- Brick (Clay)
- Gravel Pavers
What are pavers?
Pavers are slabs and blocks made from a wide variety of materials such as brick (clay), concrete, flagstone, marble, travertine, porcelain, rubber and even plastic to create driveways, patios, pool decks, etc.
They can be a very good concrete alternative for such projects. In fact, other than some stamped concrete, pavers look much better than regular concrete slabs. Finally, when it comes to laying pavers, you can opt for interlocking or slabs.
What are pavers used for?
They are used for many parts of a home, especially outdoors. The most common uses are as follows:
- Pool decks
- Fire pits
A. Types of Pavers by Material
What materials are pavers made from?
The main distinguishing feature of pavers, among the many options, is the material from which they are made:
1. Brick pavers (clay)
What are brick pavers?
Brick pavers have been used as surfacing materials for centuries. Brick pavers are made from molded clay that is baked in a kiln and set into a mortar or sand base on the driveway.
- Come in a range of colors and shapes, and can be laid in a range of patterns to realize distinct visual effects.
- Made from natural materials which can be reused, cleaned or salvaged making them an eco-friendly alternative.
- Somewhat fragile they can crack or chip easily over time.
- Require a good base and frequent maintenance to sustain regular driveway usage over time.
2. Concrete Pavers
What are concrete pavers?
Made of concrete the pavers come in many shapes and sizes.
The use of concrete pavers is one of the most popular flooring options for driveways and roadways. Concrete pavers come in a wide range of colors, sizes, textures and thickness. The medium offers a natural look and leaves an effortless, minimalist finish.
The installation of concrete pavers is fairly straightforward and hassle-free given the fact that it is uniform and can easily be cut.
- Easy to install.
- Come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
- Low-cost raw materials make them cheaper than bricks.
- More durable than poured concrete.
- Customized, artificial pigments in colors can fade over time.
- Can crack in extreme change of temperatures.
- Needs high-maintenance in terms of sealing to prolong life.
- Have short longevity due to low-cost raw materials.
3. Bluestone Pavers
What are bluestone pavers?
Bluestone is a variety of sandstone that is often used to create elegant and sustainable driveways.
- Quite durable and can be shaped into any basic shape.
- Magnificent color — often starts as a royal blue, but exposure to sunlight turns it to light grey.
- Can be integrated with various paving materials.
- Counterfeits sold as authentic bluestone.
- Costly to acquire authentic rare bluestone.
Bluestone pavers vary in cost due to variations in thickness and the different types of pavers. Irregular pavers are a bit less costly while thermal pavers are more expensive.
4. Flagstone Pavers
We have a gorgeous gray flagstone patio. It’s striking; guests often comment about it. Here’s an example.
What are flagstone pavers?
Flagstone is a sedimentary rock that is used as pavers most often in patios. The pavers are uniquely shaped and fit together like a puzzle. It’s a thinner paver, compared to brick and concrete, and not appropriate material for a driveway.
Flagstone comes in a variety of colors but most commonly grey hues and reds.
- Flagstone has a non-slip texture and surface making it an ideal flooring option.
- Durable, will last longer than concrete pavers.
- Versatile enough to use in landscaping as it offers many variations in colors, sizes and shapes.
- Flagstones’ varying shapes allow homeowners to create nearly any pattern they want to achieve.
- Shapes and colors collaborate well with other stones in case you want some extra customization.
- Naturally-formed, unique and beautiful finish.
- Difficult to plan an exact preconceived layout with the natural stone.
- Significantly higher cost than other pavers, since it is mined and transported from the actual source.
5. Marble Pavers
Yes, you can get marble pavers suitable for outdoor areas such as patios and walkways.
What are marble pavers?
Marble is formed when limestone is exposed to extremely high heat and pressure. This process randomly disarranges crystal particles, thus explaining its unique pattern.
Marble pavers are used for both residential and commercial purposes, including patios, driveways, walkways and even grass-yard lanes. The pavers make gorgeous outdoor landscapes while exhibiting a graceful and elegant aura.
- Smooth and regal polish create a more sophisticated look compared to other pavers made of stones or granite.
