The Facts About Bluestone Pavers

One great choice for a home hardscape project is bluestone pavers. Bluestone is a natural stone paver, mined directly in the United States. Natural stone pavers and building supplies add a natural, ‘ancient’ appeal to any indoor or outdoor space. This article will discuss some of the properties of bluestone pavers, how they are used and installed, and their cost.

The Properties of Bluestone Pavers

The natural color of the bluestone is, of course, blue, with some grey mixed in as well. Bluestone pavers do also have other hints of color in them beyond blue and grey, depending on where the stone was found, but all colors give a nice natural feel to a project. Though there is some uniformity in some types of bluestone in terms of size and texture and shape, they are still not totally uniform like manufactured bricks like concrete pavers. Thus, since each stone is different, every installation made using this product will be different and unique. The paving stones are so nice and versatile that they can be made to fit in with any home style, theme, or design, and can match or complement other features of your land and hardscape.

Like other natural stone products, bluestone pavers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This is because the stone is obtained whole in the ground, and it is then transported to manufacturers and factories which cut it down to specified sizes. This is, in part, what makes bluestone so useful, as it can be customized to fit any job or desire. The possible shapes of these pavers range from rectangular, triangular, oblong, diamond, and irregular. The shape that you select will ultimately impact the paver patterns that you can lay the bluestone in – for instance, Holland stone pavers can be laid in Herringbone patterns, while diamond pavers have fewer pattern options available.

Uses for Bluestone

Due to their strength and versatility, bluestone pavers can be used for a variety of projects and uses aside from hardscaping. Some use bluestone paving stones as veneers for homes, businesses, or gardens. Some even build houses or other buildings out of bluestone. Many people also use bluestones for paving purposes, such as a new walkway, patio, driveway, or garden area. Some use them for steps, retaining walls, and pool decks and copings. They can be used nearly for any purpose, making bluestone a very popular product. It can be the main ingredient in a new project, or it can be used to add accents and flairs to a project made from a different material, indoors or out. Bluestone can be found in very flat and smooth “slate” varieties to large brick or coping shapes, depending on the wants and needs of the homeowner.

One popular use for bluestone pavers is for landscaping. Due to the flexibility and variety of stone shapes and sizes, bluestone landscape pavers can be used to spruce up any back or front yard, as well as incorporated into a garden or other landscape.

There are a number of varieties and modifications of the bluestone paver. For those looking to install bluestone in an area with high foot traffic, look for thermally treated bluestone that will make them less slippery. Another variety is ‘natural cleft,’ which makes the pavers look not uniform and thus more ‘natural,’ rather than the smoother, more uniform finish found in the standard kind.

Installation of Bluestone Pavers

A great benefit of the bluestone paver is its strength. Because it is made of stone, it will resist damage both from extreme weather and from the environmental stresses you put upon it. Still, it may be necessary to apply sealer to it every once in awhile, as weather and other erosion effects can wear away some of the natural colors of the stone. Water, in particular, can have damaging effects on the color of the pavers. Sealing your installation will also help guard the structure against other stains and dirt, maintaining its beauty for years to come. The integrity of the material, however, will not be compromised by these effects.

Bluestone pavers are installed much like concrete pavers are installed – they are laid on an aggregate base and a sand bed. The joints between the pavers are then filled with a joint material, usually sand, and they are then compacted. Like concrete pavers, bluestone can be a viable DIY project for many homeowners, though many will benefit from hiring a contractor to do the job right.

The Cost of Bluestone Pavers

Bluestone pavers price can be somewhat prohibitive, however. This is true for all stone pavers, whether sandstone, travertine, slate, or whatever. Manufactured pavers, like concrete and brick, are less expensive because they can be mass produced in house, while bluestone pavers must be quarried. However, if you can handle the cost of bluestone pavers, you will be sure to enjoy the beauty and strength of your new installation. You can expect to pay around $20 to $30 per square foot installed, though this price depends on so many factors it’s impossible to list them all here.

What You Need to Know about Flagstone Pavers

Though concrete pavers are highly recommended for many home projects, they are not the only choice available. One choice is flagstone pavers, made directly out of natural stone. This stone is shaped, cut, and formed into slabs of various shapes and sizes, which are then fit together like a mosaic to cover the specific area. Aesthetically, the flagstone paver installation is quite nice, giving the area a natural look that paving stones can’t quite manage to capture in many cases due to the fact that they are artificially manufactured.

