Pavers are a beautiful product that enhances the appearance and value of your home or business. Pavers are a reinforced concrete product that is made in different shapes, sizes, patterns and colors. They are also made smooth or with dimples on the surface. In addition, they can also come tumbled to give a weathered appearance.
Even though pavers are made from concrete, their installation does not involve concrete or any cement based products. It is actually not recommended to use any cement based products when it comes to installing pavers. The installation of pavers for walkways and patios calls for 4” of pressed gravel topped with 1” of concrete sand as bedding. Driveways call for 6” to 8” of gravel with 1” of concrete sand as bedding. The earth is first excavated and checked for weak areas and, if needed, is reinforced for proper weight bearing. The gravel is then put down and compacted until firm. A sand bed is then installed over the gravel bed. The paver stones are then placed over the sand bedding, and cut to size as needed. Metal or plastic edging is placed on the sides of the pavers, and staked into the ground to keep them in place. The paver joints are then filled with sand or polymeric sand which hardens when wetted, to keep weeds from growing within the joints.
The polymeric sand also comes in various colors which produce a more attractive appearance. The pavers are then compacted into the sand bedding below to lock them into place. The two traditional methods of installing pavers differs from what we use today. The original method calls for straight stone dust as a base material. The problem with this is that stone dust retains too much water, and will eventually create a higher chance of the stones shifting due to erosion and freeze-thaw cycles. Additionally, pavers should not be placed over concrete. Pavers have spacers between them to create small joints. These joints are too small to be filled with mortar, but big enough for plenty of water to get through them. If pavers are laid over concrete with mortar, similar to how you lay a tile, the water will be trapped between the joints. During the winter months, the waster will freeze and expand causing the pavers to loosen from the concrete underneath them.