If you are in need of a professional brick paver in Grosse Pointe MI or surrounding areas, call the experts at Quality Brick Paving & Landscaping at (248) 837-9991 today!
The Truth about Pavers vs. Stamped Concrete
How does the cost and durability of Pavers compare to Stamped Concrete?
There is more to know when choosing a pavement material than just what meets the eye. While stamped concrete may initially achieve a look that is somewhat similar to pavers, poor durability and difficulty in making repairs have a dramatic impact not only on the appearance, but also on the actual cost in the long term.
As a conscientious homeowner, you want your driveway, patio, walkways, or pool deck to stand up to the weather, require little maintenance, and look like new for a long time to come. You also want them to be cost-effective. That’s why the popularity of pavers (also referred to as “paving stones” and “brick pavers”) is sky-rocketing. The unrivaled beauty, easy upkeep, and long-term cost efficiency of properly executed paving stone installations are becoming more and more apparent to homeowners, especially in the Northeast where weather and temperature change are a major factor. Here is some valuable information about these various materials:
Concrete (along with asphalt) has traditionally been one of the most common paving materials used. It’s low cost per square foot makes it the natural choice of many homeowners as it initially seems to be a relatively inexpensive option. In reality, the inevitable cracking of concrete leads to a long-term cost that’s far greater than installing paving stones, without providing any of the benefits pavers offer.
It is almost inevitable that concrete will crack at some point in time. Common causes of cracking are when the base moves due to heavy loads or settlement, and the fact that concrete tends to shrink over time. Concrete can also crack as a result of the expansion and contraction caused by freezing, thawing, and other changes in the weather. The reason contractors place joints in concrete pavements and floors is to encourage the concrete to crack in a neat, straight line at the joint. But this doesn’t always happen, and cracks can appear at random anywhere across the surface of the concrete.
As these cracks form one by one, year after year, it is often difficult to exactly match the color and composition of the original material each time a repair is needed. As such, a concrete surface gets uglier and uglier with each repair. The alternative to repairing the concrete is to replace the entire structure when the cracks become unbearable. By the time it’s dismantled and properly disposed of, it will likely cost eight to eleven dollars per square foot each time you have to replace existing concrete!
“Stamping” concrete is a common way of trying to achieve the attractive patterns associated with actual paving stone material. The stamping is done after the concrete has been poured and before it begins to harden. Stamped concrete is usually tinted (colored) before it is poured. There are standard colors that can be added to the concrete as it goes into the truck.
Unfortunately, the problems associated with maintaining concrete are compounded with the addition of pattern and color. Patching cracks with regular gray concrete means creating unsightly scars, while trying to replace a cracked portion of concrete with a new piece that exactly matches in pattern and in color is nearly impossible
Paving Stone/Brick Pavers
Interlocking pavers solve all of the problems described above, and are appropriate for any paving application including patios, pool decks, driveways and walkways. Because pavers are individual units or “bricks,” the natural joints between each paver will “give” with pressure, expansion and contraction, eliminating the cracking inherent to conventional asphalt and concrete pavement.
Installed over a base of sand, pavers actually increase their structural capacity over time. With a minimum rating of 8000 psi, paving stones are one of the strongest paving materials, rivaled only by brick. However, unlike brick and other paving materials, paving stones often come with a lifetime warranty.
One of the biggest advantages of pavers is that if a repair ever does become necessary, pavers are manufactured to be uniform and can therefore easily be replaced without leaving ugly patches or scars.
Paving stones come in a wide variety of surface finishes, colors and shapes that will compliment and enhance the architectural style of any home. Moreover, a skilled installer can create a variety of laying patterns, further expanding the customization possibilities.
Other advantages of Brick Pavers
- Pavers do not require time to cure. Unlike concrete, which can take 3 to 5 days before being ready for traffic, paver structures can be used immediately after installation.
- The high number of joints in the surface facilitates the drainage of water from rain and snow. This enhances skid resistance and decreases nighttime glare.
- If deformation should occur due to shifting of the base, the structure can easily be repaired by removing individual pavers, re-leveling, and then re-installing the same pavers.
