Want to Buy Brick Pavers? Read This First

If you are starting a new DIY paving project in your front or backyard of your home, such as a patio, walkway, driveway, and more, and you are using brick pavers, you are probably here because you are interesting in buying brick pavers for your project. However, before you buy brick pavers, there are a few things you should know. This includes the prices you’ll pay, how to save money on your pavers, and other options that are available to you if you find brick to be too expensive or not appropriate for your project.

Types of Brick Pavers

Unlike their cousins (concrete pavers and natural stone pavers), there aren’t as many options available when it comes to colors, shapes, and sizes of brick. Most will come in the ‘standard’ brick size. As a result, your patterns and designs will be somewhat limited, especially when compared to other options. Due to the hardness of the clay, it is difficult to cut them into the shape you want, so you should use brick pavers only if you want the traditional look of laid brick.

In addition, there are fewer colors of brick available than what’s available in concrete and stone. If the brick goes with your decor, then this probably doesn’t matter to you, but keep in mind that there are other options available to you if you want to explore other designs. (See the discussion below for some leads.) You will see red brick as the most common, though browns, blacks, and other colors are possible.

However, you might also find that these limitations are useful in that they make it easier for you to make your selections. Before you begin your research, you should narrow down the shape, size, and color of the brick you want. This will help you during the research process, though you will not be that hindered if you go into it unprepared.

The Costs of Brick Pavers

Note that much of this discussion of costs depends on the square footage of your project, so be sure to measure that out before you do your research. Realize as well that you’re going to be buying more brick than you need, both for cuts and for wasteage.

For the material, you will pay around $5 to $15 per square foot. The exact pavers cost relies on so many factors that it’s hard to pin down an exact one for you given your different areas and needs. Just know that if you get pavers on the low end of this scale, you’re getting a pretty good deal. Note that concrete pavers are a cheaper option, so if budget matters, consider looking into these.

How to Save Money on Clay (Brick) Pavers

When it comes to saving money on clay pavers, it’s all about knowing where to buy brick pavers in the first place. Here’s a listing of the best places, both offline and online, to do that.

You should always start with the usual suspects when it comes to home improvement – stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. They will have a limited selection in types and colors, though, and you may not get the best prices through these sources. Thus, just use these bricks and prices as a guideline.

If these places don’t have the brick you want and need, you should try mason supply yards next. This is a requirement if you need a large number of brick. If you just need a few for some stepping stones or garden border, a home improvement store is probably fine. But if you are constructing a patio or walkway and need them by the pallet, you will definitely need to go with a mason supply yard or other materials supplier.

You can also check with online companies for discounts and other good deals. Note, however, the importance of geography here: you might find a great deal on brick pavers but actually end up paying more due to high shipping costs. In general, it’s best to stay as local as possible, since the shipping costs will be lower and already factored in to the price you’ll pay. Note though that you’ll also have to pay a delivery charge to have the brick brought to your home, though if you have a big vehicle you could transport them yourself.

Probably the best ‘underground’ option is to check out classified ad sites like Craigslist. Many homeowners rip out old brick walkways, driveways, and other projects, but don’t want to pay for the disposal of the brick. They then post them for free, or at least a nominal charge, on craigslist. As long as you can come and pick them up, they’re yours. Granted, you’ll have to get lucky with the color, type, and condition of brick you get, but this is a phenomenal way to get an amazing deal on used brick.

Another way to save money is to get ‘thin brick’ and lay it over an existing concrete slab. Thin pavers over concrete should only be done  if the slab below is in good condition; if it cracks, you may have a problem with the surface of the paver project over time.

Finally, the other major way to save money on your pavers is to install them yourself. If you pay a contractor for installation, you will pay much more for the project above and beyond the materials costs. Thus, if you have any skill and willingness to do the work yourself, consider doing as much of hte work as you can. Of course, if there are certain parts of the project that are beyond your skill, consider hiring out subcontractors for those portions of the project.

NOTE: Don’t buy regular bricks that you’d use for walls or facing! These are actually different than ‘brick pavers,’ which are made to withstand soil and water. Regular brick will fall apart if you use them for these ground applications.

Other Options

If you have your heart set on interlocking pavers, realize that there are other types out there beyond brick, types that may actually turn out to be better for your budget and your project. Check out concrete pavers as the main alternative option when it comes to paving stones. If budget isn’t an issue, than natural stone pavers can be a wonderful addition to your home.

Finding Slabs for Sale: Some Useful Advice

If you have a home improvement project that you want to DIY or hire a contractor to install, you will need to buy the materials that will be needed for the installation. If budget is a concern for you, you’ll want to do what you can to save money on the materials. This brief ‘slabs for sale’ guide will give you a basic overview of the kinds of slabs available, where you can find them, and how you can get deals.

Types of Slabs

Ultimately, the type of slab you want will depend on the project that you are creating. If you are going for outdoor projects, such as patios, driveways, and the like, you’ll want to go with stone, rock, and concrete slabs. (Note that there are many different kinds of ‘stone,’ from sandstone to marble and more.) If you are looking for slabs for an indoor installation, such as for a countertop or tabletop, you can look for wood or stone slabs. Granite slabs, for instance, are quite popular for these applications.

For outdoor slabs, the particular kind of slab you will use will depend on the project. Let’s assume, for example, that you’re building a patio. You will probably want to go with harder options for your patio slabs, such as concrete or hard stone.

If you are looking for indoor slabs, you will either choose between wood or stone, of course ultimately depending on the type of project you are doing. For a countertop, you may want to go for granite; for a sink, bathtub, or other area, you could go with soapstone.

