Outdoor flooring adds style, elegance, and personality to your home or business. You can use various techniques and materials for outdoor flooring. One of the commonly used technique is paving. Paving is a common technique used for creating functional, creative, and durable outdoor flooring.
The installation of pavers may require hiring the services of a skilled landscaper. The Landscaping Expert in Orange County, California, provides paving services to create the outdoor flooring of your dreams. Our experts will take your ideas and implement them at affordable rates.
What Are Pavers? Why Should I Install Them?
Pavers are the tiles, bricks, or stones used in the construction of outdoor floorings such as patios, driveways, roads, and walkways. Pavers are a great outdoor flooring choice due to their strength and durability, low maintenance cost, and aesthetic appeal as explained below.
Strength and Durability
Pavers are made from strong and durable materials such as stones and bricks, which transfer these properties to your outdoors. Pavers are strong enough to take the weight of large vehicles and withstand the wear and tear subjected to them through daily use and climatic changes.
These structures can survive for many years after installation, making them an ideal choice if you are looking for a sturdy way to landscape your yard with a low maintenance option.
Pavers are placed following an interlocking system, which makes their maintenance cheap. When an area is damaged, a repair will involve the removal of the damaged pieces and replacing them with new pavers. The installation cost is relatively low as well compared to other outdoor flooring options.
No Surface Cracking
Paved surfaces are more resistant to cracking from expansion and contraction as compared to concrete. This is because they are placed in a segmented system, which means that they naturally allow for contraction and expansion.
Pavers allow the flexibility of highlighting safety areas. They also provide a non-skid surface throughout the seasons, which makes them safe for use in the wet season.
Pavers come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. The different materials used, add their unique features to the paved surface. Also, they can be placed in different patterns, which add beauty to an otherwise plain surface. Thus, using pavers compliments the beauty created by softscaping (living) elements in your outdoors, giving the home a balanced appearance.
Prevent Soil Erosion
The segmented paving system used in the installation of pavers helps in slowing down surface runoff, thus, encouraging slow absorption of water into the soil. This prevents erosion caused by running water. Pavers also create a protective covering for surfaces, which protects them from exposure to agents of soil erosion such as wind.
Types of Materials Used as Pavers
There are various materials used as pavers. The materials can be natural or artificial. The most common ones include:
Brick pavers are a natural paving material made from clay. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Bricks can be placed stylishly to create various patterns. Furthermore, brick pavers are made from eco-friendly materials that can be reused, cleaned, or recovered. Although bricks provide a natural and versatile paving material, they are fragile and require regular maintenance to sustain them.
Concrete pavers are made from cement and other aggregates. They provide a durable paving material, are characterized by even thickness and come in a variety of shapes, colors, and textures. Besides, the installation process for concrete pavers is easy and they require less maintenance compared to bricks. The color of concrete may fade over time, thereby calling for the need of regular sealing to preserve them and increase longevity.
Gravel is a soft paving material suitable for areas with low traffic. Gravel is generally the most well-draining paving material. Besides, it is an affordable and environmentally friendly paving material. Gravel tends to get weedy and requires regular maintenance. It is also uncomfortable to walk barefoot. Gravel should be retained with edging to keep it from spreading around. Small grade stones work best for gravel paving due to the stability they provide.
Porcelain is a clay-based paving material used primarily around wet areas such as pool decks due to its poor absorbency. Porcelain pavers are cheaper than and aesthetically appealing. They are easy to clean and require very little maintenance. They are available in different colors and patterns, giving you a wide variety from which to choose. However, porcelain cannot withstand harsh climate, especially in elevated areas.
Plastic is a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative that is made from recycled plastic. The plastic is melted and the molten liquid mixed with soil, then shaped and dried. These pavers come in a variety of shapes and colors from which you can choose. Plastic pavers may be more expensive due to the demanding production process. They are also less durable than pavers made from natural materials.
Bluestone is a natural paving material with a bluish-grey color. It provides durable paving material that can be cut into various shapes and sizes. You can use bluestone with other pavers to create the desired effects. Bluestone is a rare material and can be expensive to use. You should also be careful when purchasing to avoid counterfeit bluestone.
Flagstone is a natural paving material ideal for yards in direct contact with sunlight due to its natural insulating properties. Flagstone comes in various shapes, colors, and sizes that give you versatile options for your landscaping needs. Its durability is higher than that of concrete. Moreover, the beautiful and unique natural colors of flagstone pavers make your yard to stand out. The texture of this paving material provides a non-skid surface, which adds to the safety of your outdoor flooring. Flagstone requires mining and transportation that can add significantly to the overall paving costs.
Marble is a durable paving material with a unique natural finish. Marble pavers add a classic and sophisticated feel to your driveway or patio. In addition to being durable and classic, marble pavers instantly raise the value of your property. However, marble is soft and easily scratched and can stain easily from acidic chemicals. This material is also a good conductor of heat, therefore, extremely hot in high temperatures.
Travertine is a natural paver sourced from sedimentary rock. Travertine is a durable paving material that adds value and color to your patio or driveway. Travertine is cheaper than marble and has poor heat absorption abilities, making it ideal for hot areas. Additionally, it is a heavy paving material and is prone to staining from exposure to acidic chemicals.
