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July 31, 2002

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Steps / Stairs 

Q 2300: I live in northern NJ and need to replace my 30 year old brick and cement steps. I have received suggestions from Masons in the area but they say different things - I'm confused.
They either suggest using Limestone or Bluestone as the step-top for each step. Is one better than the other? Also, Belgium block was suggested as a border along a new interlocking paver  (over sand) walkway. Any thoughts about durability and maintenance? Thanks! David, July 25,
R1: Dear David: I personally like limestone or sandstone better for your step tops. Bluestone is a good choice, too, but it eventually will show wear and tear patterns, while limestone and sandstone won't. Belgium blocks (they should be more properly called "Indian blocks", since they all came from India, now!) are for ever and require no maintenance. They are made out of granite. Maurizio, USA

A 1036: Hello.  I am thinking of having a new set of front stairs built at my house with a small attached outdoor sitting area. Which stone would be the strongest against wear and tear.... Limestone or slate. Also what is the typical cost of each? Scott, USA, July 17.
R1: What sort of look are you after? The effect of limestone and slate can be quite different so it depends what you want to achieve.  Slate is generally harder wearing, stronger and more stain resistant.  Limestone can vary greatly and can require more maintenance.  If you plan on having a smooth polished or honed finish, limestone is your only option nut it will require sealing regularly.  Slate also benefits from sealing but is much more forgiving when neglected. Regards, Jim, Australia, Contact