Frequently Asked Questions
Why do pavers make a better pavement than asphalt or concrete?
Properly installed pavers stones provide a superior pavement to asphalt and concrete in a freeze/thaw environment. Paving stones provide a rigid yet flexible pavement that will expand and contract with the freeze/thaw cycles. Each paving stone provides and expansion joint to allow this movement, unlike concrete slabs that have expansion joints formed and cut into them. Paving stones can also be easily dismantled to make repairs to utilities that may be underneath the surface, and then repaired without a path quilt look to the pavement.
How long do concrete pavers last?
Our concrete pavers last over 30 years. This is much longer than other pavements under normal residential use.
How do pavers compare with patterned or stamped concrete?
Patterned concrete pavements are merely slabs of concrete that are embossed with a pattern. Therefore, they are prone to the same problems with freeze/thaw cycles, namely cracking and palling.
Are all paving stones interlocking?
Some paving stones interlock based on their shape. Others achieve interlock by the laying pattern. When installed on a proper base with one inch of sand as a setting bed, and proper joint sand placed between the paving stones, all paving stones achieve interlock.
I have an existing concrete walkway that’s in pretty good shape. Can I lay down pavers over it?
While not the preferred method, pavers can be laid on top of existing concrete walkways. Two issues must be addressed. First, the grade will be raised by about 3” (the thickness of the pavers plus the bedding sand). This is particularly critical if any doorways are involved. Second, if the existing concrete slab should raise or drop with freeze/thaw conditions, then the pavers will do the same.
Can I use pavers on my pool deck?
Not only do pavers make an attractive pool deck, but they also provide a slip-resistant walking surface. Pavers actually are better than poured concrete around pools from the standpoint that the joints will take on moisture and leave the pavement cooler under foot. Like all products that are used outdoors, lighter colors will tend to stay cooler as they reflect the sunlight. Furthermore, bullnose pavers make a nice pool coping. Safety covers can also be installed over pavers with the use of special anchors.
Does the color fade over time?
No, color in concrete paving stones does not fade. Dirt, dust and other inert matter can mask the color in the paving stones.
How do I remove snow from my paving stone driveway or walkway?
Paving stones can be shoveled and plowed the same as a concrete or asphalt pavement. The chamfered edges around the paving stone help to prevent the edges of the plow from hitting the corners of the stones. A plow with a rubber edge is preferred.
Can dirty or broken pavers be replaced?
Yes, you can be assured of replacement pavers by keeping extras from the job. When replacing a paver, scrape out the sand in the joints from those surrounding the paver to be removed. Use two screwdrivers to wiggle it out. Others can be removed by hand. Insert the new paver, replace the joint sand, compacting the paver into place with a rubber mallet.
Will freezing and thawing damage pavers?
No, damage from ice is virtually non-existent. The joints allow the pavers to move without cracking in freeze and thaw cycles.
If pavers need to be removed for below grade repairs, can I replace them afterwards?
Yes, unlike other pavements, concrete pavers can be easily removed and reinstated without any visual or functional changes.
Will the aggregate area absorb or hold water?
No, when compacted properly, its density will minimize deformation and/or heaving of the paved surface during freezing or thawing.
Will the bedding sand be loosely screened to a depth of 1”, but no thicker than 1 ½” thick?
Yes, the loosely placed, even layer of washed, course sand provides on the sand and compacted, the sand moves up into the joints. This causes the pavers to interlock and become level after compaction.
Are the joints filled between the pavers?
Yes, with clean fine sand. The sand should be dry sand so it will flow freely into the joints. The pavers are compacted during and after filling to begin interlock of the units and prevent sand from washing from the joints.
Do I need to seal the pavers?
No, pavers are extremely durable. Sealing, however, may enhance the colors and may prevent staining. Sealing will also help to bind the sand in place and prevent germination of weed seeds that may collect at the surface of joint sand. One disadvantage to sealing paving stones is that it would need to be sealed every couple of years. Allow a minimum of 60-90 days after completion of the installation before sealing. Consult your supplier for recommendations on cleaning and sealing.
Will weeds grow up from my paving stones?
The growth of weeds or grass can result from seeds blowing and lodging in the joint sand. Weeds do not grow up from the bottom through the quarry process. Controlling these weeds is a simple solution. Mix a pre-emergent weed killer into the joint sand. Should weeds germinate over time, the use of a post emergence weed killer, such as Round-up, can be spot sprayed to control the problem.
Retaining Wall Systems
How high can walls be built without the use of geogrid?
Walls can be constructed between 2’ and 6’ high depending on the type of unit, soil conditions, amount of batter used, and surcharged on top of wall.
What is geogrid?
Geogrid stabilizes the soil mass behind the retaining wall and ties the wall face to the earth being retained. Typically made of polypropylene, geogrids are open-celled, directional fabrics that are placed between the layers of block at different intervals.
Are concrete footings ever necessary or required?
Most walls can be built directly on 4-6” of well compacted granular base. Generally, the higher the wall, the thicker the base. You do not have to dig down below the frost line. However, there may be occasion to consider the use of a concrete leveling pad.
What do I use to backfill my wall?
The first 6”-12” behind the wall should be backfilled with ½” – ¾” clean stone to help relieved any hydrostatic pressure that might build up. The area directly behind the stone should be compacted soil.
I need steps in my retaining wall. What can I do?
All retaining wall products can be used to build steps. The wall units are used for the riser and the caps for the treads (bullnose pavers can also be used for treads).
Should I use a corrugated plastic pipe (drain tile) behind my wall to drain water away?
Due to their mortar-less construction, segmental retaining walls will naturally “weep” to relieve any hydrostatic pressure that builds up behind the wall. As a rule of thumb however, it’s a good idea to use a drain tile directly behind the wall units at grade level for all wall applications.
Can I make a curved wall with wall systems?
One of the many advantages over a railroad tie wall is that walls, with either inside or outside curves, can be built with all wall systems. Blocks with tapered sides are use for outside curves, and inside curves can be created by placing the front corners together and gapping the units in the back.
What do I use to adhere the caps on my retaining wall?
Use a high strength, flexible concrete adhesive, such as paver bond, to affix your wall cap.
Can I build a freestanding wall using any retaining wall systems?
Absolutely! Use double sided wall to increase your creative options for walls that are functional and look great.
When should I involve an engineer in the design of my wall?
A licensed engineer should be involved on projects with taller walls (above 4’) or with unusual site conditions (steep slope, parking lot or structure putting pressure on wall). Local building codes may also necessitate the use of a licensed engineer for walls above a certain height.
What are terraced walls and how do I plan for them?
Terraced walls are two or more walls placed in a multi-level arrangement. The second wall should be located behind the first wall at a distance of at least twice the height of the first wall under ideal soil conditions. Walls constructed in this method should not exceed four (4) feet high each.