Serving the Tri-Valley and East Bay since 1997

Pool Decks

How do pavers hold up around pools? Is chlorinated water damaging?   

Pavers are an excellent substitute for slabs of concrete.  Whether using paver made of Brick, Stone or Concrete, there is a design and type for any pool or spa Jacuzzi.  For maximum protection against pool chemicals and the elements, a good sealer should be used to protect the investment.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT STAMPED CONCRETE AND PAVERS FOR LANDSCAPE

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What pavers are best for pool decks? Should they have a certain surface texture to provide more traction?

There is a wide selection of pool deck paving materials produced from natural stone or man made from cement or clay. Three types of pavers are often featured in and around pool decks.  They are: natural, clay (brick) or concrete pavers.

Each individual type of natural and manufactured paver has different durability, strength and resistance values.  They will have different prices and long term performance variances.

A paving specialist should be consulted to determine which paver type best meets the project requirements.   

Concrete pavers are frequently used for pool decks and are durable, versatile, affordable and tough. They have many qualities making them the perfect choice for pool paving applications. While very smooth in texture, they are salt resistant, slip resistant, and chlorine will not affect their colors. They require sealant to assure best results.      

Brick pavers are a manmade product and are cost effective.  Fired at high temperatures they produce natural earthy tones. They are not affected by chlorine, or sun’s heat. They are both smooth in texture and slip resistant.  There are a number of sealants to further enhance the long-life, slip-resistance, and beauty of this product to ensure even greater protection from pool water and the sun.  A good sealant is highly recommended to insure longer life and best appearance.      

Stone pavers are a natural product from quarried materials.  They are formed over millions of years in sea beds, riverbeds and the earth's core. Natural in texture and varying in colors, they can be sealed to make them slip resistant, and to protect them from salt water, pool chemicals and the elements.

Pavers actually are better than poured concrete around pools as the joints will take on moisture and leave the pavement cooler under foot. However, like any colored concrete, brick, or natural stone, darker colors tend to attract more heat than lighter colors that repel it.  Some pavers’ materials tend to remain slightly cooler, regardless of heat. These include rubber pavers (made from recycled tires), limestone, sandstone, and cobblestone, to name only a few.  

Due to the wide and varying array of pavers and utility sealers, pavers for pool decking have seen rapidly increasing popularity.

Are certain paver types too hot in the sun on bare feet? 

What are some of the pros/cons of pavers vs. stamped concrete?

Stamped Concrete

Pros:

  • Wide selection of patterns and colors·        
  • Can create look of natural stone or segmented paving design at lesser cost·        
  • Colors can be hand blended on site in addition to color added to concrete mix·
  • A sealer is recommended to protect concrete from the elements and pool chemicals

Cons:

  • Initial installation cost of colored and stamped concrete greater than standard pour
  • Difficult for a DIYer to install (professional installer recommended)
  • Control joints and saw cuts are required to help control points where concrete cracks
  • Possibility for deterioration and discoloration from de-icing salt       
  • Repairs require spot patching and matching color of new concrete to old is never exact       
  • Sealer needs to be reapplied every 2-3 years·        
  • Colors fade over time

Interlocking Concrete Pavers

Pros:

  • Won't crack - when installed properly·        
  • Don’t need to replace entire surface if repairs are ever necessary·
  • Repairs are easy and seamless·
  • Paver patterns and colors can be mixed and matched to create striking designs with accent borders and bandings

Cons:

  • Pavers have slightly higher cost than stamped concrete - depending on material and application·      
  • Joint sand needs to be re-applied every couple of years if polymer sand is not used ·        
  • Weeds and small insects can penetrate between pavers unless polymer sand is used·        
  • Dye lots can vary from pallet to pallet – care should be taken when installing to avoid marked changes in coloration. A skilled installer knows how to blend the pavers to eliminate this issue·

Pavers can settle and move over time if they are not installed properly.  Soil and base rock preparation should be compacted properly or the pavers will heave unevenly with the frost

Why do people choose pavers for pool decks?