Wood slabs come in a variety of types, from redwood to walnut and everything in between. The dimensions and thicknesses of these slabs vary widely, so you should be sure about the specs of your ideal slab before you go out searching, as there is no ‘standard’ size given that they can becut to order.

Note as well that within each category of slab there is variation in color, size, texture, and general features. Thus, you’ll want to pick your material first, and then figure out which particular slab you want for the project.

Where to Find Slabs for Sale

One of the reasons why slabs are so expensive is that they are heavy and hard to transport. Thus, you will want to minimize the distance the material is transported for it to reach your home. In some circumstances, such as with stone paving slabs, you have little control over this, as the nearest quarry may be far away. As a result, you’ll pay more for the slab due to the shipping charges involved in its transport.

That said, don’t just rely on local options for slabs, though that may be the cheapest option in most circumstances. Your first shot is mason supply yards and other materials yards. You can check out home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, but it’s very unlikely you’ll find a great deal there due to the markup.

After exhausting local supplies, check online for slab wholesalers. Even if they are far away, you may save more overall even though they have to be transported if you can buy cheap slabs in the first place.

In addition, keep your eyes peeled on sites like Freecycle and Craiglist. Homeowner will sometimes have extra slabs that they don’t need; perhaps they bought too many or are removing an old installation. Whatever the reason, they may be willing to let the slabs go for a low price or even for free. Of course, before committing to any purchase or transfer of goods, personally inspect the material. You don’t want to be stuck with something that doesn’t meet your specifications, even if it is ‘free.’ If you’re looking for the best, cheapest option, this is by far the one. However, you won’t get the guarantees and peace of mind that you would with regular companies; you also might not get the exact type and amount of slabs that you want. Still, it’s a good risk to take, as you could save a TON of money this way. I highly recommend this above the other options.

Slabs Prices Estimate

Note that the following discussion can’t take into account regional and quarry differences in the quality and quantity of material available. If the slab you select is lower quality, you’ll pay less money; if there’s less of the material available, and thus quite rare, you’ll pay more. Since so much is subject to regional variations, we can only give you a general discussion of the costs. These are prices that you’d pay from a typical supplier, so if you find them at the low end or below this range, you know you’re getting a good deal.

As you might expect, stone slabs are much more expensive than concrete and wood slabs. This is because this stone is cut from the earth and shaped according to your specifications. Granite, as one example, is a very popular but expensive material, so if you can find granite slabs for sale, you’ll save a ton of money on your project.

The price you’ll pay for these materials will vary greatly, so we can only give you a basic price for each of these materials. Limestone slabs are very, very cheap – usually around $5 – $10 per square foot. Marble slabs will run you around $10 to $20 per square foot. Soapstone will run you around $1000 for a sink, or $20 per square foot for a slab. Granite slabs will cost you, as most slabs do, per square foot, a number that will usually hover around $30 to $40, though you will usually pay around $50 to $60 per square foot for the installation. Slate slabs will cost around $10 -$20 per square foot.

Wood slabs will vary depending on the size, quality of wood, and type of wood, but you can expect to pay on the order of $100-$300 per slab.

Concrete slabs are by far the cheapest option for you. You can either make them yourself (very cheap) or buy them and have them delivered. You will usually pay around $4-$8 per square foot for this material.

The Verdict

Overall, it’s hard to give an exact price, given the huge number of variable involved, but we hope at least you have an idea of the ‘order of magnitude’ of prices you may pay. Note that these don’t often include shipping costs, as this will depend on your location relative to the company or supplier.

10 DIY Concrete Pavers Tips

If you are thinking of trying your hand at a DIY concrete pavers project, there’s a lot you should know before you begin. Whether you’re building a driveway, walkway, patio, or some other project, the more informed you are, and the more effort you put into the project, the better the final results.

While we can’t give you every piece of information you’ll need – though much of it can be found in other articles on this website – we can give you the top 10 most important pieces of information that you can use for your DIY pavers project. Some of them have to do with cutting costs, others with making sure the project is built correctly, and still others about paver designs and project ideas. All together, these tips represent the most important things you should know (and think about) before attempting your own paving project:

Ten DIY Concrete Pavers Tips

(1) Plan ahead – don’t wing it and expect that the project will turn out brilliantly. Think about the project you want to make, its dimensions, its patterns and designs. For instance, if you’re laying a DIY paver patio, sketch out its dimensions on paper and then use spray paint, stakes, and string to lay out the dimensions of the project in your yard. The more you plan, the better you’ll be able to anticipate potential problems. Plus, it will tell you how much material you’ll need.

(2) The key to any paver project is its base. The more effort you put into the sub-base – made of crushed aggregate and sand – the better the project will turn out and the longer it will last. Don’t take shortcuts here – it may be tempting to lay the pavers over concrete, but this will be a suboptimal solution. You might consider contracting this part of the process if you don’t feel comfortable in your abilities.

(3) Though DIY paving projects are a great way to save money, don’t go too cheap, both in the amount of time and money you spend. You don’t want substandard materials, especially the brick, as these will fade and break over time. You want to use quality material and quality tools in addition to quality processes to ensure that the final product will turn out to be of professional grade.

(4) Speaking of grades, pay special attention to making sure the slope of your project will permit water to drain in the right places. The project should slope away from the home, flowerbeds, or any other sensitive area; if possible, have it slope towards a drain of some kind so that the majority of the water will leave your property (this is most appopriate for driveways that are close to the street). Having a flooded basement or landscaping can ruin what was otherwise a successful project!

