How Can Homeowners Know What Paver is Best for Them?


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There are a myriad of paver styles and materials available to most homeowners that are planning a project in their backyard. With so much choice available, it is a good idea to start your planning by narrowing your options by the size of your budget, the length of time you expect the material to last, and the actual type of material that will work best in your yard.

Budget can come first:

Cost isn’t always a consideration. On the other hand, if you plan to put a sizable patio in, it can make a difference in paver choice. If you would like something elegant and are not limited financially this project, you might therefore consider using a stone paver installation that features pavers cut from real stone. Alongside stone pavers, either marble or tile are equally adept at impressing the neighbors, although with marble and some types of tile, you need to be cautious if you have a pool because they can be very slippery when wet.

If budget comes into play while you are planning, you might look at some of the following options listed by expense- most expensive to least expensive:

  • Brick
  • Concrete Pavers
  • Rubber Flooring

Longevity Means Never Having to Put Another Patio In:

A second consideration for you as your project takes shape is the lifespan of the materials. Most pavers are normally installed over the top of a concrete base with sand underneath them. This typically causes the floor to become stronger over time. Brick will last for quite a while, but can be broken with the right amount of force. Concrete pavers are normally rated for an amazing amount of pressure before they break, making them a solid choice for decades of use. Tile is also very strong, but can crack if you have ground movement in your area. Natural stone will tend to move with shifts in the ground around it and will not break or crack. Large rubber tiles are rated for several years, but may weather or be subject to cracking after a few decades.

The key thing for you, the homeowner to decide in advance is are you designing this project for the rest of your natural life or is there a chance you may change it later? If you might make changes at a future date, then you automatically have more options in terms of materials.

Which materials will work best for you?

If you subtract cost and longevity and just focus on design, you are left with different options in each material that is available. Here are some of the strengths of each type of paver:

Brick: Not only can brick be mortared in to seal your patio or walkway, it can also be set onto sand unmortared, providing a natural look. One of the functional positives of brick is that the surface is sometimes uneven, making it harder to slip when there isn’t a layer of ice on it. Another positive is that in terms of design, bricks can be laid in a variety of patterns that enhance the look of your patio.

Concrete Pavers: One strength of concrete pavers as part of your project is that they come in so many different shapes and styles, you are certain to find something that will match the pattern that you are wanting to use. You can also choose between various colors.

Stone: If your food recipe calls for capers, you don’t normally throw black olives in as a substitute. Similarly, if you are planning an elegant backyard, sometimes stone is the only answer as a design type. Well-designed backyard projects with stone can truly be masterpieces of outdoor style- unique, grand, and natural.

Tile: Well-installed tile will last for a very long time. Like concrete pavers, there are many different styles and colors to choose from. More so than any other material, tile can also convey the sense that you are in an outdoor room.

Are There Different Types of Pavers That Can Be Purchased?

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Paved DrivewayThe use of pavers has continued to increase in recent years as a popular way of making a show-stopping driveway, pathway, or even an aesthetic installation to enhance a garden. Paving stones come in a huge array of colors, shapes, a
nd materials, which allows for endless customization. This is a high quality, affordable way to really give your home or yard that little extra something. Pavers are long-lasting, durable, and when properly installed, require very little maintenance.

The designing and installation of pavers is only one part of the process. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made before the installation can begin. There is a choice of types of material, shape, and color, all of which have to be considered when choosing the right look and design.

 

Types of Paver Materials

Paving stones come in a few different types of materials, which vary in durability, look, and of course, price. What follows are the most common types of materials used for pavers. Each type has it’s advantages and disadvantages and what is chosen should depend on the look trying to be achieved, as well as the budget constraints.

Brick 

Brick pavers are generally made from clay and are a popular choice of material. Brick has timeless look to it, while being versatile and durable. Clay brick is resistant to stains too, making it a good choice for installations that need to last for a long time. Bricks make a good choice of material for walkways, decorative installations, and even as a driveway material.

