A lot of homeowners tend to be quite experimental with things when they are undertaking a paver installation project. Some of them may get rewards for their efforts, while others may land up with disastrous results. You may be one of them.
Nonetheless, these events can be avoided if you know how to work with different paving materials. Acquiring sufficient knowledge of paver types and installation process can ensure the success of your paving project. Here are a few frequently asked questions by homeowners:
How do pavers compare with “stamped” concrete?
Stamped concrete pavements are merely large sections of poured-in-place concrete that have been embossed with a design. Therefore, they are prone to the same problem freeze/thaw cycles (ie. cracking and spalling), lower strengths and higher absorption rates as poured-in-place concrete. Pavers permit a flexible, breathable surface, working with nature. In addition, stamped concrete requires expansion joints every 10 feet or so, which can be very distracting. Also, patterned concrete pavements don’t allow access to underground utilities or the ability to make repairs. At practically the same price per square foot installed, pavers are clearly the better choice.
Will the colors fade from the pavers?
Pavers are made with the highest quality pigment and have color completely throughout each unit. However, the extreme effects of the sun and elements work against all building materials. Over the years, it is possible to see the colors mellow as they age.
Should I seal my project?
Pavers are manufactured to be durable. Therefore, the use of a protective sealant is optional and a matter of personal preference. A sealant will make stain removal easier, might minimize weed germination in the joint sand and can enhance colors. Sealers, however, are a topically applied product and must be reapplied every 3 to 5 years. Sealing pavers may make pavement slippery when wet. Before sealing, the installation must be thoroughly cleaned and completely dry. Be sure to use sealers specifically for concrete pavers. More intense use of the pavers and extreme climates often increases the frequency for re-applying a coat of sealer.
What about stains on my installation or any areas that may become damaged?
Stains can be removed with appropriate cleaning products. However, should a severe stain or severe damage occur, pavers may be individually replaced.
Can I install pavers over an existing concrete walkway or patio?
While this is not the preferred or recommended method, your installation can be laid over the top of existing concrete walkways, providing there is not substantial heaving in the existing area. Several other issues need to be addressed. First, the grade will need to be raised by about 3″-5’’ (the thickness of the bricks plus bedding sand or bonding agent). This is particularly critical if any doorways are involved. Second, remember that if the existing concrete slab should raise or drop with freeze/thaw conditions, the bricks will do the same.
What is the white film on my pavers and will it go away?
The white film, known as “Efflorescence”, is normal for masonry products and it may appear on the surface of the pavers. Or it may not occur at all. If it does occur, it is not permanent and will disappear over time. It may appear randomly or only in certain areas. It is a natural occurrence from the cement hydration process. Calcium oxide from the cement reacts with water inside the bricks and forms calcium hydroxide. This seeps to the surface and reacts with the carbon dioxide in the air to form calcium carbonate, a whitish residue. When moisture on the surface evaporates, it becomes visible. It will wash off or wear off over time. If you wish to speed up the natural process, there are cleaners available that are designed to remove efflorescence.
What is the base made of? What kind should be used?
The base is typically made of compacted, crushed stone that varies in size from one inch (25 mm) down to dust. Base materials used under asphalt street pavements are acceptable for use with interlocking concrete pavements. Some parts of the country use cement stabilized or concrete bases due to very weak or slow draining soils. However, most applications use a crushed stone base that’s compacted. Without geotextile, the soil will work its way into the base and weaken it. This is a slow process that happens when the soil is saturated with water or during periods of thawing. Geotextile stops this process and extends the life of the base by many years. Geotextile is recommended for use over silt and clay soils. It is not essential in sandy soils.
How do I install pavers in the easiest way possible?
The ideal way of installing pavers is like this:
- Clean the area to be paved by removing debris and contaminants.
- Prepare the base and sand bedding.
- Lay down the pavers on the base carefully by keeping in mind the ultimate theme or pattern.
- Sweep sand over the joints of pavers to fill up gaps. You can also apply a sealant for the purpose.
Can I use pavers for paving the pool area?
Yes, you can. Pavers are, in fact, great for paving areas around the pool as they are slip-resistant and ensure a safer environment. The sand present in the joints soak the water and prevents accidental falls. At the same time, they provide a cooler surface to walk on than concrete.
Are interlocking pavers a good option for me?
There are quite a few benefits of interlocking pavers. These materials are incredibly durable and can withstand heavy loads and harsh weather conditions. At the same time, they are extremely decorative and versatile.
How do I eliminate efflorescence?
There are special cleaning agents available in the market that you can apply on paved surfaces to remove efflorescence, which appears as a whitish haze.
How do I prevent the growth of weeds between paver joints?
You have to make sure that the joints are filled up with sand. Next, you have to apply a sealant on the entire paved surface.