- Natural tones and patterns create a unique finish.
- Highly-durable and long-lating.
- Pavers add value to property.
- Conducts heat very well, expect area to be scorching hot on some days.
- Relatively soft surface easily scratched.
- May have stains and discolorations when exposed to some acidic chemicals like sauces, beverages or even cleaning products.
6. Travertine Pavers
What are travertine pavers?
Travertine, like marble, is an all-natural and eco-friendly material that can be used in different ways. Sedimentary rock formed and developed under pressure and changing temperature is a popular option for outdoor landscaping and flooring.
- Very durable, add value to your home.
- Natural and environmentally friendly.
- Cheaper than marble.
- Available in different colors and tones.
- No fading of colors or discoloration.
- Insulates heat so it doesn’t heat up during hot weather.
- Highly sensitive to acids, cleaning it with vinegar or other acidic formulas might leave an unwanted stain.
- Much heavier compared to other pavers.
7. Porcelain Pavers
What are porcelain pavers?
Porcelain is a clay-based material, treated with extremely high temperatures to create a hard and durable surface with a non-porous finish. They can be used both indoors and outdoors and especially ideal for wet areas such as pool decks.
With the help of modern technology, manufacturers can now produce thicker porcelain pavers with a close resemblance to natural materials like wood, stones, etc.
- Needs less maintenance, easy to clean.
- Absorbs less moisture preventing molds and bacteria from building up.
- Comes in different colors and patterns to match your taste.
- Thin and brittle material needs care in handling
- Special tools needed to cut porcelain.
8. Cobblestone Pavers
What are cobblestone pavers?
Cobblestone pavers are commonly made of granite although sometimes also basalt, limestone or sandstone. Pavers have been used for several centuries and indeed have the best of both worlds: long-lasting durability and an attractive aesthetic.
- Needs little maintenance, just give them a good wash once or twice a year.
- Durable and long-lasting, can remain stable for decades when installed properly.
- Wide array of styles and colors to choose from.
- Time-consuming installation requires more labor.
9. Rubber Pavers
Source: Home Depot
What are rubber pavers?
Today’s innovation has lead to the creation of practical and useful materials out of old ones. Rubber pavers are usually made of recycled materials which are eco-friendly, yet also durable and tear-resistant.
For easier installation, avoid getting pavers wet or they will expand. Thermal expansion might also be possible when too much solar heat is absorbed before installation.
- Rubber pavers have safety features, more shock-absorbent than stone pavers and slip-resistant.
- Primarily made of recycled materials the pavers are environmental-friendly.
- Less susceptible to chipping and cracking.
- Finish not that attractive compared to stone or porcelain.
- Since they’re new to the market, actual lifespan of rubber pavers has not yet been determined.
10. Plastic Pavers
Source: Home Depot
What are plastic pavers?
Plastic pavers can either be newly manufactured or recycled from plastic waste. The innovative process is done melts the plastic with water and mixes liquid output with soil. The mixture is then stirred and poured into paver-shaped containers where it dries.
- Recycled plastic helps reduce plastic waste.
- Comes in different shapes and styles to suit requirements.
- Recycling, processing and shaping machines are expensive.
- Not that durable compared to pavers made of stone, gravel or asphalt.
11. Gravel Pavers
What are Gravel Pavers?
Gravel, also known as crushed stone, is an aggregation of unconsolidated rock fragments. Common rocks used to make gravel include basalt, sandstone, and limestone. For pavers, the gravel is most likely to be derived from limestone.
Gravel is a common choice in landscaping and outdoor design — used to create pathways and driveways. Gravel comes in different coarseness levels, and you pick one depending on the site of construction.
For instance, fine gravel is almost the same texture as sand and compacts tightly. It doesn’t allow adequate drainage so it will only work well with sandy or well-drained soil.
On the other hand, coarse gravel works well for driveways that hold more than one car at a time. It also allows optimum drainage since it’s not as compact. That means you can use it on clay soil.
Usually, most people avoid extremes and work with medium gravel. It doesn’t compact as tightly as fine gravel, but it doesn’t drain water as well as coarse gravel. That makes it ideal for regular soil.