(5) When digging, be careful not to dig up any utility lines. This can be both expensive and dangerous if you cut or damage these lines. If you don’t know where they are, hire a utility expert (or ask the town) to find out where the lines are.

(6) If you are thinking about installing more than one project (such as a paver walkway and patio), consider doing them at the same time. “Chunking” them in this way will be the most efficient, both in terms of time and money, as you’ll be able to order materials and pavers in bulk and use your own time and labor more efficiently than if you separate the installations of the projects in time.

(7) To that end, do think about adding other additions to your projects. If you started out thinking only of doing a DIY patio pavers project, for instance, you may want to consider adding a walkway, driveway, pool deck, garden project, or other application to the schedule. If you already have the materials and the time, it may not be that much more expense to expand the project and have more of your yard look integrated within the overall design.

(8) Though we advocate concrete pavers here, do realize that there are other hardscape options at your disposal, such as brick and natural stone pavers. While these materials are more expensive than concrete, you will at least be able to install them yourself, removing labor costs from the equation.

(9) Use the right tools for the job. This will save you both time and aggravation. You don’t have to buy these paver tools, either – you can rent a plate compactor and diamond blade wet saw, for example.

(10) If you are unsure, ask for help. Your paver manufacturer is the first source to go with specific questions about your project, as they will be able to offer you free advice that may help. For more specific, urgent problems, lean on the advice of paver contractors, even if this means you have to pay one for the help. Paying a little up front for good information may save you a lot of money and hassle down the line.

Concrete Stamps for Sale: Finding and Using Them

One of the great advantages of concrete is its relatively cheap price and ease of installation. However, its main downfall, besides the problem of cracking, is its looks – concrete is grey, drab, and pretty boring to look at. It goes fine with most decors, but it isn’t the most optimal material to use for most projects.

However, there are ways to spruce up your concrete project so that it will be more stylistically interesting. The most common method is installing stamped concrete. Stamped concrete has particular designs, shapes, and textures ‘stamped’ into the wet concrete in order to make it look like something else. Combined with concrete paints and finishes, an otherwise boring slab of concrete can be made to look like something finer – concrete or natural stone pavers, bricks, and even wood! Luckily, making your own stamped concrete is relatively easy, as long as you can pour it yourself, making installing stamped concrete a viable DIY project for many homeowners who have the skills and time. Note, however, that some stamping projects can be challenging, so when in doubt, go with a professional whose work you admire to ensure that your project turns out right.

If you are interesting in a do it yourself stamped cement project, you’ll need to buy concrete stamps that you can use to create the designs you want. This article will describe the tools, materials, and products you’ll need for successful concrete stamping. It will also give suggestions for how to find and save money on concrete stamps for sale.

The Different Kinds of Concrete Stamps

The number of concrete stamp patterns out there is simply astounding. You can find every kind of designs, from regular patterns like brick and stone to irregular shapes and textures. You can also find interesting shapes and designs that you can use to make your concrete patio, walkway, driveway, pool deck, or other installation uniquely your own.

The following is a list of decorative concrete stamps – it is not an exhaustive list, of course, but it does cover many of the most popular varieties of designs and textures. Using stamps, your concrete can look like:

  • Stone
  • Rock
  • Tile
  • Brick
  • Pavers
  • Granite
  • Cobblestone
  • Wood
  • Pebbles
  • Slate

You can also add the following textures and designs:

  • Seamless textures
  • Beach
  • Borders
  • Fans
  • Circles
  • Animals
  • Names
  • Words
  • and much, much more.

In fact, it may even be possible to make or obtain custom stamps – you are thus only limited by your imagination and your budget.

The Properties of Concrete Stamps

Most stamps are made from rubber and plastic, making them flexible, light, and easy to work with. They can be easily washed and reused from job to job, so you won’t have to worry about having to buy new ones.

There are two main types. For small jobs, you can simply buy one unit stamps or stencils. For instance, if it’s a shape of dolphin, you only need to have a single dolphin stencil that you apply where needed. However, if you have a pattern that repeats, such as a cobblestone, paver, brick, or stone appearance, you’ll need to buy mats. Mats are simply big versions of normal stamps – they contain the “unit pattern” so that you can have it repeat regularly throughout the entire surface of the concrete. These mats vary in size, depending on the pattern, but most are in the 4 square feet range.

Using Concrete Stamps – Some How To Notes

How many stamps will you need? Stamps can be expensive, so you may feel tempted to save money by skimping on the number you purchase, but don’t! You’ll need at least enough to go across the whole width of the project, plus a couple to start the next course. Think about it – you want the texture or pattern to be even and nicely distributed. Any mistakes can be costly to the appearance of the final project. In addition, you want to be able to stamp everything necessary within the time that the concrete is wet and amenable to stamping. If you are too slow, you may have serious problems with the final result.

Note that stamps should only be used on concrete 2 inches thick or more. While stamping and staining may be a potential DIY project for someone with the experience and skills to do it, it can be challenging, and mistakes can make a concrete slab look terrible – this can be a very expensive mistake to make. Unless you have the chance to practice and find out what works, it may be best to leave all this to the professionals. In that case you wouldn’t have to buy or rent concrete stamps, so it may be worth it in the end.

The Cost of Concrete Stamps

The cost of the stamps depends on a number of factors, including the size and pattern of the stamp. In general, expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $250 per stamp. Most of the time, these stamps are bought by contractors who will use them on the job. This is due in part to the fact that these stamps are incredibly expensive for many homeowners to purchase in the quantity necessary. However, there are other options available to these homeowners, including renting and buying used stamps. See the saving money section below.