To many, the difference between pavers versus concrete is in the variety of colors and designs.  Although stamped and colored concrete also offers a wide choice of designs and colors, pavers are longer lasting and can be spot-repaired, if necessary.  Concrete, on the other hand, tends to crack and discolor over time.  Further, if concrete repairs are necessary, larger portions of concrete must be removed and re-poured at considerably higher costs than spot-repair of a few pavers.  Lastly, pavers are more durable and longer lasting than concrete

Driveways

As a rule of thumb, use a minimum of 3”-5” of base material for walkways, 6”-8” for patios, and 8”-12” for driveways.

The sand setting bed should be 1” thick.

For installations on a compacted aggregate base, the subgrade should be compacted to a minimum of 95% Standard Proctor Density (per ASTM D 698).  Higher density or compaction to ASTM D 1557 may be necessary for areas subject to heavy vehicular loads or larger commercial projects.  Stabilization of both subgrade and material may be necessary with weak or saturated soils.    Compacted aggregate should be applied in even lifts of 4” and also compacted to a minimum of 95% Standard Proctor Density.  

The surface of the installed pavers may be up-raised to ¼” inch higher than the final elevations after compaction to compensate for possible settling. Edge restraints should be installed and anchored by spikes.  Always install restraints on the compacted base and prior to placing pavers.  Spikes should never be installed closer than 6” from the edge of the prepared base.  Never use wood timbers edge restraints as they will cup and deteriorate over time.      

Bed sand should not be disturbed after final screeding (i.e. raked, compacted by foot or equipment traffic, etc.).  If the sand is disturbed or allowed to sit overnight, then rework and re-screed the sand bed prior to laying pavers.      

Joints between the pavers should be between 1/16” and 1/8” wide.  Pavers which feature spacer bars (or lugs) may be placed in contact with one another.      
Fill the gaps at the edges of the paved area with cut pavers or edge units.  Pavers that will be placed along the edge should be cut with a masonry saw or paver splitter and should never be cut smaller than one third (1/3) of a full paver.      
Use a low-amplitude, high-frequency plate vibrator capable of 3000 to 5000 lbs. centrifugal compaction force to vibrate the pavers into the sand.  Vibrate the pavers first with no joint sand, and then begin sweeping dry joint sand into the joints until they are full.  This will require at least two or three passes with the plate vibrator.  Do not vibrate within three feet of any unrestrained edge on the paving surface.      
The final surface elevations shall not deviate more than 3/8” under a 10 foot long straightedge  The surface elevation of the pavers shall be ⅛” to ¼” above any adjacent drainage inlets, concrete collars or channels.

What are the subgrade requirements for paver driveways in order to withstand vehicle traffic?

How does a paver driveway compare in cost to alternative driveway materials, such as stamped concrete?

The cost of driveway paving stones is typically greater in terms of initial capital outlay, especially when compared to slab options. For example, the price per square foot for professional installation of pavers will be higher than that of a concrete, stone, or asphalt driveway. However, the paver driveway will pay for itself over time, both in lower maintenance costs and sheer longevity, as it will last for decades. The reason is due to the structure of paver driveways versus any other options.

For concrete and asphalt driveways, the project ends up being one huge, connected slab. While strong, the slab is not as strong as interlocking pavers.  The slab does not do well with freezing and thawing cycles. As water freezes beneath the slab, it forces itself into it. The slab cannot bend, so, in response, it cracks. As freezing and thawing continues, these cracks get worse, eventually forcing a new driveway to be installed.

Pavers do not have a cracking problem. The bed of aggregate beneath the driveway is strong yet flexible. In addition, the joints between the concrete pavers provide the best of both worlds: strength and flexibility. These driveways will not crack from any freezing or thawing.

Slabs do have an advantage of not being susceptible to settling, while interlocking pavers will occasionally settle. However, this is easily fixed, as the offending pavers can be removed and reset as necessary.

Overall, in the long term, the maintenance and replacement costs are lower for paving stone installations than for any other alternate selection.