• Gravel pavers are easy to install
• Improved curb appeal
• Can support a heavy load
• Unstable gravel can leave bare spots, which may lead to dust.
What is Greencrete?
Some construction companies have ventured into manufacturing eco-friendly materials to promote environmental sustainability. Among these eco-friendly materials is green cement, also known as Greencrete.
This cement is made out of industrial waste materials, marine sources, and natural resources like algae. Besides using eco-friendly materials, the manufacturing process is also more efficient. It uses less energy and water and guarantees zero CO2 emissions.
• Greencrete pavers last longer
• They are easy to place
• Greencrete optimizes mix designs
• Decreases waste of materials
• They might be costlier than other options
• Greencrete has less split tension than conventional concrete
What is Granite?
Granite is a light-colored rock with visible grains, usually composed of quartz, alkali feldspar and plagioclase. It forms when molten materials cool and solidify below the earth’s surface.
Although granite is a common choice for indoor building, it is also perfect for outdoor applications. Among its outdoor uses are pavers. One of the benefits of granite pavers is that granite has an endless variety of colors.
There are also several finishes you can pick from. Types of granite include:
• Dorato Valmalenco Granite
• Sardinian White Granite
• Cristal White Granite
• Bengal White Granite
• Ivory Brown Granite
• Emerald Pearl Granite
• African Red Granite
If you’d like to get creative with your pavers, you can always combine different finishes of the same stone for visual continuity.
• Granite is highly resistant to decay
• It is easily polishable
• It has excellent fire resistance properties
• Granite is free from fractures
• It is low-maintenance
• Any scratches can be repaired with a brush
• Easy to clean
• Machining granite is time-consuming
• It needs anti-slip treatment
• Cleaning lines and joints might be difficult
• Broken granite requires a professional to repair
• Color might change after repairs
What is Limestone?
Limestone was the first widely-used construction material. It was used in some of the oldest stone buildings in the world, such as the pyramids of Egypt. Notably, limestone makes up about a tenth of all sedimentary rocks.
That means it’s available in several parts of the world, including the U.K., parts of the U.S., Egypt, Turkey, and several other countries. Limestone is as dense as marble, with a lightly textured surface. That makes it an excellent choice for pavers, not to mention its insulating properties.
It doesn’t get too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. There are hundreds of types of limestone, so you are spoilt for choice. The good thing with limestone paving is that it doesn’t require much maintenance once you lay it down.
• It is easy to clean
• It blends well with other outdoor elements
• Limestone pavers are durable
• Fewer color options than those of other materials like granite
• Limestone can suffer from staining
• It might be hard to find in some regions
Choosing Pavers Depending on the Location
Besides considering the pros and cons of each material, the location also determines which paver is best for you. For instance, concrete and natural pavers would work well for the patio. Medium to coarse gravel will work if you are looking for driveway pavers.
On the other hand, limestone would be the perfect paver for a pool deck due to its anti-slip finish. Limestone pavers would also be ideal for an area with kids. Granite would be best for hot tub pavers due to its heat-resistant property. For the walkway, consider an easy-to-clean option, such as limestone. For the backyard, consider something colorful, such as Greencrete.
B. Paver Patterns
C. Paver Features
How are pavers laid?
There are two main paver patterns with respect to how they are assembled together. The first interlocks the pavers while in the second, natural stone is laid out to create a flat surface.
Concrete Slab Pavers
D. Choosing Colors
What colors do pavers come in?
Pavers come in a large variety of colors including:
Frequently Asked Questions
How are pavers installed?
Pavers are installed directly onto the ground, but you’ll need to prepare the surface first. Start by calculating how many pavers you need, then draw the layout. Next, remove all grass and make sure that the soil beneath is level with a slight slope of about one inch to allow for water runoff.
Use a shovel to smooth and tamp down the dirt, then add a layer of coarse bedding sand. Add one paver at a time to the sand and keep them as tight as possible to one another to avoid a wide gap.
Gently tap each paver down with a hammer and make sure each one is level, then fill the gaps with more of the coarse sand. You can also add edging to the pavers once you’re done if you choose.