What Else You May Need

There are some other concrete stamping tools and products you might need to fill out your concrete project. First, in terms of using the stamps, you may need floppies or flexes; a tamper; and other hand tools. If you want to give your concrete a different color or stain, you may need acid stains, colors, release agents, and other materials. You may also need particular forms and molds to properly shape your concrete creations.

Saving Money on Concrete Stamps

One way to save money if you need stamps for a single job is to find stamps for rent. Finding rental concrete stamps may be difficult to do if you don’t have a supply yard or a contractor in your area willing to do this. You may also be able to find used concrete stamps for sale, either from individual homeowners or from professional contractors.

Note that it also may be possible for you to create your own stamps and patterns out of materials and objects laying around your house. Use your creativity and don’t be afraid to test on sample (and eventually disposable) concrete.

Ten Tips for Finding Concrete Molds for Sale

Homeowners are not limited to basic concrete structures – recent innovations allow homeowners, contractors, and DIYers to produce concrete creations that look professionally done. Finding the best concrete molds for sale, however, can be challenging. Here are ten tips to consider:
  1. First, consider the feasibility of making your own forms before looking for concrete molds for sale. This is especially viable if you are making a large structure like a patio, walkway, driveway, slab, etc. where the shape is regular and doesn’t require especially skillful craftsmanship. With these, some boards or foam walls are all you need to create the flat, thick structures you need. However, for more complex molds and shapes, like statue molds and bench molds, you may not be able to make them yourself and thus will have to buy them.
  2. When purchasing your molds, you need to know the kind of project you’re working on, as there will be different molds and forms for different jobs. There is literally a mold or form for anything you can imagine – paver molds, block molds, wall molds and facings for walls, veneers, statues, sinks, tubs, benches, bird baths, stepping stones, balusters and balustrades, and more! There are literally too many different types of molds available to list them all here. In general, if you want to make something out of concrete, you will likely be able to find one for sale or at least be able to make one. Ask a local contractor, manufacturer, concrete expert, or homeowner supply store for more information and advice on specific projects.
  3. There are many different types of materials that the molds are made from. The most basic ones use wood or foam. The more advanced and complex molds will use special kinds of plastic, latex, or rubber.
  4. First check local supply stores, mason yards, contractor supply stores, and home improvement stores. These places will have concrete forms for sale, or at least the items you’ll need to construct your own forms.
  5. For more specialized or specific molds, you may have to go online and look at ecommerce and specialty sites. The offerings online are nearly endless, as you can get various functional and decorative pieces for a good price. You may have to pay more for shipping, especially if they are large, but it may be worth it to get the molds you want.
  6. There are also certain molds that let you ‘mass produce’ smaller pieces that you can put together into larger structures. This includes paver, block, and brick molds. The more bricks you can produce, the quicker you can install your project. These molds may be a great alternative to purchasing concrete pavers, as it’ll be cheaper (though slower) to make them yourself.
  7. Consider as well adding colors and materials to the concrete itself. This can expand the design options available. Don’t forget to get sealant for your concrete creations too.
  8. Consider buying your concrete molds and forms used. If you buy used concrete molds for sale, you will save anywhere from 20 to 50% on the price. You can buy them from homeowners and other people who may be selling them. Check online for cement molds for sale at sites like craigslist and Ebay for leads. As always, be careful when entering in any transactions with individuals you don’t know. There are no guarantees that the products you buy will be in great condition – in fact, there are no guarantees you’ll get your products at all! Always use caution when entering in these transactions to avoid scams. However, if you can deal with the risk, you’ll be able to get molds for low prices.
  9. The cost of the molds you buy will depend on their size, complexity, and so on. For simple shapes, you will pay anywhere from $10 to $40. For more complex designs, such as baluster molds as an example, you can pay hundreds of dollars. Sets will also cost more, as there will be more molds included in order for you to complete all the pieces of the project.
  10. Consider the design possibilities that you can achieve with concrete molds for inside and outside your home – you no longer need to hire a sculpture to chip away at stone or concrete to get you the structures you want, nor do you have to have the structures shipped to you at great cost.

Tips for Finding Cinder Blocks for Sale

There are many uses for cinder blocks at home or on the job. Using these blocks is so easy that finding cheap cinder blocks for sale might be the hardest part of the project! The most common use for cinder blocks is creating a wall or retaining wall. However, if you use your creativity, you may find other good uses for the block. One use is creating temporary or permanent steps or stoops. You can use the holes in the block for creative options, such as planter borders in your garden or shelves and storage units in your garage. You could make a barbecue or fire pit out of your blocks, or add other concrete slabs to make a bench. Add some cement or mortar and you can make these structures strong and permanent, or leave out the mortar if you’d like the option to take them apart later.

We know there are plenty of uses for cinder blocks, but where can you find them? And how much are you going to pay when you do?

(Note that there is also a type of block called ‘concrete block.’ While they are largely the same for most purposes, you might find that concrete block are heavier and stronger, and thus more suitable for certain jobs. The price you’ll pay for these concrete block will reflect this difference. This article only considers the cinder variety.)

Where to Buy Cinder Blocks for Low Cost

If you are looking to buy cinder blocks, there are a number of places you can look. The traditional places to look are actual stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and other home improvement stores. You could also check mason supply yards if you are comfortable going to those places, and if you do you might find a great deal.

