Don’t let images of neglected urban sidewalks, monotonous concrete slabs and all those things of the past interfere with your decision – concrete pavers have gone a long way from their early, awkward days. The variety of sizes, shapes and colors is tremendous, and you can easily find products offering an old-time, hand-chiseled, natural stone feel that fits in many architectural styles and landscaping needs while adding greatly to the value and character of your residence.
Benefits of Concrete Pavers
The use of concrete pavers is expanding rapidly, and this is owed to the benefits presented by the material itself:
- slip resistant
- no need for regular maintenance
- can be spot replaced, if necessary, or seamlessly added to at a later time
- conserves resources by saving lumber
- minimal maintenance
While their initial purchase and installation costs may seem higher than pouring slab concrete (a few dollars or less per square foot), the long-term benefits presented by the reduced repair and replacement needs will be evident in a few years’ time. When properly installed, concrete pavers will embellish your garden for decades without need for additional attention.
Some types of concrete pavers can be further chiseled by hand to create an even more antique, artistic look. You can also mix and match different shapes and colors of pavers, creating smart designs and lively effects, or focusing the view on your preferred spots.
Standard maintenance needs are limited to adding sand to the joins every two to three years, or even more for moderate climates.
If damage occurs, then concrete pavers can be individually removed and replaced.
A stable sub-base is absolutely critical for laying your pavers and forgetting all about them. If, however, the installation was not properly made, concrete pavers may settle in spots over time. This can be easily fixed without any noticeable patches: just remove the damaged pavers, re-grade and re-compact the sub-base, and install the new pavers.
Interlocking Concrete Pavers
Interlocking concrete pavers, or segmental pavers, are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to brick, clay, or concrete during the last couple of decades.
What makes interlocking concrete pavers (ICPs) so stable is the fact that each paver can not move independently from the adjacent ones. ICPs are flexible pavements, designed to spread loads imposed on a small area of the pavement surface through a base layer (most usually complemented by a sub-base or even a series of sub-bases, depending on the type and the water-holding capacity of the soil on which the pavement is going to be laid) to a larger area of the soil sub-grade.
This is achieved through the following media:
- joint or polymeric sand: this sharp-angled locks together and creates friction that impedes pavers from moving by transferring loads to surrounding units;
- perimeter edge restraint: keeps the pavers firmly in place and inhibits them from spreading apart;
- proper paver thickness: this should be estimated in relation to load and use;
- laying patterns: choosing a pattern that minimizes the length of uninterrupted joint lines will provide extra strength by dispersing forces, especially from moving vehicles.
David R. Smith, director of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (Sterling, Va.), insists that, when installing an ICP system, 90 per cent of the work involves preparation of the sub-surface: How to Install Concrete Pavers
Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavers
Water is a basic ingredient for all life on Earth. Rain is a blessing for the plants and for the well-being of entire populations. When considering the way human societies tend to develop exponentially, the need for sustainable water management systems that will prevent flooding and water pollution without weighing too much on a homeowner’s budget.
The concrete industry provides a revolutionary product that leads rain waters to be absorbed on-the-spot by replicating the natural environment.
Permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICPs) are installed on top of an open-graded base and sub-base, an aggregate base that allows water to pass through and be introduced back into the soil.
PICPs are an important low-impact development technique that
- allows developers to reduce or eliminate water retention areas
- creates more green space
- maintains initial hydrologic conditions (runoff flows)
- helps reduce demand for additional drainage capacity*
- encourages natural groundwater recharge
* which can result in 10-15 per cent savings in construction costs (pipes, reservoirs)
Permeable pavers with storage bed systems provide rainwater quality control through the infiltration process, as well as pretreatment of the runoff — practices that are sometimes imposed by relevant laws and regulations (see: Federal Stormwater Management Requirements)
They are relatively easy to install, but require regular and effective maintenance in order to continue performing.
A usually employed technique is to alternate areas with permeable and conventional paving, the latter being reserved for heavily trafficked corridors. The wide variety of permeable paving systems, combined with the virtually endless array of conventional concrete pavers, is guaranteed to achieve both functional and pleasing designs.