How many pavers do I need?
Use your layout outline and measure the length and width, then multiply each number to get the total square footage. This will determine how much base material and how many pavers you’ll need, based on the total square footage.
It’s always best to buy another 10% to account for broken pavers or waste. If you’re installing a curved or diagonal paver design, purchase between 15 and 20% more pavers, just to be safe.
How many pavers are in a pallet? How much does a pallet of pavers weigh?
The number of pavers in a pallet depends on the size. A pallet of 12 inch by 12 inch pavers contains 288 square feet of pavers (or 288 pieces) and weighs approximately 3,600 pounds. Larger 18 inch by 18 inch pavers contain 270 square feet per pallet (120 pieces), and weigh approximately 3,400 pounds.
The total weight mostly depends on the material the pavers are made of. The denser the materials, the heavier the pallet will be. A general rule of thumb is that standard 12 inch by 12 inch concrete pavers weigh around 17 pounds each.
Can you put pavers over concrete? Can you just lay pavers on the grass?
You can put pavers directly over concrete but using a quality mortar is highly recommended to keep them securely in place. You can also put them directly onto grass, but it’s not advisable to do so.
Putting pavers on grass creates an unstable surface and it allows water to get underneath, causing the pavers to crack over time. It also encourages weeds to grow which will eventually come up from under the ground and in-between the pavers, creating a high-maintenance mess.
What to put under pavers?
It’s best to install pavers directly onto compacted soil with a layer of concrete sand. This sand is extremely coarse and promotes proper drainage, so water doesn’t accumulate underneath the pavers. Always use some form of base material when installing pavers to keep them secure and to protect them from getting damaged by water and shifting.
What to put between pavers?
You can put sand between pavers, but a material called polymeric sand is best. This special sand includes additives that help to fill the joints and won’t erode as quickly as regular sand will. You can also use other materials like cement, builder’s sand, concrete dust, or regular sand if you need to.
How much sand do I need for pavers?
Make sure that the sand under your pavers is one inch deep. Determine the surface area of your paver design in square feet, then divide that number by 12 to give you the cubic feet of sand you’ll need. One inch is 1/12 of a foot, so an example would be that an 80-square foot patio requires 6.66 cubic feet of sand since 80/12=6.66.
Do pavers need to be sealed?
Sealing pavers isn’t required, but it can protect them from moss, mold and algae. Sealing your pavers won’t prevent normal wear and tear like scratches, but it can limit the growth of unsightly mold and other things that could cause discoloration over time. Applying a sealant also helps to protect the pavers from oily stains.
Does sealing pavers make them slippery?
Sealing pavers can create a slippery surface if it’s applied too thick. Use thin sealers that penetrate the surface of your pavers and only leave a very thin film behind. There are also additives available that you add to paver sealer products that will help to increase traction to prevent accidental slips and falls.
Does sealing pavers prevent mold?
Sealing pavers may help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. However, if the sealant gets scratched, it will allow water to penetrate the paver and may cause mold to form if you don’t keep the pavers clean.
How much will pavers sink when compacted?
Dirt can shrink by as much as 30% when it’s compacted. For example, if you install your pavers on top of 10 inches of dirt, expect the pavers to settle approximately 3 inches over time. Laying a base using an inch of coarse sand or gavel is the best way to prevent the pavers from settling.
Can you put a hot tub on pavers?
You can put a hot tub on top of your pavers, as long as the ground and pavers are completely level with no sloping. Make sure that the pavers are installed securely and that they’re made of thick, durable materials that won’t crack or shrink to ensure that your hot tub remains level and securely in place.
Can you paint pavers?
Yes, you can paint pavers, but it’s highly likely that the paint will scratch over time. If you do decide to paint your pavers, apply a sealant over the paint to keep them looking fresh and vibrant.
What are permeable pavers?
Permeable pavers are usually made of concrete or clay brick. These pavers allow rainwater to pass around them, rather than through them, meaning that they should last longer. Permeable pavers usually have wider, more open joints which help to move the water between them as it enters the base layer underneath.