Pavers are a useful little tool for your outdoor areas. The “technology” behind them was first put to use in Ancient Rome. Yes. The Romans really did think of just about everything. In Roman times, they used a mixture of lime and sand to densely pack the area, and on top of that they would lay natural stones cut in such a way that they locked into place and would never need to be tended to again, no matter the weather they weather.
That was then, this is now. Natural stone isn’t practical for road construction. Pavers, on the other hand, work wonderfully for roads, driveways, and patios. Put to widespread use in 1940s Holland, these hefty blocks are made of concrete and cast into forms that – like the Romans – lock into place. Pavers arrived in Canada in the early 70s and not long after made their way to the States. Being so bulky and heavy, it’s impractical to manufacture and ship outside of 300 miles. Naturally, with the help of Capitalism, you could practically spit and hit a paver plant. Are pavers right for you, though?
Where Do They Go?
You can use them on your driveway, walkway, or patio. If you’re going to install pavers in your driveway, they have to be interlocking so they can withstand the weight and traffic. Compared to just pouring and leveling concrete, pavers can be laid to create intricate designs that add just a little something extra to the front of the house.
When you use pavers for your patio, though, you have the option of sticking with the interlocking route, or using the architectural slab variety. Architectural slab pavers are made to look more like natural stone, yet the cost a fraction of real stone. There are pros and cons to both, so let’s take a look and see what we find.
The major pro is that these pavers create a clear, designated space for cars or foot traffic. They’re fabricated, so the design style is vast. Interlocking pavers are thick and will last 50 years or more (explains why most come with a lifetime warranty). They cost less than poured concrete and they are very easy to care for as they only require regular sweeping and a wash only when there’s food spills. A unique feature that makes the interlocking pavers more structurally sound than slabs – and partly why the Dutch started using them – is that they won’t crack from foundational shifts. Particularly helpful in earthquake territory.
The cons for this material are mostly cosmetic. Since there are joints in this option, weeds will be able to grow through the spaces. They’re still porous like stone, so they can stain if spills are left unattended. Lastly, they’ll unfortunately face over time with exposure to sun. You definitely want to keep architectural slabs in light traffic areas (walkways and patios). Slab are thinner than interlocking blocks and will break under the tons of weight of a vehicle.
In the end, if you’re looking to spruce up your outdoor space consider pavers as an option. There are enough options to fit practically any design aesthetic and they won’t break the bank. You’re sure to find something right for you and your home with pavers.