The less traditional places to find cinder blocks are online. The best place is probably sites like Craigslist. Many people offer their block their for $1 or less. Some may even let you have them for free if you come and remove them yourself! However, there are some cautions when dealing with Craigslist. Some people will not e-mail you back, or they might try to take advantage of you. You need to avoid scams or dangerous situations – always bring someone with you when you go to pick up the blocks to make sure everything goes smoothly. In addition, you’ll want to verify the condition of the block in person before 100% agreeing to the transaction. Some people may be less than forthcoming concerning the condition of the block, so you want to make sure you get a good look at them before agreeing to any deal.

Cinder Blocks Cost

Cinder block price will depend on a number of factors. The general price of cinder blocks will range from less than a dollar to two dollars or more for each block. How much you pay will sometimes be random, but often there will be a connection with the quality of the block, so don’t settle for something cheap if you need to make sure they’ll hold against the weight and forces you’ll be subjecting it to. The cinder block cost at home improvement chains like Home Depot will run you around $1.00 to $1.50, though you may get a better deal if you buy in bulk or if you find a sale.

Brick and Concrete Pavers for Sale: How to Get A Great Deal

One of the greatest expenditures you need to make when installing your next driveway, patio, walkway, pool deck, or other paver project is the cost of the pavers themselves. The price of the pavers will vary on a lot of factors, but the more you can save, the better the price per square foot that you’ll have to pay. This can truly add up if you have a large project or multiple projects that you want to install. In fact, the more square footage you install at a time, the more overall you’ll save, as you’ll make the installation process more efficient than if you have contractors come back multiple times to do separate jobs. Note that the same pavers can be used multiple projects – driveway pavers are the same as pool pavers and so on.

Some Tips to Buy Pavers

Often the contactor will offer to buy pavers for you, with you paying the materials cost.  However, you may have more motivation to find a better deal for the pavers, as the contractor will probably just buy from wherever he or she normally purchases pavers, and may not try hard to get you a deal. For this reason, it may be prudent for you to purchase concrete pavers yourself. This is true regardless of what kind of paver material you are looking for. Finding natural stone pavers or brick pavers for sale follows the same logic as described below. However, you may have no idea where to buy pavers if you’ve never had to do it before. Thus, here are some places to find cheap pavers for sale:

  1. First, consult with your contractor, if you have one. He or she may be able to get you a good deal on pavers, such as wholesale, or from their own sources, especially if he or she has any leftovers from a previous job. You might be able to get used pavers for sale in this way. However, always compare prices with other contractors to see which one gives you the better offer. Some may give you a break on the total price if you buy materials through them, so don’t automatically assume that you’ll get a better deal on paving stones by getting them yourself.
  2. If you’d like to try buying pavers for sale by yourself, find the local mason supply yards and home supply stores in the area. You’re more likely to get a good deal with a local mason yard, though you might also get lucky at a chain store occasionally. See if the yards have any deals available, such as damaged or ‘seconds’ product available. If you’re more concerned about function, and not necessarily about looks, you may be able to get a great deal. Otherwise, shop around and see which yards and stores will give you the best deal on the quantity you want to order.
  3. If you’d like to go off the beaten path to look for patio pavers for sale or any other product, journey to the internet. There are plenty of resources available there that can guide you in the right direction. Here are some of the major ones:
  4. First, check sites like Craigslist and other classified ads. You may find that local individuals are selling leftover or used pavers for a great price. In fact, you might even get them for free, as long as you go to their home or business and remove them yourself. Other places for free stuff are sites like Freecycle. You might be surprised at what you find, actually. Of course, you’ll want to see the material in person before you agree to take it, because it may be in very poor condition, and you’ll want to make sure you’re satisfied before making a commitment to remove it.
  5. You can also check out online dealers for paving stone products. This may be a good way to learn about the concrete and brick pavers for sale, different brands available, and the local dealers that supply them, just in case you may have missed some in your initial search. Overall, however, you’ll probably have more luck sticking locally than trying to use the internet to find paving stones from official manufacturers.
  6. Check around your own house or your friends’ and family’s houses. You may find pavers that you can ‘recycle.’ The only cost you’ll have to pay is the time needed to move the pavers to their new location.
  7. Note that the above also applies if you’re looking for other materials, such as grass, landscape, and thin pavers for sale.

If you have any other ideas or sources, leave them in the comments!

Tips for Finding Bricks for Sale

Perhaps you are looking to build a stoop, walkway, or other masonry project, and you’re looking for bricks for sale at an affordable price and easy availability. Where do you turn? There are many places that sell brick of different materials, quality, colors, and designs, so do your research before making your final choices. Hopefully this article will give you ideas and tips to help you make the selection that’s right for you.

Picking Your Bricks

First, you need to decide what kind of brick you want to purchase. Looking for paving bricks for sale, for example, will require different research and questions than looking for concrete pavers or natural stone brick. Each type of material has its advantages and disadvantages, many of which are covered in other places in this website.

Start Searching for Sources

Once you’ve decided what kind of material you’re looking for, you can start checking the different sources available locally and over the internet. The first obvious choice to look for bricks for sale is at your local hardware store, such as chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s or more mom-and-pop locations. While you may find some  brick here, the selection and prices may not be great. However, it’s usually a painless place to visit, is homeowner friendly, and you can easily find customer service to help you out.

