCS.  For example, if you have a sand or dirt driveway, ruts inevitably occur over time.  But it also happens with blacktop driveways or any driveway where you have constant stress and load on two narrow tire tracks. The vehicle load will compress the ‘track’ area, whereas a CCS can keep the substrate from spreading out. This method prevents stress on the tracks from making ruts in your installation, and thus pieces from failing. Because when the ruts happen, there’s uneven compression on the pieces.  It’s the unevenness of the load where problems like this occur.   

    Small 4”x4”x4” cubes/pavers typically won’t break, which is why people typically use this size of material, but they will be susceptible to rutting and shifting.  Often people want to use a larger format driveway stone. If so, a ‘dry set’ and a cellular confinement system are the approaches to use.

    Ruts and cracks can be avoided

    The larger pieces will help in that they won’t rut as readily, however, they may crack.  Whereas small driveway stone pieces will allow the material to “sink down” into the ruts without breaking. But they’ll allow the ruts to occur more easily.  Plus, more water is washing in between the joint areas because you have more joint areas. 

    If you have a 4”x4” compared to a 16”x16”, you’re going to have about 1000% more joint area with a 4”x4” installation.  That’s an incredibly exponential amount of joint area because in a 16”x16” area, you will have 16 pieces of 4”x4” material (4 in one direction and 4 in the other direction) and then all those joint lines in between where the water will be entering and then allowing for either washout or heaving underneath it. 

    So, the smaller driveway stone pavers do allow for more movement to happen but, eventually, they may cause ruts unless you use a cellular confinement system to keep everything underneath in place.

    Keep in mind that vehicular weight will be on the pathway of the vehicle tires; that is where the bulk of the load or stress will go. 

    Steps to installing a ‘dry set’ long-lasting driveway with a cellular confinement system:

    To recap, if you want your installation to last a long time, follow these 8 steps:   

    1. Excavation with appropriate drainage considerations to mitigate water pooling underneath.
    2. Installation of geotextile to prevent gravel from sinking into the soil below it.
    3. Installation of the cellular confinement system following manufacturer’s best practices. 
    4. Fill the confinement system utilizing only clean (washed and graded) gravel. We strongly advise against using ‘modified/unwashed’ gravel mix.
      1. Follow local code requirements regarding the height/quantity of crushed stone/gravel required in your geographic area. 
      1. It’s considered best practice to compact every two inches of height when applying the gravel. 
    5. Installation of a top layer of geotextile on top of the gravel.
    6. Installation and compaction of screenings/’fines’ (concrete dust, sand, or small/fine gravel)
    7. Professionally install and compact the appropriate natural stone pavers.  Where small grout lines are open between the pavers, sand or polymeric sand can be swept between the joints. 
    8. To retain the beauty of the stone, you should use an impregnating stone sealer using a color enhancing impregnating stone sealer, so it keeps the stone looking new.  If you want the stone to age naturally, you don’t have to use any stone sealer at all. In any case, sealing in a ‘dry set’ application is not necessary.  Never use a ‘topical’ stone sealer (non-impregnating).

    5 design approaches using natural stone pavers:

    • Creating a “deco” look. Use smaller pieces that can manage the load in the heavy traffic areas and install the larger stone along the sides.  
    • Placing smaller format material at apron entrances of driveways. The entrance apron, where vehicles turn in off the main road, typically takes an enormous impact as they swing into the driveway. In most of the United States, when you approach a driveway, there will be a bit of a bump or a swale causing impact. So, on the apron entrance, from the road to the driveway, consider using a smaller format stone. The smaller format driveway stone mitigates the impact of flexural stress, while at the same time smoothing the sloping transition to the street. 
    • Mixing and matching alternating sizes to provide attractive applications. Smaller driveway stone pieces on the apron can be cut from the same blocks of stone as the rest of the project applications. Whether it’s a long driveway, walkway, or pathway leading up to a patio or pool, for example, the entire project stone can match no matter the size or thickness of the material.
    • Picking the appropriate material if you select larger format driveway stone pieces. Gothicstone™ SEAHAZEtm limestone is extremely strong, has high compressive strength, and high flexural strength.
    • Choosing 4”x4”x4” cubes is not necessary.  It’s not necessary to go that thick, however, with carbon footprint, shipping costs, and other green initiatives being an increasingly important consideration, a 4”-thick paver is going to double the shipping cost of a 2”- thick paver. From both a cost-effective value engineering perspective and a carbon footprint perspective, a 2”-thick piece gives you a better value and is good for the earth! 

    Have questions on cellular confinement systems and selecting/specifying natural stone for driveway systems? Contact us.

