If you like natural building materials, then concrete pavers may be considered the "poor relation" when compared to such choices as bluestone, travertine and cobblestone. Nonetheless, they have their place in landscaping, even if only because, due to the ease with which they can be installed and replaced, they give DIYers an easy patio option. Here is some basic information on the subject to point novices in the right direction:
What Are Concrete Pavers?
Concrete pavers are units made from molds. The molds allow for precision in shape and size. This uniformity makes them relatively easy to install. It is easier to install such units that are all the exact same thickness than to install units that vary in thickness, like granite cobblestones.
Because the molds that are used to form the units can be manipulated, manufacturers are able to produce them in a large variety of sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. The most common shapes are squares and rectangles. For design purposes, note that they mimic the look of paving bricks and stones.
Installing Concrete Pavers
I've already touched on a design use for this material, and further down I will be explaining why it is so easy to use. But for some step-by-step installation instructions, I refer you to my tutorial on how to install pavers.
Who Makes Them?
There are a number of manufacturers. Some of the most popular are Unilock, Techo, and Belgard. Look for a dealer in your area. Some concrete pavers are available at home improvement stores. Most stone yards also carry concrete pavers. You can check with your local building supply store; there may be local companies that manufacture concrete pavers in your area.
Why Use Concrete Pavers?
This product has many strong points; here are a few:
- Durability. Concrete pavers are designed to withstand the elements. If installed correctly, they can withstand freezing winters and extremely hot summers. They can be used in areas that receive lots of water, and areas where it doesn't rain much at all.
- Cost. Concrete pavers can mimic the look and feel of natural stone without mimicking the price.
- Choices. This product comes in a myriad of forms, sizes and colors, giving the designer a plethora of creative options.
- It's easy to install concrete pavers. Concrete pavers come in uniform thickness, which makes installation much easier than using materials that come in varying thicknesses, like stone. This makes concrete pavers a great option for the do-it-yourselfer.
- Maintenance. Concrete pavers, when installed correctly, are nearly maintenance free. If a problem does arise, one or two units can easily be removed and replaced without disturbing the rest of the installation. This is not possible with all projects (e.g., poured concrete or stone set with mortar).