For those who want more options and better prices, a mason supply yard may be another good bet. These yards cater primarily to business owners like masons and other contractors, but homeowners can also buy materials from them. These places carry more selection at better prices than hardware stores, and you can often get certain types of brick ordered from the manufacturer through the supply yard. They will also deliver the material to your house for a fee. However, mason supply yards can be somewhat intimidating for the homeowner, but don’t sweat it – just ask for help and you shall receive.

Using the Power of the Internet

Another popular option is to resort to websites like craigslist to find brick pavers for sale and other materials. The advantage of this option is that the supplies will be local, plentiful, and often in good condition. Best of all, you can get a great deal on these pavers; sometimes you can get them for free as long as you remove them from their home site on your own dime. There are some disadvantages, though. These bricks will often be used, and thus could be in questionable condition. Also, you have to be careful about dealing with scammers and other questionable people on sites like craigslist. As long as you are OK with the risks, you may be able to get an excellent deal.

If you are buying used bricks, always find out what they were previously used for, their current condition, and their age. You need to make sure you are getting quality material if you want to build a quality project.

You can also check general internet sites for bricks for sale. There are some websites that purport to sell bricks and slabs of various types, but it’s usually better to deal locally whether you go the offline or online route.

Some Final Tips

In general, it’s a good idea to get recommendations from friends and family. If someone you know has recently bought brick, ask them for recommendations or help. You can also call a local mason or contractor for help; they will often deliver brick to you and help you obtain what you need, for a small fee, even if you are installing them yourself. You may find, though, that you would rather have that contractor install your bricks too!

Always make your final selection after looking at the product in person. Pictures can be deceiving no matter how much the manufacturers try to make the images match the products. Make sure you buy extra brick for cuts and waste, so add some extra brick in to your calculations when you figure out how much material you’ll need for your stoop, patio, walkway, steps, driveway, pool deck, barbecue pit, garden, landscape, retaining wall, or some other project.

How to Install Concrete Pavers Yourself

Perhaps you’ve decided that hiring a professional might cost too much or be too expensive or risky; perhaps you trust in your own abilities to install concrete pavers, or you have a friend or family member in the trade, willing to help you. How do you go about installing paving stones for your driveway, patio, or walkway? Keep reading for some great hints, tips, and secrets for concrete pavers installation, straight from the source: someone who’s done it before! Installing pavers yourself is a great way to get a discount on your own project, as the labor costs are one of the major reasons for the relatively high prices of these installations.

Before beginning your installation, make sure you have all the paver tools and materials you’ll need to complete the project. This process also assumes that you’ve already selected the paver sizes, shape, style and colorof your brick.

Note that many of these instructions also apply to other paver materials – natural stone like flagstone pavers and cobblestone, brick pavers and clay pavers, rubber pavers, and even grass pavers. However, find instructions for these particular materials, as details may and will vary.

If you are ever unsure, it’s best to consult with a professional pavers contractor who can give you advice about your specific project. You may also get contractors to do particular parts of the installation; for instance, you can hire someone to do the excavation while you act as the installer.

For visual hints and tips on how to lay concrete pavers, see the videos at the bottom of this article.

