Different Types Of Pavers / Paving Explained
There has been an explosion in number of paver types, designs and colours available in the Australian market. Pavers have become a popular choice for home owners to enhance the visual appeal and value of their home and have some distinct advantages compared to other solid surfacing techniques such as cement, liquid limestone or asphalt. There are three main types of pavers available;
Understanding the main differences between the different types of pavers will help you access what paving options might best suit your next paving project.
Concrete Pavers are made from a very dry mix of aggregate, sand, cement , pigments and dyes. Manufacturing processes can vary slightly, generally however very little water is used and the mixture is funnelled into a paver mould. The mould is then pressed and vibrated at the same time, causing the water to set the cement and bind the aggregate. Some manufacturers fire the concrete pavers in large industrial kilns.
In this respect concrete pavers are similar to brick pavers in that they are made of a mixture of raw materials, set in a mold and fired or dried at the manufacturing plant. Like brick pavers the end product is strong and usually suitable for driveway and even road use.
Due to the use of dyes and pigments, concrete pavers offer a broader range of colours, than what is available with brick pavers. Depending upon the manufacturing process the colour of concrete pavers can remain the same for many years, however may not maintain their colour as well as brick pavers. The use of sealants will help concrete pavers maintain their colour for longer.
Concrete pavers generally cost less than brick and natural stone pavers because their raw materials cost less to produce.
Brick Pavers or Clay Pavers
The main difference between brick pavers and concrete pavers, is the use of different raw materials. Brick pavers are made of clay and shale material and for this reason are often referred to as clay pavers
There are several different methods used to manufacturer brick pavers, the most economical and hence most common is the soft mud method. With this method the raw clay is usually mixed with 25-30% sand in order to reduce shrinkage. First the clay and sand ground are mixed with water to the desired consistency. The mixture is then pressed into steel moulds and then fired at 900-1000 °C.
The natural qualities of the raw materials used in manufacturing brick pavers make a hard wearing and strong paving product. The Brick paver ‘s colours are derived from the clay and shale materials used and hence have a natural, very long lasting colour. While brick pavers do offer a variety of colours ranging from light to darker earthy red tones, they do not offer the range of colours available with concrete pavers.
Stone pavers is a general term used to describe a broad range of natural stone pavers. The stone pavers are usually mined or collected from a quarry or rock outcrop and sometimes cut and assembled for sale as a paver. Stone pavers don’t involve the manufacturing processes typically used for concrete and brick pavers where the paver is made of a combination of materials being mixed, pressed and fired.
There are many different types of stone pavers that are available including Granite, Limestone, Marble, Porphyry, Flagstone, Sandstone, Bluestone and Slate. Each which has it own unique properties that will make some of them suitable for particular applications and not others. For example granite pavers are very strong and would be suitable for driveways, while marble would not.
Because of their origin, they look very natural and appealing, however due to the mining process they are considerably more expensive than brick or concrete pavers. They are also more time consuming to install because they may lack uniformity in size. They are generally better suited to walkways and paths rather than vehicle areas. Careful research is required when choosing stone pavers for your landscaping projects.
Paver Types Conclusion
The differences between these types of pavers, needs to be understood when choosing the appropriate paver for your home. The type of paver selected will have an obvious impact on the appearance or look of your area, however it will also have a bearing on the cost, design, installation costs, wear and tear and several other factors. All of these factors need to be considered when choosing the appropriate pavers for your next landscaping project.