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, you can opt for interlocking or slabs.
They are used for many parts of a home, especially outdoors. The most common uses are as follows:
- Pool decks
- Fire pits
Types of Pavers by Material
The main distinguishing feature of pavers, among the many options, is the material from which they are made:
1. Brick pavers (clay)
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.
Ideal alternatives to concrete, brick pavers can be laid in a range of patterns and color combinations with considerable variation available in texture, character and color.
- 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
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
Bluestone is a variety of sandstone that is often used to create elegant and sustainable driveways.
Bluestone comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes. They offer a variety of looks as they can be crushed into gravel, left in more massive slabs or cut into distinct patterns of tiles.
- 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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Gravel, also known as crushed stone, is an aggregation of unconsolidated rock fragments. Common rocks used to make gravel include basalt, sandstone, and limestone. 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.
• Easy to install
• Improved curb appeal
• Can support a heavy load
• Unstable gravel can leave bare spots, which may lead to dust.
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 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
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 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 pavement, 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
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