Concrete

Concrete is one of the more affordable materials and is chosen for the versatility and cost effectiveness of the material. Intricate designs can be achieved with concrete, which can be poured into a mold. Concrete is a good choice of material for high traffic areas or those that will be exposed to weather extremes. Concrete can even be made to look like natural stone, but for much, much less.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is a coveted choice of material for pavers and is, obviously, going to be the most expensive option. Nothing looks quite like natural stone and being, well, natural, it means it tends to be well suited for durability and can withstand a wide variety of climatic conditions. There are a huge number of different types of natural stone that are suitable for pavers, depending on the color and look desired.

Grass

While less commonly used than other materials, grass is sometimes used to create living pavers. These are often called permeable pavers as they are designed to allow for the absorption of excess water. This is a sustainable choice of paving material that helps to keep polluted runoff water out of the water system. When installed, these will resemble a lawn and they are perfectly suited to heavy duty use.

Rubber

Rubber pavers are another environmentally friendly choice of material. These are most often made from recycled tires. It is durable, inexpensive and makes an excellent choice for playgrounds and sporting areas since it is a non-slip material.

The decision to install pavers is a great way to make a beautiful drive, pathway, or aesthetic installation. Available in any number of colors and shapes, pavers give homeowners a great opportunity to really customize their yard to their taste and style. The desired look and budget are generally what decide the type of material chosen for pavers, which range in choices from grass to natural stone. Pavers are a great, long-lasting, durable way to add that intimate walk or garden path that really make that house a home.

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Is There An Easy Way To Clean Pavers?


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The answer to that question is tricky. The true answer is: Well, yes and no. It all depends on what you mean by “cleaning.” If you want to get rid of just some surface dirt, a sweeping or leaf blowing will do the job. If you want to get a deeper level of cleaning, more in-depth techniques have to be used. If old motor oil or rust stains have penetrated deeply into the pavers, still more advanced techniques have to be brought in.

First, you have to access the level of cleaning needed. For light organic dirt, a power washing may suffice. However, bear in mind that unsealed pavers are porous by nature, and liquids penetrate deep into the pores. When the liquid evaporates it leaves behind the solids. Something as simple as rain, over time, will carry grime and dirt deep into the pores. Removing all the grime usually requires specific cleaning agents, with proper application equipment.

For deeper and stubborn stains, power washing alone may not do the job correctly. While a power washer cleans the surface, it will not dissolve out the solids. For example, if a leaky car was parked on the pavers, old motor oil sank deep into the pores. Removing the oil may involve steam cleaning along with specialized surfactants designed just for hard stains.

One aspect to consider is the environmental concerns of the cleaning agents themselves. You may try muriatic (hydrochloric) acid, only to discover you need a gas mask just to stand near the stuff. Furthermore, using acids to clean the pavers may, in fact, eat away the pavers themselves. The end result is a pitted surface, which weakens the pavers by allowing water seepage. In the winter time, the water freezes and expands, eventually cracking the pavers.

So for a hard deep cleaning the answer to the question is “no.” Specialized equipment and cleaning agents are required. More than that, trained skilled technicians who know how to use the equipment are an absolute requirement. You just can’t hire the kid that lives down the block and expect a professional cleaning job. You need trained expertise.

Cleaning, however, is just half the battle. After cleaning, your pavers are super-porous and exposed to the world. They will grime up again in a week if not sealed correctly. A sealer closes up the pores, and does not allow grime to penetrate. Sealers are either solvent based or water based. Again, trained expertise is required to apply a sealer correctly. If applied incorrectly, or if the wrong type of sealer is used, it is all for naught.

Yes, there’s a lot to think about. What first seemed simple turns out to be quite in-depth. Specialized equipment is required, along with the expertise to use it. Confer with professionals in the industry to obtain their input. A good reputable paving company will analyze your pavers, and discuss with you at length what needs to be done.

Does My Retaining Wall Require Maintenance?

Whether you’ve just had a new retaining wall installed on your property, or one was already installed when you purchased the home, you’re probably wondering what types of maintenance the wall requires. It’s not uncommon to see retaining walls that are leaning or rotating, especially in residential neighborhoods where DIY projects are common. Rest assured that when a retaining wall is built correctly, it will last a lifetime.

