Patio-pavers are available in two types, natural stone or man made concrete. There are issues to take into consideration for both types of pavers. These factors include size, shape, styles, price and installation techniques. One of the most important considerations is the weather the pavers will endure throughout the seasons. Some pavers stand up better to cold and snowy weather while others do well under more mild conditions.
Manufacturers make concrete-pavers in many different sizes, shapes and colors. They begin with pressure formed concrete which is a very thick mix and pour the concrete into molds. The manufacturer lets the concrete cure and removes the them from the molds. Man made pavers are very strong and durable. They stand up well to all types of weather conditions. Many styles of man made pavers look exactly like natural stone in texture and color. Concrete is less expensive than natural stone-paver.
You can make your own concrete-pavers. Make or buy concrete forms, mix concrte, pour the concrete into forms and let it cure. While you may feel a sense of accomplishment or feel you saved a little money, home made pavers do not last as long as manufactured ones nor are they as strong because pressure formed concrete is stronger than anything you can mix at home.
You can find concrete-pavers in a wide range of colors. Some pavers only have color on the surface of the paver. Over time the color will wear away from walking on it or fade from the sun. Some man made paver have color all the way through the. This type is a little more expensive but lasts much longer and is well worth the investment.
Brick pavers are also man made. Brick is affordable. Depending on the brick, they usually about the same price as the concrete-pavers per square foot. One great thing about brick pavers is you can buy them from an architectural salvage yard or even find the remains of a demolished building and after asking for permission of the owner be able to pick up some great old brick with aged colors that new bricks can not match. You can also buy new brick if reclaiming brick is not an option for you.
Interlocking concrete-pavers are yet another type of man made paver. They are made to be laid in a bed of sand without having to use mortar. The interlocking pieces are more stable and stronger than pavers that do not lock together whether they are man made or natural stone. They are also very neat and have a uniform appearance with perfect spacing.
Rubber pavers are a fairly new introduction to the home paver market. Rubber pavers are manufactured to stand up to use, traffic, abuse and extreme weather conditions. Rubber pavers are made from recycling rubber products such as old tires. One of the most desirable advantages of rubber pavers is they are slip resistant. They are available in an interlocking designs which makes installing and replacement a breeze, or as a permanent surface solution when adhered in place with adhesive. Rubber patio-pavers are available in variety of shapes, styles and colors. The price of rubber patio-pavers falls in between man made pavers and natural stone. Of all the patio-paver choices, rubber pavers are the easiest to install for a homeowner.
Rubber patio-pavers are installed on top of a layer of crushed stone to allow water to drain away from the pavers. A perfectly level and graded area is not necessary because rubber pavers are flexible although the surface should be as level as possible.
Natural stone-paver are available in a narrow choice of color due to the fact they are cut from stone and stone only comes in a limited number of colors. Stone provides a more casual, rugged natural look than man made pavers. Natural stone-paver, depending on the type of stone, can cost up to ten times more than concrete-pavers.
A major disadvantage to certain porous natural stone choices such as sandstone-paver or limestone-paver, is moisture will collect and freeze inside the stone which will cause the stone to crack, break or flake. Natural stone rarely has a flat surface, which makes the stability of patio furniture questionable. Rocky patio furniture can be a hazard.
Stone patio-pavers can be set in sand, on top of an existing concrete patio as long as it is structurally sound, or in mortar. Natural stone-paver can also be set directly on top of a soil surface with very little preparation.
Consider the location and size of the patio before buying pavers. Avoid small sized pavers in a large area, the patio will end up looking too "busy". If you live in a cold climate, stay away from porous natural stone-paver because cold winter weather will damage and ruin the pavers. Avoid slick and slippery surfaces such as polished granite especially near a pool. Another consideration before buying pavers, ease of cleaning, replacement and stain removal.