Concrete pavers— the shining star of hardscaping materials—have become extremely popular with homeowners looking to create outdoor living spaces. Hardscaping refers to the “hard” surfaces of a landscape design, including patios, walkways, retaining walls, and driveways. Because of the shear volume of material choices available, navigating the world of concrete pavers can be a bit overwhelming. What exactly is a concrete paver? What sort of maintenance is involved with using them in your home’s landscape? Familiarizing yourself with the answers to such questions and more will help set you on your way to creating the perfect outdoor living space.
The Basics: What are Concrete Pavers?
Concrete pavers are individually manufactured pieces designed specifically to fit together, much like tile, and are laid over a bed of compacted aggregate. State-of-the-art techniques allow manufacturers to mold concrete pavers into varieties which look and feel nearly identical to brick, natural stone, ceramic tile, and even wood. Your options for these outdoor flooring materials come in two basic types: interlocking concrete pavers and architectural slabs. Interlocking pavers are generally composed of dense, sturdy concrete and are compacted edge-to-edge using joint sand once installed. Easy-to-install modular interlocking styles are commonly used to produce beautiful, long-lasting patterns for driveways, patios, and walkways. Architectural slabs are often thinner with a larger footprint, making them less suitable for load- bearing applications such as driveways, but perfect for clean, contemporary projects like patios, pool decks, and walkways. Both interlocking pavers and architectural slabs come in an endless spectrum of colors, textures, and style options, allowing virtually any design vision to become reality.
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Choosing Between Concrete Pavers and Other Hardscape Material Options
Concrete pavers are a smart option for homeowners who prioritize design flexibility, durability, and affordability. Pavers are available in a range of colors to brighten up or tone down areas of your landscape. Concrete pavers may also be textured in numerous ways, which not only contributes to certain aesthetics, but provides slip-proof surfaces for water-prone areas such as pool patios and outdoor kitchens. Pavers are highly durable, as they are able to withstand rain, wind, and heat better than brick, tile, and many types of natural stone. Poured concrete, although it can be stamped, stained, and embellished to produce paver-like effects, generally cannot expand and contract with natural freeze-thaw cycles, leading to unattractive and costly-to-repair cracking. Interlocking concrete pavers, on the other hand, handle seasonal weather patterns especially well, as the spaces between joints flexibly allow for movement over time. For environments with frequent rainfall and irrigation overspray, consider permeable pavers as they direct water into the earth below, rather than letting runoff damage surrounding landscapes or local water supplies. Concrete pavers are also a brilliant alternative to often more expensive natural stone choices, lending similar warmth and elegance to your landscape while going a bit easier on the budget.
Design: What Are My Options?
Concrete pavers are ideal for any homeowner who wants ultimate control over their outdoor hardscaping design. Custom applications allow you to match the color, texture, and style of your pavers to your main home with ease. The modular character of interlocking pavers offers the ability to feature patterns and accents across your landscape. Popular paver patterns include herringbone, running bond, circular, and fan, amongst others. Borders, bands, and inlays add to the numerous design possibilities concrete pavers encourage. Visually magnify a small, drab space with a dynamic herringbone pattern, balancing the look with a neat border in a contrasting color or texture. Bring new life to an expansive driveway with a sweeping apron using the Unilock Tribeca paver. Check out the Unilock catalog for more inspiration and information here—the possibilities are truly endless.
Maintenance and Repair
Since concrete pavers are highly durable, maintenance is very minimal. A simple sweep and rinse from time to time is all you need to remove leaves and dirt from the surface. Erasing grease and oil stains requires no more than a pressure wash, and a bit of paver cleaner when necessary. Routine maintenance includes replacing the sand between interlocking pavers, which can erode over time; however, these tasks might not be necessary, based on what type of sand was used during installation. Like paver maintenance, repair is just as straightforward. Since concrete pavers come in individual pieces, spot treatment is a breeze: take out and reinstall any damaged pieces without effecting the entire look and function of the hardscape.
The price for concrete pavers usually falls between $4-$15 per square foot, depending on the exact style choice you’re after. Much of the cost involved with a new hardscape installation, whether it be a new pool deck, patio, walkway, or paver driveway, is found in the installation. Pavers are typically set on a bed of compacted gravel topped by a thin layer of bedding sand. This process requires the use of heavy equipment for excavation and a handful of specialized tools for the project. Be sure to carefully consider the company you choose for your installation as the quality of your concrete paver installation will determine the overall success of your project and the value of your investment. To learn why working with a Unilock Authorized Contractor is your best choice, visit this page.
- Choose from an impressive array of color, texture, and style options for supreme design versatility.
- Concrete pavers are highly weather-resistant and slip-proof.
- Affordably obtain gorgeous results to rival more expensive outdoor flooring options.
- Laying patterns may be used to add style patios, walkways, and driveways.
- Maintenance is incredibly minimal and repair is far easier than with other materials.
That’s Concrete Paver 101—a crash course to all things concrete pavers! To continue your learning and research, be sure to check out the Unilock Design Ideas Catalog here. Contact a friendly and knowledgeable member of the Unilock team with any questions you may have or to get matched with a Unilock Authorized Contractor in your area.