Cobblestone is a durable and beautiful paving material made from basalt, granite, limestone, or sandstone. Cobblestones were the primary paving material in ancient civilizations. They require little maintenance and can survive for many decades after installation. They come in different styles and colors and can be placed in various patterns to create the desired appearance. Cobblestones are more expensive compared to other pavers and their installation is labor and time intensive.
Rubber is a modern eco-friendly paving material made from recycled materials. Rubber pavers are affordable, durable, and resistant to tearing, chipping, and cracking. Pavers made from rubber are shock absorbent and slip-resistant, making them an ideal choice where safety is a top priority. Rubber pavers lack the visual appeal of its natural paving counterparts.
Slate is a strong and stylish paving material that comes with a unique texture. Slate is resistant to corrosion by acids, therefore, can be laid directly on the soil. Slate is a great paving material to work with as it comes in uniform thickness, straight sides and edges, and different sizes.
There are a variety of paving materials. You can use a combination of these materials or pick one and use it for all your paving needs. Below is a simple guide to choosing the right paving material.
Choosing the Right Paving Material
Choosing the right materials is the first step towards a successful paving project. The choice of paving material depends on a number of factors including climate, budget, and personal preferences.
The climate of where you live should be an important factor. This is because the outdoors are in direct contact with weather conditions that expose them to constant wear and tear. Thus, you can choose concrete and stone pavers since they are more likely to withstand harsh climatic conditions over other materials like brick.
If your patio or driveway has some exposed areas, you may cover these areas with strong and durable materials that can withstand exposure to weather elements. Where you insist on using delicate material, use a sealer every six months to protect the paving material.
In areas where your driveway will be under constant exposure to the sun, go with muted colors or look for naturally colored materials that will not fade. You can apply a sealer twice a year to retain the color.
The purpose of the area you are paving is another important consideration when choosing paving materials. For instance, paths and driveways require different paving materials because of their distinct use. Driveways endure the heavy weight of cars and have to be strong enough to carry that weight. Thus, thicker materials are ideal for such areas. On the other hand, you may consider lighter materials for paths because they will not bear much weight.
Considering personal preferences, you should take into account what styles, colors, and shapes you prefer. Decide whether you prefer a traditional, contemporary, or modern patio or driveway. Account for your family’s preferences since they will be using these areas too.
Furthermore, your budget should play a crucial role when choosing a paving material. Paving could be an expensive process depending on the materials, style, and size of the area you are paving. Choose materials that match your budget.
The price of paving materials and installing them differs from the material and the landscaper you choose. Your budget will determine whether you use expensive or cheap materials. If you have a modest budget, you can pave small sections at a time until you are done. Look for various prices of different paving materials and ask for discounts where possible.
Lastly, consider the softscaping in your home. The horticultural elements, soil, plants, and color schemes outside your home influence the kind of paving materials you choose. The hardscaping and softscaping features should blend in with each other to create harmony. For instance, where your softscaping reflects modern elements, the paving materials should reflect the same.
Installation of Pavers
The installation process for pavers differs depending on the paving material. The process of installation starts way before you place the first paver on the ground. Here are the basic steps involved in the installation of pavers.
Planning involves deciding the area to be paved and outlining it, which is essential in calculating the number of pavers required to cover the area. To calculate the number of pavers required, you need to measure the width and length of the area to be paved. Multiply the length and width to get the square footage of the area. Always add 5-10% excess pavers to cater for cutting and waste.
Excavation involves marking the area to be paved and digging out the topsoil. Use measuring tools to ensure that the excavation slopes evenly. After excavating the area, compact the ground for improved stability.
Laying the Base Material
Base material consists of crushed materials. You should lay the base material evenly. The thickness used depends on the soil type –clay soils require thicker base material. Driveways also need thicker base material because they have to withstand the weight of vehicles. Compact the base material to the right thickness and height.
Laying Edge Restraints
Edge restraints are important in holding pavers in place and make maintenance easy. Common edging materials include precast concrete, metal, wood, and plastic.
Sand bedding is the process of adding a layer of sand on the compacted base material. The sand provides the surface on which pavers are placed. The paving material determines the type of sand bedding you use.
Lay the pavers close together inthe desired pattern. Once you are done, compact the pavers into the sand bedding.
Filling the Sand Joints
Sweep some sand over the pavers to fill the sand joints. Filling the sand joints helps in holding the pavers into place. Fine sand works better than coarse sand when filling the joints.
Clean the paved area to remove debris. Use a sand binding sealant to keep the sand joints in place. The sealer also keeps vegetation from growing between the sand joints and improves maintenance.
Maintaining pavers is crucial for prolonging the life and elegance of your driveway or patio. Basic maintenance involves sweeping to remove surface dirt. Use cleaning agents that will not damage the paving material. Where you are unsure, use the chemical agents in a small hidden area.
Sometimes, you may need to clean or remove stains. In such cases, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for stain removal. Remember to seal the pavers after cleaning.