  1. Determine the area in which the pavers will be installed, whether front yard, backyard, or the side of your house. Pavers can be used in many projects, including driveway driveway pavers, patio pavers, walkway pavers, garden pavers, and more. Come up with paver designs (yourself or professionally) for how the project will look. How long and wide will it be? Will it have pedestrian or vehicular traffic? Obtain or make a sketch or plan for your paving stone installation; you can draw it out on graph paper or regular paper, just make sure you have all the dimensions and important features of the terrain marked out. Also make sure that there are no utility lines where you will do the excavation.  TOOLS & MATERIALS: Paper, tape measure, pencil, camera.
  2. You’ll want to figure out the total square footage of the installation, as this will determine how much material (sand, aggregate, pavers, edging, etc.) you’ll need for the project. Don’t look to skimp on the cost of the project by not getting enough material – this will compromise the strength and beauty of the  project.
  3. Once you’re ready to begin the project, sketch out your project dimensions in the area in your yard. You can use spray paint, for instance, to mark out the grass and soil for excavation. Add a buffer of about 8 inches along the sides of the project, as you’ll want to leave extra room around the entire project to complete the job. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Spray paint.
  4. Excavate the area to the appropriate depth (6-8″ pedestrian,9-12″ vehicular). Use shovels and wheelbarrows to remove the grass, sod, soil, and fill as necessary. You may also use a Bobcat or other machine to help this process. Make sure to remove it from everywhere you’ve marked, even the extra 8 inches that you’ve added to all the sides of the project as a buffer. Be careful to note any utility or electrical lines in the area – you don’t want to dig up a nasty surprise! Call utility companies as necessary to prevent any further problems. Note: Make sure you complete your project during the warm months, because if the ground is frozen this step may be impossible or very difficult. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Shovels, wheelbarrow, pick, Bobcat (optional), container/truck (to remove dirt/grass).
  5. Establish grade (slope) to let water flow/drain. Make sure the driveway (or walkway or patio) doesn’t pitch towards the house, as then you may have flooding. Also make sure there are no holes or dips where water can congregate. Interlocking pavers do drain naturally, and advantage it has over poured concrete or asphalt, but you still need to be mindful of where the water is going to go once you’ve installed your concrete pavers. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Level (a laser level is best).
  6. Lay lines and corners with string and stakes to mark out your intended paver installation. Don’t forget to include some breathing room (about 6-8 inches) around the entire design, but make sure to mark out exactly where the pavers are going. Make sure they are straight and parallel/perpendicular to the house, pool, or whatever reference point you are using for your design. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Level, stakes, string, tape measure.
  7. Determine the amount of materials you will require – aggregate, sand, and concrete pavers (and joint dust, if necessary). Make allowances in your order for waste and for cuts – leave some room so you order enough! It is possible to order less than full pallets. You’ll want to add 5% to your square footage for pavers to account for cuts and waste; make it 10% if your project will have lots of cutting. When you order material, simply tell the supplier the square footage of the pavers you need. Note that some pavers and color blends don’t work well with particular sized installations, particularly if they are small.
  8. Compact sub base. You will need to obtain either a hand tamper or a compactor for this. A compactor can be bought, rented, or borrowed. This step will provide you with a solid, compacted base. After compacting, ensure that the grade is correct, as well as the depth. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Hand tamper/compactor, tape measure, shovel.
  9. Spread aggregate base (3-5″ pedestrian, 6-10″ vehicular) and compact. This serves as the main layer of the paver base. You might want to add some moisture to the project before compacting to help it compact together more tightly. You might have to add more aggregate base if the ground is soft, such as if it made of clay, to ensure a more stable installation. Make sure that the grade/depth is correct. You can obtain this aggregate base (recycled concrete) at your local mason or supply yard. You can also use gravel, limestone, or any other large stone material. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Recycled concrete/aggregate base, shovels, Bobcat (optional), wheelbarrow, compactor/hand tamper, tape measure.
  10. Note that this process uses no mortar or poured concrete. This material will just crack and decay over time, damaging the integrity of your paving stone project.
  11. You may want to add the aggregate base in multiple layers instead of one single layer – some compactors can only handle 3 inches of material at a time, so make sure you keep the layer thicknesses manageable. The more time and care you put into the base, the better. Once the broad grading is done, you’ll want to go in and confirm that all the levels and grades are correct. You can use pipes and screeds to make sure the aggregate base is at the perfect level. Compact one last time. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Aggregate base, metal pipes, metal screeds.
  12. Spread 1 to 1-1/2” of sand over base and screed. You can either use fine sand or polymeric sand that you purchase from your mason supply yard or paver manufacturer. To screed, lay down 1″ PVC pipes parallel to each other, and use a wooden plank or metal plank to level out the sand. Fill in the pipe holes with sand and level out by hand. This sand base should not be disturbed. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Sand, shovels, 1″ PVC pipes, screed.
  13. Place your concrete pavers in the paver patterns according to your designs, making sure to keep them tight to each other. Carefully think out your laying concrete pavers strategy – will you start the paver installation near the edge of the house? Near another landmark? Somewhere else? Which direction will you go? This is all important to prevent future delays and problems. If you have a border, like a soldier course, you may want to start there first. Make sure you inspect the pallets to ensure you have the right shape and color of concrete pavers that you ordered. When removing bricks from the pallets, don’t just take from one pallet, working from the top down. To ensure color variety, you need to take each column of pavers (from top to bottom) from multiple pallets in order to get the right color blend. Periodically check for depth, alignment, and straightness (using tape measure, carpenter’s square, etc.). Use a rubber mallet to keep the pavers tight together, if necessary, or to level out any individual paver. Make sure you put down a wooden board where you are kneeling, or where you may be walking back and forth, in order to prevent the pavers from being smashed into the ground and thus becoming unlevel and creating holes or dips. Also keep away from the edges of the project totally, as these are the most vulnerable to weight and shifting. While you’re laying pavers, make sure to continually check on the pattern – have you made any mistakes? Catch them and correct them before you lay too many more. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Concrete pavers, mallet, level, tape measure, wooden boards, knee pads.
  14. Cut borders/other stones as necessary. Use a pencil/crayon to mark the pavers as necessary in order to make the cuts. This will be especially important if you will be installing patio pavers near an immovable structure (such as a house or pool or yard) and if you need to have any circular patterns or curves. To make smooth curves, consider using a thin piece of wood and bend it along your edge, marking each brick as a piece of this curve. Use a wet saw with a diamond blade if you will have to do a lot of cuts; if only a few are required, a dry saw will do. If cutting the bricks when they are dry, be extra careful of particles that could damage your eyes, nose, etc. Wear proper safety equipment – gloves, safety glasses, and respiratory protection. Make sure you know cutting concrete pavers tips and methods before attempting it, as you could ruin the brick or hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Wet/dry saw, pencil/crayon, straight edge.
  15. Put in edge restraints. There are many different kinds of paver edging, from plastic to aluminum to concrete. The best, in general, is aluminum edging. Make sure they are tight and backfilled with fill/topsoil if necessary. Pound in the spikes with your mini sledge hammer.
  16. If you are installing pool pavers, you may have to add coping or other material to surround the pool and pool deck aside from edging.
  17. You may want to give the paver project a first compacting without any more sand added to the joints. This first compacting will begin the process by which the pavers interlock.
  18. Sweep the surface clean, and then sweep in more sand (or other joint material) into the spaces between the bricks. You’ll want to make sure the sand is somewhat coarse and irregular to encourage proper compacting. There are special kinds of paver sand out there for you to use for this step if you want to. Then compact with a compactor; this will “lock in” your project due to the interlocking action of concrete pavers. You may have to compact more than once.
  19. Clear off the pavers with a gentle flow of water – make sure everything drains correctly through and across the paving stone project.

Congratulations! You’re done installing pavers, and you’ve finished your concrete pavers driveway, patio, walkway, or pool deck! Eventually, you’ll want to seal your pavers according to the instructions given to you by your manufacturer, but you won’t have to do this until the pavers have settled for a bit.

