Choosing The Right Paving Material

Would you believe me if I told you that your choice of paving material could be the single most important decision in building your garden? Your paving material adds color, pattern and texture to you outdoor garden all year long. The entire feel of your space is determined by the paving material selected. Think about it:You may occasionally touch a plant, hold open a gate, or relax on a piece of garden furniture, but your feet are almost always in contact with your garden's surface. So with this being so important and with so many choices, how do you figure out which paving material is best for you?

The great range of paving materials makes shopping and designing fun, but the number of choices can also be a bit overwhelming. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, and some are better suited than others to particular uses and locations. By understanding and exploring your options, you'll be able to make the right choice for your setting and budget.

Listed below is your paving material guide.

1. Concrete

Concrete is the most common paving method used. It comes in either grey or brown, and will look generally the same at your home as any other's. It's low cost per square foot makes it the natural choice of many homeowners as it initially appears relatively inexpensive. In actuality, however,the inevitable cracking of concrete leads to a long-term cost that's far greater than installing paving stones, without any of the benefits pavers offer.

By its nature, concrete shrinks and therefore cracks. Cracks are immediately apparent, visible within 0 to 2 days of placement, while drying-shrinkage cracks develop over time. The reason contractors place joints in concrete pavements and floors is to allow the concrete to crack in a neat, straight line at the

joint, where concrete cracks due to shrinkage are expected to occur.

As you can imagine, the cost of upkeep required by concrete quickly catches up to the price of paving stones, which are warranted for life. In fact, the average homeowner will spend approximately eight to eleven dollars a square foot when

replacing existing concrete!

2. Stamped Concrete

Stamping concrete is a common way of attaining the patterns associated with paving stones at what is assumed to be a cheaper cost than actual pavers.

Unfortunately, stamped concrete is just as prone to crack if not more so than regular concrete, due to the ridges etched out which create the paving stone look. In addition, just like regular concrete, for each repair that stamped concrete requires the uglier it gets. Trying to match the removed, cracked portion of any concrete job with a new piece is impossible without leaving


Concrete is usually colored before it is poured. There are standard colors that can be added to the concrete as it goes into the truck, but the colors are not entirely predictable, and often vary from the intended color.

3. Flagstones

Flagstone is a generic term for thin flat rock that is used for and limited to paving flat surf

aces. Flagstone is named from the location of the quarry it comes from. Arizona red is a reddish sand stone; Pennsylvania blue is a grey blue; Beijing green comes all the way from China. The cost of the stone is proportional to the shipping distance.

Usually a concrete slab is poured and the stone is set in mortar on the slab. However, in the interest of economy and longevity of the job, the stones can be set directly over the soil. This way the stones will then be able to move and shift over time. They will sometimes need adjustments, but will be much more flexible and less likely to crack when set in sand or soil.

4. Pavers

With advances in the skill and technique of laying pavers improving as well as recent price drops - the unrivaled beauty, upkeep, and long-term cost efficiency of a properly executed paving stone installation is becoming more and more apparent.

Paving stones come in a wide variety of surface finishes, colors, shapes, as well as laying patterns to compliment and beautify the architectural style of any home. With a minimum rating of 8000 psi, paving stones are also the strongest paving material

Furthermore, one of the biggest advantages of paving stone is that if a repair ever becomes necessary, stained or broken pavers can be replaced easily, without leaving ugly patches or scars.

5. Travertine

Travertine is a natural material made from Limestone. It is usually thinner and break more easily than a paver. There are many ways to install travertine which will determine the price point. It can be lose laid on a bedding sand like pavers and the cost will be equivalent. The more common way is to pour a concrete slab and set the travertine in a mortar bed.

The cost of travertine can vary greatly. The cost per square foot can be anywhere from $3- $30 depending on the style and application you choose. travertine is such a unique stone, especially when it comes to the mining techniques used to obtain travertine, no two pieces of this stone are exactly the same. This is a big part of why travertine tiling can vary so greatly in cost.

6. Gravel

Gravel is defined as any loose rock that is at least two millimeters in its largest dimension (about 1/12 of an inch) and no more than 75 millimeters (about 3 inches). Gravel is not as popular as other paving materials in the United States, but globally far more roads are surfaced with gravel than

with concrete or tarmac.

Gravel obviously does not offer the same beauty as other paving surfaces, and is normally used where aesthetics is of lower concern. Regular leveling and adding of gravel due to ruts

forming is required to maintain the original look.

Contact us today and let the Kinwood Property Brothers help you start planning your patio space, NOW!

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