The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Concrete Pavers
A paver is a stone, brick or tile made from concrete that is used for exterior flooring. It’s typically used in parking lots as well as the drive ways of commercial and residential buildings.
Concrete comes in two main sizes for residential applications: 6 by 12 by 3 1/8 inches and 4 by 8 by 23/8 inches. Concrete pavement is a top consideration for outdoor remodeling because of its simple appeal and practicality. It’s an affordable option compared to stone pavers. Generally, they make a great alternative to asphalt, bricks, and stamped concrete.
At Future Vision Remodeling, we complete your renovation needs from full-scale home remodeling to concrete paving.
Here’s what you need to know about hiring a concrete paver:
- Make sure the concrete paver is licensed in the state that they work in.
- When searching for a concrete paver, check out their website to ensure that they are certified by any manufacturers.
- Check for memberships or certification from ICPI (the International Concrete Pavers Association).
- Once you narrow down 3 potential concrete pavers, call them for a free estimate of the price. Check if they have excellent customer service or not. If their services are poor, then most likely they will do a bad job on your project.
- Ask for a reference letter.
- Ask to see a portfolio to see if their work matches with your style.
- Make sure they have a liability insurance certificate.
- Before making a payment, check their itemized proposal outline to analyze the scope of their work and payment terms. They should have a start and end date which includes demolition, base materials, taxes, and excavation paving.
Characteristics to Look for in a Good Home Contractor
Applications for concrete pavers
To build a patio
Concrete pavers work very well with patios because they accommodate the edging stones with ease. They are also available in a variety of interesting colors, sizes, and textures. Finally, one can have a refreshing finish with concrete pavers on the patio as they allow room for creativity and maneuverability.
To construct a pathway
Menlo Park, CA
No one wants to step on their nicely manicured grass all the time and create an unsightly path when they can use concrete pavers to cut a nice path leaving the grass undisturbed.
These types of paths are typically in the backyard, and because pavers fit together seamlessly, they allow one to cut a wide path. They can also be used as stepping stones if you are working with bigger sized pavers. These can be used for the entrance of the house or the backyard as a path towards the shed, gazebo or outhouse.
Related: 5 Ways Remodeling can Add Value to Your Home
Around the pool
San Mateo / CA
Tumbled concrete pavers are an ideal choice for the areas around the pool and the pool house. Future vision makes this pool remodeling step simple!
The aesthetic is incredible and concrete is easy to clean and maintain. With their polished final look, they can easily pass for stone pavers for a fraction of the price.
For a fire pit
Instead of spending too much on building a fire pit for the backyard, one can create a fitting fire pit using concrete pavers.
There is the option of symmetrically cut pavers or using rugged pavers. Each provides the space with different characters. For most the rugged look in the backyard is more appealing than a perfect finish.
Check out what Future Vision Remodeling can do for your backyard!
Types of concrete pavers
The good news is that pavers come in all sizes and fashions that fit all the needs of the client. Large pavers are used to provide wide coverage which sometimes can be difficult to achieve with smaller pavers.
They need little maintenance, especially when used with other materials like river rocks. However, the main advantage of large pavers is that they can accommodate heavier weights like heavy vehicles compared to the smaller options.
Smaller pavers are excellent for providing design flexibility to users so one can get really creative with a space when using small pavers. They also make it appear that space is larger than it actually is. This is because they are many and numerous so they appear more than the eye can see giving the illusion of empty space.
Related: Find a Concrete Paving Service Today
How to install concrete pavement
Concrete pavers are durable and strong, so they are the perfect option for driveways and other outdoor areas. At Future Vision Remodeling, we use the following steps to install pavement.
Clearly demarcate the area that is going to be covered by the pavement. If the area has been under grass or any other type of plant growth, the section will be cleared. For areas that are already cleared, we draw marks to properly define the area.
This step is especially important if certain sections of the space have grass or flowers planted at a later date.
During this process, we check for any utility lines like water and gas lines running through the area. In some cases, it might be necessary to call the city to locate these lines in order to avoid future problems.
It’s time to excavate the soil. We use sturdy exaction tools like a shovel and wheelbarrow nearby to fill with the excavated soil. We excavate about nine inches of the soil from the section.
We measure the depth of the excavation to ensure there is uniformity. Uniformity will prevent the pavers from sitting unevenly on the ground with slopes and juts.
Perhaps the biggest mistake DIY enthusiasts make is putting the pavers directly on the soil in the excavated area. One should first place a gravel base depending on what the individual prefers. This base material needs to be up to six inches deep in the area to be paved.
For a sunken effect with the paving, we keep the material at the base at a depth of four inches. The depth of six inches is ideal for heavy-duty use like vehicle traffic while a four-inch depth works for a residential application where there will be mostly foot traffic.
We create a drainage system or sloped effect in areas that might be liable to floods. Poor drainage will, in the long run, impact the effectiveness of the pavers in accomplishing their task and it may even become a hazard attracting mosquitoes because of water stagnation.
For large spaces in commercial areas, it’s advisable to use pipes to drain the water away from the base. Residential areas can rely mainly on gravity if the area being paved is relatively small. For entire driveways, one may need to invest in pipe drainage as well. Once the pipes are laid it’s time to go to the next step.
Related: Top ideas for a kid-friendly backyard!
In this step, we make the base compact by using a material that binds the gravel together. Screed sand is a popular option where the sand settles into the nooks and crannies in the gravel and holds the gravel together so they don’t shift.
The screed sand is also used to smooth the surface on which the pavers will lie which is why it should be an inch thick above the gravel and uniform in level. The sand does the same thing for the pavers that it does for the gravel: it acts as binding material.
We lay the pavers on the sand surface and make sure the rough surface of the pavers is facing upwards. Having the rough surface upwards provides grip to the foot of anyone walking on the pavers and also looks like a natural stone over time.
When the paver is installed, we tap it lightly with a mallet to keep it flat and also to make it secure. Then, we use a rubber mallet to avoid damage to the paver. After every section use a straight edge to push the pavers into place and keep them neat.
Once all the pavers are installed, we put a little pressure on each to make sure they are firmly secured in place.
To set the pavers in place even further, we make sure to put some polymeric sand around the area, which will seep into the cracks left by the pavers and set them securely. Pour the sand evenly along the seams of the pavers.
This sand will also prevent insects from making a home in between the pavers and also stop plants from growing in the seams of the pavers.
If you’re ready to start installing concrete in your backyard, patio, or front yard, get started with Future Vision Remodeling. Check out our gallery for examples of work.
Related: Finding the right finish for your home: Types of Facing
Pros and cons of concrete pavers
- Modern concrete pavers can be manipulated into different textured finishes and colors. Technology makes it possible to create concrete pavers that mimic the type of look one would like and even make it look like a different material altogether.
- Concrete is much cheaper than options like Mazeras and stone. This means that concrete pavers are a more cost-effective option when working with a set budget.
- Concrete pavers are easier to cut and work with so one can achieve complete uniformity with each piece. As a result, they are easy to install.
- Because concrete pavers can be stained with different colors those colors can also fade over time especially for pavers that have are exposed to direct sunlight.
- Concrete tends to erode over time so the pavers will also lose become eroded with time and although they don’t start to break off they erode and begin to show the composite underneath the exterior.
- Concrete pavers need more maintenance over time in order to keep them pristine. They need to be sealed and the sealant has to be reapplied often to keep up their look.
Looking for a contractor to help design and install concrete? Get started with Future Vision Remodeling to transform your space!