If pavers are installed properly and sealed by a professional, they are more durable, offer greater design and versatility, and are longer lasting than ordinary concrete.  Properly installed, there should be no settling, breaking or shifting of the surface. By definition, concrete pavers have a minimum compressive strength of 8,000 psi (about 3 times stronger than regular poured concrete) and a maximum water absorption rate of 5%.

Are there cons to paver driveways? For example, is settling or breakage a problem?

Pavers’ requirements for light and commercial foot and vehicle traffic are listed and should adhere to American Society for Testing and Materials C 902 and/or C 1272 Specifications, as outlined on www.astm.org.  Some of that detail is offered below.

Brick Pavers

I. Light-traffic paving brick ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) C 902
This type of paving brick supports pedestrian and light vehicular traffic and is used in applications such as patios, walkways, floors, plazas, and driveways.

Brick Pavers are classified into three weather classes, three traffic types, and three categories related to tolerances, referred to as applications.

Weather Classes

Weather classes and traffic types are distinguished from one another by physical requirements that relate to performance under various weather and traffic exposures.     

Class SX is for uses where water-saturated brick is exposed to freezing.     

Class MX is for exterior uses where resistance to freezing is not required.     

Class NX is for interior uses where brick is protected from freezing while wet.      

Traffic classes       

Type I is for exposure to extensive abrasion, such as sidewalks and driveways in public places.       

Type II is for exposure to intermediate abrasion, such as heavily traveled residential walkways and residential driveways.       

Type III is for exposure to low abrasion, such as floors and patios in single-family homes.

Three Applications

Applications are determined by dimensional tolerances, chippage, and warpage because these qualities affect installation with different joint treatments and patterns.

Application PS installed either with mortar- or grout-filled joints between units in any pattern or without mortar joints but only in a running bond or another pattern that does not require extremely close dimensional tolerances.

Application PX is for installations without mortar joints between units that require minimal dimensional variations because of special bond patterns or other special construction conditions.

Application PA is for units selected for certain appearance characteristics stemming from variations in color, texture, and size. No limitations on dimensional tolerance or warpage are imposed for this category, and edge and corner chippage requirements must be specified.                
a. This application has no slip-resistance requirement; however, ASTM C 902 indicates that slip-resistance should be considered when selecting brick

II. Heavy Vehicular Paving Brick - ASTM C 1272

This type is classified as approved for high volume of heavy vehicles, which is defined as numerous passes of daily truck traffic.  This is typically used on city streets, industrial pavements, and other heavily traveled roads.It is classified into two installation types and three applications addressing tolerances and durability.

Installation Types

Type I Sand set (Type F)

Type II Set in asphalt or mortar (Type R)

Three Applications

Dimensional tolerances

Chippage

Warpage

Clay Brick Manufacturing -Select blends of clay and shale -Molded and pressed into shape either by machine or by hand. After being formed under pressure, it is dried and fired at nearly 2,000° F -Particles fuse to form a very strong bond - withstand loads exceeding 12,000 pounds per square inch.- Must meet ASTM C 902 testing standards specific to paving brick -

Brick for walls contains holes and has lower strength requirements -Must withstand higher levels of moisture, foot traffic and light vehicular traffic -Minimum weight requirement of 8,000 pounds per square inch

Concrete Pavers- Consist of cement and aggregate formed in molds and a vibration process provides the combined materials with density.•       Widely used in commercial real estate and designed to interlock vertically and horizontally to prevent displacement under vehicular traffic loads.•       ASTM C 936 limits exposed face area of concrete pavers to not more than 101 sq. in.•       Length not more than 4 times the thickness in order to provide an interlocking effect.•       Concrete pavers not to be used where speeds are likely to exceed 40 mph•  
Most are made to be installed on an aggregate setting bed with tight sand filled joints, but some are produced for setting in a mortar bed with grouted joints.•       For some shapes, the unit dimensions readily reveal the intended joint width, which indicates the intended setting method: joint widths of 1/8 inch (3 mm) or less indicate sand-filled joints; joint widths of 3/8 to 1/2 inch (10 to 13 mm) indicate grouted joints

Asphalt Block Pavers•       Made from asphalt cement, crushed-stone aggregate, and inorganic dust or filler•       Compacted under hydraulic pressure•       Available in many shapes, sizes, thicknesses, colors, and finish textures.•       Generally much smoother than concrete pavers and most brick pavers•       More resilient than other pavers, making them more suitable than other pavers for locations where they might be subjected to steel-wheeled, fork-lift-truck traffic.

