Concrete Pavers and Hardscaping FAQ

Listed here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about pavers and hardscaping – everything from product selection to hardscape maintenance and everything in between. Check back often for new additions.

Why should I pick concrete pavers over other choices for my driveway/walkway/patio/etc.?

Concrete pavers enjoy many advantages over their competitors:

  • concrete pavers are available in a wide variety of styles and colors to complement any design or personal style and taste; hardscape design is fun, easy, and exciting;
  • they are relatively easy to install;
  • a paver driveway can be easily plowed, shoveled, or de-iced in the winter;
  • paver installations withstand freeze/thaw cycles without cracking or breaking;
  • they require little to no maintenance, year-round
  • individual pavers, if damaged or stained, can be replaced by simply removing the flawed paver and replacing it with a new one;
  • pavers can be removed and replaced if you need to install new cables or sprinklers, or any other lines need to be run underneath your installation – the entire project doesn’t need to be damaged;
  • paving stone projects increase the value of your home;
  • your beautiful new project increases the quality of life of you, your family and your friends;
  • cost-effective over the life of the project.

For more information on the pros and cons of pavers versus asphalt, concrete, or stone, see this page.

What other materials can I use for my hardscape project?

Though concrete pavers are very popular, they are not the only paving material suitable for most hardscapes. In the paver family you can also find brick pavers and natural stone pavers. Within the natural stone family there is even more variation, as you can use flagstone pavers, granite, limestone, sandstone, and much more for your project. In the slab family, there exists asphalt, concrete, and macadam. You can also use loose stone if you want to go a less expensive route.

What brand should I use?

This depends on a large number of factors, most notably which paver manufacturer is available to you. Other important factors include your budget, your design needs (such as the sizes, shapes, and colors of pavers you want to use), and what your contractor usually works with.

What are the different ways I can use concrete pavers?

There are many different uses for paving stones; the only limit is your imagination! The most popular hardscape ideas include driveway pavers, paver walkway, patio pavers, and pool pavers. Other options include paver steps and stoops, retaining wall pavers, and complements to landscaping. Don’t forget garden pavers and grass pavers, too. Pavers are also installed for commercial clients, and are a great way to increase the beauty and professionalism of your business.

What are the patterns and designs I can make?

Given the creative properties of concrete paving stones, you have a near limitless selection of possibilities to pursue for your next project. For a more detailed discussion of some of your choices, see these articles on paver patterns and paver designs.

Aren’t pavers expensive?

They are not as costly as you think. Pavers are installed by hand and do require a lot of preparation and time in order to be laid correctly and solidly. However, the many benefits of hardscapes outway this initial cost. Asphalt, concrete, or stone driveways, for example, need to be replaced as they crack and shift over time. Concrete paver installations, however, stay beautiful and strong for longer periods of time. Plus, investing in hardscaping is an investment in the property value of your home. See this link for a more detailed discussion of pavers cost.

How do I save money on my pavers project?

The major way to save money on your application is to install it all yourself. Barring this possibility, you could look for pavers for sale to help defray the costs of the materials.

Can I make concrete pavers?

Absolutely! If you want to know how to make concrete pavers, read this article. In short, find or make some paver molds, mix your concrete, pour it, and let it cure. You can make pavers for many projects this way, though it may not be recommended for large scale projects.

Who can install paving stones?

Most homeowners allow paver contractors, or masons, to come in and do the work. However, many hardscaping projects are well within the skills of some homeowners, such that these pavers can be used in DIY paving projects. See this article for a detailed discussion of paver installation.

What is the most important part of my installation?

If you are installing the pavers yourself, or even if you are having someone else do the work for you, it’s best to spend most of your effort and attention on the sub-base to the project. If this foundation isn’t secure, the pavers above will not be as strong as they can be. This entails using concrete sand as the bed underneath the pavers and crushed aggregate as the main ingredient for the sub-base.

How quickly can I walk on my paver project?

As soon as it has been properly edged and compacted with a plate compactor.

How much maintenance do I need to do?

Very little, actually. You may want to try sealing pavers occasionally with concrete sealer, though this is not required. You will have to clean it occasionally when it gets dirty, and potentially refill some of the joints with sand. Otherwise, the project is near maintenance free. Even if you left it untouched, it would probably last for many decades, assuming it was installed well.

What is this white chalky residue on my pavers?

This is called efflorescence, and it is totally normal, especially when pavers are laid over a concrete base. This will go away over time, and will not affect the structural integrity of the pavers.

How do I remove stains on my pavers?

For tips, see this page on stain removal.

Will weeds grow in between the pavers?

Depending on the joint material used to fill in the cracks between pavers, growth of weeds should be minimal. In the case of weed growth, the simple application of weed killer will help remove any growth.

Will any settling of my patio, driveway, or walkway occur?

Proper installation of your project should minimize any settling over time. Other factors may be important, however, such as the material on which the pavers are installed. Make sure you find out what your contractor’s policy is with settling. Many offer a one-year warranty against any settling.

Can my installation be shoveled, plowed, or salted in the winter?

Yes! Shoveling or plowing your walkway, driveway, or patio will not damage your project as long as care is taken. De-icing salts may be used with some brands of concrete pavers, as long as the salts are not used excessively. Check with your contractor or paver manufacturer or supplier for more details about your specific brand.

Is there any warranty on my installation?

It depends on the contractor and manufacturer. Some contractors offer a one year (or more) warranty against settling or cracking, especially after one or two winters or as the hardscaping settles over time. Make clear ahead of time the conditions for the warranty with your contractor. In addition, the specific manufacturer of your brand of pavers may offer a warranty against long-term damage, color fastness, or other features. For example, Nicolock has lifetime limited warranty in residential installations. They guarantee their pavers through their “Paver-Shield” technology: where other pavers have color only on the surface, Nicolock’s pavers have color all the way through, and they guarantee this color for a lifetime. They say: “Paver-Shield is an advanced manufacturing technology that concentrates the highest grade of cement, a selection of the finest sands, and the most vibrant pigment available on the surface to create a durable, color-rich paver.” Cambridge pavers, on the other hand, have their own “ArmorTec” technology, offering a smooth, rich finish: “Manufactured into the top 3/8 inch of Cambridge Pavingstones is color saturated, extra dense concrete made with super-fine sand granules and devoid of any large aggregate (stones). We call it ArmorTec. As a result of this manufacturing marvel, the color remains rich looking and the surface stays smooth, yet skid-resistant.”