    Other resources that may be helpful in planning your driveway installation: 

    1. Considerations for specifying natural stone in residential/commercial vehicle applications.
    2. Why We Recommend Stabilization Grids No Matter the Scale of Your Paver Project.
    3. Battling Mother Nature
    4. Cell-Tek Geo Cellular Confinement System 
    5. Rutgard Geo Cellular Confinement System

    Designing with Natural Stone


    In today’s landscape and interior design concepts, natural stone can be used to create an antique, traditional or old-world look. It’s, also, an excellent choice for contemporary/modern or a mid-century look. Think patios, swimming pool decks, terraces, pool houses, and any interior living spaces. Explore natural stone design ideas for tile, pavers, veneer & cladding, and living spaces for your projects.  Unlike concrete or porcelain, design flexibility is effortless because every stone piece part can be fabricated easily. 

    Extra-Large Formats, Fresh Colors, Exciting New Finishes

    Design for any space with extra-large pavers and tile sizes from 24″x24″, 18”x36” and up to 48″x48″ plus custom sizes in rectangles and squares. For a seamless, large format design, tile or pavers can be “butt installed”. We produce step treads, countertops, wall caps, and wall systems plus driveway cobblestones and driveway paver systems to complement the project.

    With different (and new) texture finishes, you can create diverse looks from an old-world to modern/contemporary look. Our collections include honed, brushed, Suregrip Moleskin, Etruscan, bush hammer, and micro bush hammer. Other exciting finishes—saw cut, split face finishes and even a hand-chiseled, antiqued finish for that “old-world motif” impact—are available.

    SEAHAZE SAND 6″x6″ tile hand-chiseled, antiqued finish for an old-world motif

    SEAHAZE SEA 24″x48″ honed tile provides a modern/contemporary look. It’s a great choice for extremely durable flooring in residential and commercial applications.

    SEAHAZE SEA 24″x48″ honed tile provides a modern/contemporary look (butt installed) and is extremely durable flooring.

    Gothicstone produces in various thicknesses and sizes for interior or exterior considerations such as tile, pavers, coping, treads, wall cladding/veneer, driveway/car park systems, and pedestrian walkways. Architectural accent pieces can be custom-fabricated such as fountains, park benches, and outdoor kitchens/bars.

    Add Texture vs. Changing Stone Color

    We’re seeing textures shift from rustic tumbled, rounded edges to clean lines, square edges on tiles, pavers, and coping. Tone-on-tone texturing can beautifully enhance the aesthetic of your flooring design. Adding an intriguing trim or pattern through the addition of various surface finishes can achieve the added interest desired. New finishes, such as micro bush hammer, Suregrip Moleskin, and Etruscan Texture, add subtle interest without changing the material.


    Though we often think of concrete driveway systems, paved natural stone driveways have been around just as long and longer! Natural stone driveway pavers provide the necessary flexural strength and an artistic element. Driveway pavers can be a unique and functional feature enhancing the overall property, rather than presenting simply as a flat beige or black surface, best ignored.

    These days, a shift to large-format natural stone pavers for both residential and commercial driveway systems is gaining popularity and replacing that concrete surface. Natural stone driveway pavers in all formats–large and traditional (small 4”x4”, 6”x6” cubes)–with their aesthetic and structural benefits make them a strong alternative to concrete pavers. Interested in learning more? Considerations for Specifying Natural Stone in Driveway Paving Applications.

    seahaze-mix limestone large pavers driveway

    Design with Natural Stone Veneer and Cladding

    Natural stone veneer and cladding provide an excellent architectural tool for interior as well as exterior walls. Natural stone has always been a much-loved building material because of its strength, durability, great look and minimal maintenance cost. However, constructing a stone building is certainly not cost-effective. This is where the value of natural stone cladding or veneer comes in. It provides the functionality, advantages and look of stone, and at the same time is cost-effective and easy to install.

    Before you go for that faux stone panel, remember that they are likely to fade and get chipped over time whereas veneer in natural stone will look great for generations to come! With a textural change in the stone for veneer and/or cladding, such as split face, hand-chisel, or bush hammer, you can add the distinction of an accent look without changing the color of the stone used in the project. When building a wall out of solid block stone, the face finish options are hand chisel and split face. Veneers and cladding product sizes range from 6” x free length and up to 20” x 40” (with bush hammer on back for stickier installation).

    Cream travertine mini split face building facade veneer
    Cream Travertine mini split face veneer – cladding
    Seahaze Sand Limestone small chipped wall veneer
    Seahaze Sand Limestone small chipped wall veneer
    Seahaze sea limestone jumbo wall cladding
    SEAHAZE SEA Limestone jumbo wall cladding

    Browse Designing with Natural Stone book for more photos.

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