Rough-Stone Pavers•       Cobblestones, oldest and perhaps most durable unit pavers•       Split to size from granite, in roughly rectangular shapes•       May be tumbled after splitting to give them a worn appearance•       Vary in size and have irregular surfaces produced by splitting•       Generally laid in mortar with medium to wide joints 

Two types of rough-stone pavers
Small square blocks, called Durax blocks

Larger, more elongated blocks, varied in size, called Belgium blocks 

What types of pavers are best for vehicle traffic? Should they be a certain size or thickness?

What are the sealing/maintenance requirements for paver driveways?

The requirements for pavers are the same for all construction, regardless if patio, walkway, or driveway in terms of sealant and ongoing maintenance.  If joints are filled with polymer sand at original installation, the need to refill joint sand in 2-3 years is usually eliminated.  Further, weeds, burrowing insects, and water erosion should not occur.  The need for additional sealer for all other types of sand is recommended every few years.  

For best appearance, all pavers should have a sealer reapplied every few years. 

Pavers can be plowed or shoveled just like asphalt or concrete pavements. In fact, the chamfered edges and joints around the pavers promote melting of snow and ice. A plow with a rubber edge is recommended.

Do not use sharp objects to chop ice as they can damage the pavers.

Both sodium chloride (rock salt) and calcium chloride will remove snow and ice but can harm the pavers (and any concrete surface for that matter).

Any product that has the active ingredient Calcium Magnesium Acetate is recommended for paving stone.

How do paver driveways stand up to snow plowing?

What paver sizes or styles are best for walkways? 

Most paver sizes and styles are appropriate for walkways.  It is solely based on a person’s preference.

Any special requirements for pavers exposed to lots of foot traffic, such as skid resistance?

Some paver bricks are not rated for foot traffic.  Wall pavers do not hold up well under foot traffic either. Ask for pavers with ASTM C902 standard specification for pedestrian and light traffic. 
Note: The placement of brick pavers are a crucial part when completing a paver project. If placed below a watershed or hill, clay pavers will gather a lot of slippery fungus during rainy periods without proper drainage.
For proper drainage, install perforated drain pipe, gravel and fine sand.

Walkways

Can deicing chemicals be used without causing damage?

Both sodium chloride (rock salt) and calcium chloride will remove snow and ice but can harm the pavers (and any concrete surface for that matter).  Further, calcium chloride deicers cause efflorescence and should not be used.

Any product that has the active ingredient Calcium Magnesium Acetate is recommended for paving stone.

What walkway widths are best for pavers?

As pavers can be cut and all sizes are available, any width can be accommodated.  The typical width is 36 inches or greater.

What are the subgrade requirements?

As a rule of thumb, use a minimum of 3”-5” of base material for walkways, 6”-8” for patios, and 8”-12” for driveways. The sand setting bed should be 1” thick.

One ton of modified stone or sand will cover 100 square feet at 2” thick. Using a 10' x 10' (100 square feet) patio as an example, requires 1/2 ton of sand for the setting bed (1” thick) and 3 tons of modified stone for the base (6” thick). Additional sand is required (about 5%) for the joints between the pavers.

Are paver walkways cost effective when compared to concrete or stone?

Pavers are slightly more expensive than slab concrete or stone.  However, their long term durability, minimal maintenance costs if polymer sand and good sealant is used, and lesser repair expense, if spot repair is needed, make pavers a better and more cost effective choice.

Why do people choose paver walkways?

Paver walkways offer virtually limitless design and color choices, sizes, material selection, and long lasting durability without cracking or breaking.

  • Variety of design and colors available·        
  • Available options in brick, concrete, or stone material·  
  • Durability·  No cracking or breaking·   
  • Ease of repair and reduced cost of repair, if needed

Why do people choose pavers for their patio versus stamped concrete?