If you need more help, check out these installation videos.

First, a video on how to install the base for your paving stones:

Next, here’s how to install your pavers once the base has been laid:

How to Find Good Paver Contractors

Image by Nicholas Humfrey. http://www.flickr.com/photos/njh/201936851/

Hardscape being installed.

Selecting a good paver contractor, one who is trustworthy, reliable, and skilled, is one of the most important decisions you can make if you decide to have your concrete pavers installed professionally. We know about all the horror stories about contractors: high or unfair prices, sloppy work, or not even showing up for the job! Especially if we have no friends or people we can trust to give us references, it might be especially hard to select the best contractor available. If you have an important job – carpentry, landscaping, masonry, or anything – and need professional installation, how do you find a trustworthy, licensed, skilled contractor? Read here for some tips and questions to ask to prevent an incident where your pavers contractor doesn’t show up or does substandard work.

Where to Find Contractors

There are many ways to find contractors, all with different degrees of efficiency.

The best way to find a reliable contractor is to get a referral from a friend or family member that already used his services. This way you will already know that the contractor does a professional job, and you can check out their work in person if you visit the referrers home.

If can’t get a referral, try searching online for contractors in your area. Visit their website, if possible, to see examples of their work and find contact information. Also try searching for “pavers contractors reviews” or the “specific contractor/company’s name reviews” to find online reports from customers if they exist. This can be a great way to get an uncensored look into the company’s operations.

If this doesn’t work, try the yellow pages. This is a rather antiquated method, however, as you will pretty much be throwing darts at a dartboard in this situation and hoping to pick out a good contractor.

The final method is to ask a local home improvement store or mason supply yard for recommendations. They may be able to point you in a direction of specific contractors or at least a directory of local contractors who may be able to serve your needs.

As you can see from this picture, picking the wrong contractor can be hazardous to your project! This is how you can avoid this calamity:

Questions to Ask Your Prospective Contractors

You should always interview as many contractors as possible, both to collect bids and to evaluate their skill and professionalism. You should still ask these questions even if you get a solid recommendation or referral from someone just to cover all the bases. Some questions to ask include:

About the Contractor and Previous Jobs

  • How many years has the contractor been in business? The more experienced the contractor, the better, though of course a new contractor is not necessarily a bad one. In particular, how long have they been installing pavers?
  • Does your contractor have experience with the job that they have been hired to perform? The more experience with basic and advanced jobs (and all the potential problems that could arise) will allow the contractor to be more suited for the work. If your project (paver driveway, paver walkway, paver patios, etc.) is especially large or small, or has some challenging aspects, are they qualified to handle it? Many contractors will have photos of previous jobs, so ask to see them. Do you like their work, both the craftsman ship and the design? This is also a good way to get ideas for your own project.
  • If possible, visit some of the contractors’ old jobs. Make sure, though, that the people who completed the work for those jobs will be completing the work at your home – otherwise, what’s the point?
  • Can the paver contractors provide you with references? You could also ask around for unsolicited references, or check out third-party/commercial consumer advocates. As stated above, do a Google search as well for reviews. You could also check around with companies that sell the paving stones to see if they have any knowledge or recommendations.

Rules and Regulations

  • Do they have the proper insurance and relevant licensing to do the job? Are their workers legal? This is a particular concern in some countries where undocumented immigrants sometimes work as manual laborers. It is often best to go with companies that don’t employ these individuals. This is especially important considering Worker Compensation laws – having a laborer working off the books at your home is not good for you, the employees, or the contractor.
  • Are any particular permits required for the work being done at your home?

Training

  • Have the pavers contractors taken any official training from a professional organization in their field, such as the ICPI? While this certification is not legally required, you can take comfort in the fact that they have the newest and best methods and support at their disposal for your home improvement project.
  • Does the contractor have design skills/experience? Often their experience in jobs will give them an eye for aesthetic details. You may be able to get some great tips from your contractor to make the job even better pleasing to the eye! Their experience in creating shapes and designs with concrete pavers in particular places and for particular projects might be invaluable. If they do not have this experience, you may have to hire someone else to help you with the design, if needed.

On the Job

  • Do they subcontract out any part of the job? To whom? You could ask the same questions of the subcontractor as to the contractor.
  • Who will be supervising? Will workers be left alone without direction? How many jobs does the company take at a time?
  • What paver brands do they usually recommend? Why? Make sure you like the pavers they prefer to use before you sign on with them.
  • Will there be any damage or disruption (such as clutter or materials) on neighbors’ property? Or on town property? Where will materials and tools be kept? For example, you will probably have pallets of brick laying around your yard for a few days. Will they be on the grass? On concrete or driveway? In the street? This is all important to know before the work begins.
  • When will the project start? When will it finish? Does the company/contractor have a reputation for punctuality and reliability?

Finances and Warranties

  • Will they provide a detailed estimate, and is it free? Do they follow as close as possible to their estimate? This is where references may come in handy.
  • What are the payment terms? Many hardscape contractors ask for 1/3 at the start, 1/3 after delivery of materials, and 1/3 at completion. Ask for a detailed list of the materials, labor, and other fees that you are being charged. This will be important to compare to other proposals prepared by competing contractors.
  • Make sure nothing is left out of the contract. Do they include cleanup of your yard due to machine work and other excavation? Make sure there will be no “gotcha!” extras waiting for you on job completion.
  • Will the paver contractors provide a warranty for his/her work? How long? Is it limited/full? Does the manufacturer of the materials (such as in the case of concrete pavers) provide any kind of warranty?