If you are looking for professional brick paving in Grosse Pointe MI or nearby areas, call Quality Brick Paving & Landscaping, located in Grosse Pointe MI at (248) 837-9991 for more information.
Quality Brick Paving and Landscaping provides top rated Brick Paving in Grosse Pointe MI and surrounding areas. Call (248) 837-9991 to schedule a free estimate today!
Facts About Bricks and Brick Paving:
The surface texture of brick is very important to its overall appearance. Identically colored brick can look dramatically different simply by adding texture. There are a variety of textures available including wire cut and torn face (rough texture). Texture can also be created by applying coatings, machine made impressions, or other mechanical treatments.
The distressed and uneven textures frequently seen in handmade and wood mold brick can be simulated at a less expensive price by mechanical treatments. Mechanically treated extruded brick sometimes known as “tumbled brick” may have superior structural properties when compared to handmade and wood mold brick.
Tumbled and Rumbled Brick
Tumbled Brick are brick that are tumbled down a ramp prior to the firing process that gives the brick a “no-two-are-the-same” handmade look with the properties and color selection of today. Rumbled Brick are brick that are tumbled down a ramp after the firing process that gives the brick a weathered old world look with the properties and color selection of today.
The color of brick is determined by the raw materials it contains and the method used to fire it. Additives blended into the clay mixture can create color completely through the brick body. Sand coatings, ceramic slurries and other additives can be applied to the face of the brick to create different surface colors. Changing the firing temperature will also produce different shades of color from the same raw materials. Flashing is one method of firing brick which burns some of the brick darker. These flashed brick add color range and highlights to many styles of brick.
Mortar represents approximately 20 percent of the total surface of a wall, so picking the right mortar color is very important to the overall look of your home. Different mortar types and specifications are required for various applications and climates. The most common is called type S and is naturally gray in color. Mortar can be tinted to blend or to contrast with the brick color. It is important to keep mortar mixing and tooling practices uniform, especially when using colored mortar. A slight variation in mortar color can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of a finished wall. Also, sand color will affect the finished look of your mortar color. Lighter color sands are generally recommended for lighter colored mortars. Inquire about the common sand colors in your area. ¨The mortar joint is also an important factor in the appearance and functionality of the wall. “Tooling” the joints help seal the wall surface against moisture penetration. The concave, vee, and grapevine joints are best for exterior construction. These joint types compress the mortar at the surface and are the most weatherproof. Other joints are acceptable for interior use.
Mother Nature did not make soil and clay consistently one color. When manufacturers mine raw materials, the clay and shale composition will change slightly as the mining location shifts. This subtle change creates a color variation each time the clay is fired and helps give brick its warmth and character. So, every run of brick (any color) varies somewhat from the last run and can vary dramatically over a period of years. Plus, brick will weather in the wall and as a result it is impossible to accomplish a perfect match when adding on to an existing building, but we can generally get close.
The Four Basic Steps for Proper Brick Cleaning are:
1. Remove all excess masonry particles with a masonry tool or fiber brush;
2. Use plenty of water and thoroughly soak the wall;
3. Use the recommended cleaning product and carefully follow directions;
4. Rinse the wall thoroughly with water. Some brick cannot be wet cleaned. Check the brick tag or with the brick manufacturer for any special instructions before you begin cleaning.
Common Brick Terms
Allowance – $ Amount per thousand for brick allowed for in house estimate
Bullnose – Brick with one rounded end
Cement – The adhesive ingredient in mortar
Course – Horizontal row of bricks
Cube – Typical brick package; bricks stacked on one another bound by steel or plastic bands
Full Head & Bed Joint – Mortar joints filled from front to back
Joint – Gap between brick in wall, typically 3/8″ wide and filled with mortar
Jointing – Process of sealing mortar joints while the mortar is thumb print hard
Mason Sand – Fine granular sand with round particles used in mortar
Splits – Half high brick used to balance courses in a wall
Soldier Course – Row of bricks stood on end with its long face perpendicular to wall’s length
Stretcher – Brick laid with its long face parallel to a wall’s length
Wall Flashing – Flexible material used to direct water to weep holes
Wall Ties – Metal strips placed into mortar joint and attached to wall
Weep Hole – Open vertical joint between bricks allowing water to drain from behind wall
We recommend a base layer of 4” of compacted crusher run gravel (8” for a driveway) and then a setting bed of 1” of concrete sand (not masonry sand). This should provide a long-lasting stable base for your pavers. Laying pavers directly on the ground is not recommended.