Patios

​What are the pros/cons to patio pavers?

See Pros/Cons in Driveways

Is there a certain size of patio where pavers become unreasonably expensive?

Not really.  The cost between pouring slab concrete and installing pavers is only a difference of a few dollars or less per square foot.  The long term benefits of pavers over concrete is realized in the reduced costs to replace or repair, as well as avoiding  the inevitable cracking that occurs with slab concrete.

Are certain types of pavers or pattern layouts (such as borders or center medallions) more expensive?

Factors such as the specific design or variation of design, color blending of materials, type of paver, complexity of cuts needed to accommodate design, and size of project are all considerations that can inflate the cost of installation.

How well do patio pavers hold up and what maintenance is required?

Pavers are the best choice due to reduced repair or replacement costs versus slab concrete.  If installed and sealed properly, pavers are fairly indestructible.  If repairs are ever needed, only those damaged pavers need to be removed and replaced.  Maintenance is limited to adding sand to the joints every 2-3 years (some can go as long as 5 years between sand “topping” and maintenance resealing in more moderate climates.  If polymer sand is used and sealed at time of installation, the “topping or joint sand addition” may never be necessary.  

Paver patios using polymer sand, properly installed and professionally sealed will go decades without the need for additional attention.

This is not an issue if Polymeric Sand is used.  When activated with water according to manufacturer’s instructions, this sand will harden; inhibiting weed growth, insect infestation, and sand run off from the joints. Generally, polymeric joint sands tend to cost more than C-33 washed concrete sand and masons sand, and requires extra steps and time.  The long term benefits are cost effective.
Further, if polymer sand is not used, the need for “topping” joint sand every 2-3 years becomes necessary.  Also, other types of sand can experience reduced effectiveness in bonding and joint levels are impacted by burrowing insects and weed growth between pavers.   

Is weed growth in between the Pavers joints a problem?

Pavers are an excellent substitute for slabs of concrete.  Whether using paver made of Brick, Stone or Concrete, there is a design and type for any pool or spa Jacuzzi.  For maximum protection against pool chemicals and the elements, a good sealer should be used to protect the investment.

How do pavers hold up around pools? Is chlorinated water damaging?   

Pool Decks

There is a wide selection of pool deck paving materials produced from natural stone or man made from cement or clay.

Three types of pavers are often featured in and around pool decks.  They are: natural, clay (brick) or concrete pavers.

Each individual type of natural and manufactured paver has different durability, strength and resistance values.  They will have different prices and long term performance variances. A paving specialist should be consulted to determine which paver type best meets the project requirements.     

Concrete pavers are frequently used for pool decks and are durable, versatile, affordable and tough. They have many qualities making them the perfect choice for pool paving applications. While very smooth in texture, they are salt resistant, slip resistant, and chlorine will not affect their colors. They require sealant to assure best results.      

Brick pavers are a manmade product and are cost effective.  Fired at high temperatures they produce natural earthy tones. They are not affected by chlorine, or sun’s heat. They are both smooth in texture and slip resistant.  There are a number of sealants to further enhance the long-life, slip-resistance, and beauty of this product to ensure even greater protection from pool water and the sun.  A good sealant is highly recommended to insure longer life and best appearance.    

Stone pavers are a natural product from quarried materials.  They are formed over millions of years in sea beds, riverbeds and the earth's core. Natural in texture and varying in colors, they can be sealed to make them slip resistant, and to protect them from salt water, pool chemicals and the elements.  

What pavers are best for pool decks? Should they have a certain surface texture to provide more traction?

Are certain paver types too hot in the sun on bare feet?

Pavers actually are better than poured concrete around pools as the joints will take on moisture and leave the pavement cooler under foot. However, like any colored concrete, brick, or natural stone, darker colors tend to attract more heat than lighter colors that repel it.  Some pavers’ materials tend to remain slightly cooler, regardless of heat. These include rubber pavers (made from recycled tires), limestone, sandstone, and cobblestone, to name only a few.  

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