Installing pavers can elevate your outdoor aesthetic if you want to transform a lackluster garden space into a beautiful retreat. Pavers are natural and manufactured stone blocks that fit together to create beautiful walkways, driveways, and outdoor flooring.
There are many different materials, styles, sizes, and colors, each with distinct advantages. Pavers are relatively easy to install, durable, and require very little maintenance. If done correctly, they can look fabulous for decades with minimal upkeep. The secret to their success is learning what kind of paver will work best for your project and learning the proper way to install them yourself or hire a professional to do the job for you.
Pavers are widely used for outdoor areas in both residential and commercial properties. They improve the aesthetic and functionality of many areas with simple installation. You commonly see them used for patios, walkways, driveways, parking areas, courtyards, and social spaces.
Types of Pavers
Depending on their function, you have a few options when choosing which paver will work best for your project. For example, certain materials are better equipped to handle the weight of vehicles without cracking, while others are more visually appealing and perfect for walkways and decorative features.
Natural stone pavers are the most popular choice, as they reflect the natural hues of your landscape. Each stone is uniquely different from piece to piece, which adds to its allure. The top natural stones used for pavers are:
These stones look best in their natural, rustic state, without too much refining. Since most natural stone is resistant to water and heat, they are excellent in high-slip areas like surrounding a pool. They can also be used for driveways, as natural stone is a strong, sturdy, and robust material. However, due to their weight, professional installation is recommended.
Brick pavers have a classic appeal with their rich, deep earth tones. Either made from heated clay or concrete dyed to look original, these pavers increase curb appeal and aesthetic value. They are known for being extremely strong and durable; they are an excellent base for driveways, walkways, and patios. Although they can exhibit minor fading over time from the sun, brick sealants can be used to minimize this effect.
When installing brick pavers, it’s essential to hire professionals, as they can shift and crack over time, especially in high-traffic areas. Another thing to note is that they are not as slip-resistant as other paver materials when wet.
Concrete pavers are very versatile and can be made in any size, shape, color, and texture that you would like. Unfortunately, concrete is not very porous, so pavers must be laid correctly to ensure proper drainage. They can also stain more easily than other materials, so a sealant should be used to protect their color.
Porcelain is very popular as a countertop in modern kitchens and for use as hardscape pavers. Made from highly heated material, they are very durable and nearly impermeable. This means that they are naturally stain and mold resistant, perfect for high-traffic areas.
As one of the more expensive paving options, porcelain is not recommended for DIY installation. They can break and crack easily during the cutting and laying process, and the costs can add up quickly.
For the eco-friendly, rubber pavers are made from recycled materials. They are ideal for high-traffic areas and spaces where kids and families spend ample time. They have excellent shock absorbency and slip resistance and are very easy to clean. Swapping them out is much easier than the other paver materials if a replacement is needed.
Because of their lower durability, they are not a good option for driveways or areas where aesthetics is important. However, they are the most cost-friendly option.
Along with choosing your paver material, you will need to choose your paver style. The four most common types are interlocking, tumbled, textured, and smooth.
Interlocking pavers can be thought of as a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece fits perfectly with its neighbor to create one tight and cohesive structure. When finished, you will have an extremely stable platform that allows for proper drainage and looks beautiful. In addition, if you need to replace any tiles or access something beneath them, they are more easily removed than stone slabs.
Tumbled pavers have been tossed into a mixer and tumbled around until the edges have become naturally worn down. This process gives each stone its distinct look and the completed project a unique appearance.
Many different texturing methods can be applied to paving stones to alter their appearance. No two texturing effects are alike, and you can choose from lightly chiseled to “found in the woods” rough and beaten styles.
A textured stone is more slip-resistant, which makes it an excellent option for pools and other high-traffic areas that can get wet. They are also great for stone wall applications and creating a more rustic vibe.
Smooth stones are untextured and natural, with the least amount of transformation from their original form. While they are more slippery than textured varieties, they provide a more uniform look and create a dignified aesthetic when used for driveways and patios.
Pros and Cons of Pavers
While there are some distinct pros and cons to using paving stones, they are an excellent option for nearly any application.
Versatile and Design-friendly: Pavers come in many styles, sizes, shapes, colors, and materials.
Durable: Pavers pay for themselves in the long run, as they are made from materials meant to last. From harsh winters to scorching summers, pavers can last for decades with the proper sealants.
Easy Maintenance: Paving stones can be removed and replaced if needed because they are individually placed. This is great for accessing areas with underground water or electric lines.
Quick Installation: Unlike other materials, there is no waiting for pavers to set and dry. Once your pavers are installed, they are ready to be enjoyed.
Can Be Expensive: Depending on the stone material, professional installation, and sealing, the costs can add up quickly.
Weed Growth: Weeds can grow between the cracks because pavers are individual blocks nestled together. With correct installation, this can be minimized.
More extended Installation: Although there is no wait time once pavers are installed, the installation process is more arduous and time-consuming.