Clay paver color is permanent. Sealers are not recommended or necessary for long-term durability or color stability. In fact some sealers can actually harm the performance of the system.
Moss & Weeds
The existence of moss is an indication of poor drainage (in a shaded area) as the saturation of water creates an ideal environment for growth. The best solution is to keep the area dry by improving drainage or elevation although these remedies may not be practical. For moss and organic growth removal, a three-to-one solution of water and chlorine bleach is recommended or a one to one dilution in severe cases.
Weed growth in flexible base paving systems is common in lower traffic areas. Contrary to popular belief, growth takes place in the sand joint and not from underneath the pavers. Weed killer such as Round Up will handle existing growth while a pre-emergent weed killer can be used in the spring as a prevention measure.
Joint sand is the key to providing interlock between pavers and providing cushion between the pavers to prevent paver-to-paver contact and chipping. The sand joint between pavers should be between 1/16” and 3/16”. Concrete sand that has course and angular particles is recommended over mason sand which has rounder finer particles. The joints need to be completely full of sand to function properly and promote interlock in the system. If the sand joints between your pavers are not full then it is important to add more sand to prevent pavement failure. A proper installed base and edge system that drains properly will go a long way towards maintaining full joints.
Joint Sand Stabilization
For the vast majority of applications we do not recommend using joint sand stabilization products. If you do decide to use a joint sand stabilizer, we typically recommend moisture activated joint sand stabilizer and cannot stress enough the importance of the pavers being completely dry and the pavers being sweep and blown completely free on any residual stabilizer prior to activating the product.
We do not recommend a portland cement and sand mixture because the cement tends to get stuck in the small crevices of the pavers and subsequently stain. Efflorescence is also a concern when using a portland cement and sand mixture.
Efflorescence is a crystalline salt deposit on the surface on the pavers that is caused by the migration of contaminated water through the pavers that result in a white or gray powder on the surface of the pavers. The most common source of efflorescence is the use of deicers like rock salt. If you are going to use a deicer we recommend pure magnesium chloride as it will not cause efflorescence.
The simplest remedy to efflorescence is to allow the efflorescence to run its course provided that the paved area has good drainage. In a flexible base application, after 6 months, 90% of the water will run off the paving surface and away from the pavers versus down through the joints. This change should help carry the salts in solution away from the pavement. In all cases, free salts dissipate eventually and the problem goes away for good, generally within 18 months.
Efflorescence can also be removed quickly by dry brushing and then vacuuming up the powder or with clear water and a stiff brush. The crystals are superficial and do not affect the durability of the pavers, but may reappear.
Pressure washers are not recommended for use on flexible base applications. The pressure washer tends to remove joint sand which compromises interlock. We suggest using a stiff application brush and a normal pressured garden hose.
Removing Stains From Pavers
For general cleaning, we would recommend EaCo Chem’s NMD 80 or SureKlean 600. Do not use muriatic acid as the acid concentrations can vary from container to container and higher acid content can produce more stains.
The cardinal rules for cleaning brick are to always pre-test a small area first (preferably in a hidden area), pre-wet the area with water and follow directions carefully.
Sand Set vs. Mortar Set Paver Systems
Both systems have their own unique beauty and appeal. Sand set paver systems are cheaper to install than mortar set paver systems and are also much easier to install. Both systems are durable for many years when installed properly, but sand set pavers have better long-term system durability than mortar set pavers because the mortar joints will break down and create weaknesses in the system over time.
Quality Brick Paving and Landscaping provides top rated Brick Paving Service in Grosse Pointe MI and surrounding areas. Please call us at (248) 837-9991 to schedule a free estimate today!