Saturday, January 06, 2007

Interlock Pavers...where to start???

Ok, so you were thinking about an interlock patio, walkway or even a new driveway... but where does one start??? Lots of companies in Southern Ontario produce this stuff and each individual company makes their own colour choices & patterns.

But who's got the better product???

The truth? No one! The better question to ask would be which one suits your tastes more?

The engineering for concrete brick pavers sold in Ontario is regulated by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA website). The products sold in the U.S. are regulated by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM website). This means the man-made material products that are sold in the landscape market are generally the same quality in strength and durability. The only differences are brand names with different colour dyes, shapes, textures and prices!

Those thinner bricks you find in certain "Box Stores" are in a different category to themselves in terms of strength.

Now having jumped that hurdle, visit a few stoneyards with materials on display. See which one catches your eye and get a unit price based on the square foot (sq. ft.) for each material. The going rate for most concrete pavers ranges between $2.00 to $7.00 per sq. ft. ... that is before installation costs.

A contractor may charge $10.00 to $20.00 per sq. ft. to supply and install. That should be followed by a 1 to 2 year guarantee against movement or settlement (price depends on material choice and total amount of the square foot area). Typical base depths for walkways and patios should be set at 6 inches deep, plus the depth of the bricks.

A driveway should be set at 8 inches or more, plus the depth of the brick. A deeper base is determined by heavier vehicle loads parking or driving on the surface....the heavier the vehicle, the deeper the base should be.

Things to consider:
  • Colour: One school of thought is to match colours of bricks to the colour of your house bricks... that is either hit or miss and can look a little cliché by having too much of a mono-tone colour overload. You want a colour that compliments or accents the house.
  • Texture: Tumbled or smooth brick finish? Depending on the look you want to achieve, tumbled bricks can give that weathered or aged look and a feel of almost natural cobblestone. Smooth finish looks more like a tiled floor.
  • Salt: Sealing the bricks can prolong the effects of winter road salt from damaging the brick surface. Using non-corrosive de-icing products can help, but as you park your car over the bricks, the road spray that collects underneath the car will drip down and corrode the brick finish over time.
  • Snow: Is a plow contractor clearing your brick driveway?... expect scrapes and gouges to be prominent by spring. To minimize the damage, ask the contractor if they have a rubber or composite scraping edge on their plow blade.
  • Weeds: It happens and cannot be avoided! Placing a geotextile fabric under the bricks does nothing. Weeds will seed and grow in the joints of the bricks from surface soils or dust that washes in...grass spreads by runner-roots & seed. Round-up works nicely on weeds ... be mindful of over-spray on grass & perennials.
  • Polymeric and Joint Stabilizing Sands: These types of sands can help deter weeds from forming once brushed and washed into the joints. It helps to stabilize the bricks from moving individually and forms a hard surface that deters weeds from rooting.

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