That being said, maintenance will add years onto the structure and keep it looking beautiful. Fortunately, retaining walls are low maintenance, aside from a basic checkup in the spring. This will allow you to check the integrity of the wall, identify potential problems and clean out weed growth. Let’s take a look at the simple maintenance that will give your retaining wall extra life.

Clean Weeds

Weeds and moss can grow in between the pavers in a stackable retaining wall, so it’s a smart idea to check the wall from time to time to ensure it’s free of weeds. One weed can quickly multiply into many, so if you see them, pull them out. Or, you may spray the retaining wall annually with a weed killer.

Identify Settling Problems

Retaining walls built by a professional should stand the test of time. But, if the previous homeowners installed the retaining wall incorrectly, it’s possible that drainage or erosion problems can cause the retaining wall to move. Minor settling can even occur after a professional installation.

As long as the problem isn’t major, minor settling won’t hurt the integrity of the wall. But, you can unstack the blocks in that particular area, raise the settled spot and restack the blocks. You should call a professional if you notice that the wall is bulging or rotating, as this could indicate a more serious underlying problem.

Landscape Maintenance

Retaining walls have a practical purpose, but they also define space and add character. Take the time to landscape around the retaining walls, but make sure you do so smartly. You can’t plant trees with aggressive spreading roots near the wall, otherwise it will cause damage to the structure. Stick to low maintenance flowers, plants and bushes with slow-growing roots. Also avoid deicers that could cause damage to the pavers in the wintertime.

These small steps will keep your retaining wall in excellent condition and allow it to last a lifetime!

How Often Should Pavers Be Replaced?


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Stone and brick pavers provide a more decorative and natural look on patios, paths and driveways when compared to concrete and asphalt. When properly installed, they can last just as long, if not longer, than concrete. Unlike concrete, a single crack in a paver doesn’t require an unsightly repair or full replacement because you can simply replace the broken paver. Replacement only becomes an issue if there are installation problems or if the pavers aren’t properly cared for.

Replacement Variables

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to paver replacement. A properly installed and maintained paver patio, walk or drive can last for years, or even decades. Common causes of paver damage include:

Soil shifting, which primarily occurs when the base isn’t properly installed.

Outside damage, including cracking and chipping. Dropping heavy objects on a paver can crack it, as can walking or driving on pavers that aren’t level. Ice melt salts and chemicals can also weaken your pavers.

Stains, including algae and oil stains. In some cases, you can simply flip a paver over to the clean stain, but for best color matching you may need to replace the pavers.

Weathering damage that leads to abraded surfaces or cracked pavers. Freeze and thaw cycles can cause shifting, which leads to cracks or uneven pavers. Surface abrasion can also occur.

A Firm Base Saves on Replacement

If you suspect improper base installation, it can be well worth the effort to lift the pavers and have the base corrected. You may be able to save and reuse the pavers if they were installed with sand joints instead of mortar.

A strong base is fully compacted and covered with a 2- to 4-inch layer of compacted stone dust. After installation, the pavers require an edging material to keep them from shifting. Filling the joints with paver sand allows for expansion and contraction from temperature fluctuations.

Maintain Your Pavers

Proper care helps prolong the life of your pavers so they don’t require frequent replacement.

Reseal any pavers that are no longer level, before they have a chance to crack. Lift the offending paver out and level the base beneath it. Tamp it back in place gently with a rubber mallet.

Replace any cracked pavers promptly. As they crack, the pavers can shift, which can lead to damage to the neighboring pavers.

Refill the joints with paver sand annually in spring. Cover the paved area with the sand and sweep it into the joints until the sand is level with the top of the pavers. Depending on weathering and traffic, the sand may also require topping off in the fall. Using a joint sealer over the sand can help keep it in place so it requires less frequent replacement.

Keep the pavers clean. In most cases, you can simply hose off the pavers. If algea or moss growth becomes a problem, wash the pavers with a solution of one part bleach and nine parts waters – but don’t get the bleach on nearby plants. Avoid pressure washing, which dislodges the joints and can damage the pavers.

Professional paver installation ensures no shortcuts are taken, which results in a longer lasting project. If you suspect a problem with your pavers, get it fixed immediately to save yourself the full cost of replacement.