This article will give you a brief explanation of this material – its properties, how it is used, and the other features important to know about this expensive material before you use it. While this site focuses mostly on concrete pavers, it does contain some information on natural stone like bluestone, sandstone, and travertine paving. We plan on adding more soon and creating a more extensive collection of info on the various stone types, so come back soon!

Anyway – on to the article!

How Flagstone is Used & Design

These pavers can be used in a variety of applications. Flagstone patio pavers are one popular use, as are walkways and garden projects. The color schemes are more limited than concrete pavers, because they come from natural sources, but there still are enough color blends to satisfy most homeowner’s uses. The sizes, shapes, and thicknesses of these concrete flagstone pavers will also vary depending on the particular use of the stones.

There are a number of advantages of flagstone pavers over their competitors. The installation of these stones is usually quite easy compared to other options, as they can usually be laid right on soil, or with little bedding material required. They are also very strong and durable, withstanding any freezing/thawing cycles or other weather, traffic, or abuse. This makes these pavers very low maintenance and long-lasting.

How do you decide between flagstone or concrete pavers? Two factors override all others. The first is budget. If you have less money, you may want to go for concrete pavers, as they can be installed at a lower price per square foot than the natural option. If money is no object, than flagstone pavers may be right for you. The second factor is the particular look or ‘theme’ you want to convey with your project. Flagstone choices generally look more ‘natural’ and ‘earthy’ than manufactured options. These choices may work well with a garden, landscape area, or other place near your home that wants to communicate this natural look. Paving stones, on the other hand, communicate a modern, ‘old-world’ feel that may work better for patios, walkways, driveways, and other projects right near your home. Of course, this all depends on your tastes,  so be sure to consult with a local contractor or manufacturer for assistance.

Flagstone Patio Cost

Flagstone pavers price is usually more expensive, however, than manufactured options. This is generally true of all natural paving materials, as they cannot be mass produced in the ways that concrete paving stones can. The price will vary on a number of factors, including thickness, size, geography, and quality, but the usual price is between $20-30 a square foot.

One popular project for this material is a patio, so let me give you a brief run down of what you might pay for creating a patio out of this material. The flagstone patiocost, or the price of any flagstone installation, will depend on a number of factors. First, as described above, the price of natural stone is higher than manufactured varieties, as the stone must be quarried and cut into the appropriate shapes. In addition, like other hand laid materials like pavers and brick, the labor costs for the installation of these stone projects will be quite high. You can save money by installing them yourself, but ultimately it will probably be better to hire a contractor due to the high level of difficulty. In general, as stated above, the total flagstone cost will vary between $20 to $30 a square foot.

The actual, specific cost of a flagstone patio installation, or the installation of any project, like a driveway, walkway, pool deck, or other, will depend on a number of factors. These factors will depend on your area, the job itself, and how much you can contribute. The factors include:

  • Geography and economy. If you are in a cheaper area, your prices will be cheaper. If there is more competition between contractors, the total price will also be lower.
  • How much labor and material you can contribute. The more labor you put into the job, and the more free or reduced price material you can obtain (such as by recycling old material or buying it used), the less the total job will cost per square foot.
  • The actual contractor you hire. You may pay more for quality; paying less may leave you with a finished product that you detest.
  • The brand or type of stone you select. This is an important consideration to think about when you set out to buy flagstone. Not all stone and brands are created equal, varying in quality and durability and style. Pick the type that fits best in your budget and in your aesthetic vision.
  • How much prep work and excavation needs to be done. For instance, if you need an old patio removed, the total flagstone patio cost will be higher than if you had an empty or already prepped area to work with.
  • Design. If you pick a fancier pattern or overall design, the degree of difficulty of the entire project will increase. Picking simpler and easier to install designs will help keep costs down.

Pros and Cons: Pavers, Concrete, Asphalt, and Other Choices

If you are thinking about a new project for your home, garden, or landscape, you might be having trouble deciding among the various material choices at your disposal. Should you use concrete, asphalt, brick pavers, paving stones, natural pavers, or stone? The list of potential materials, and all the various permutations and variations that are possible, can be very confusing and overwhelming for the uninitiated.

To help you out, here is a brief paving guide that will help you weigh the pros and cons of each material type. There is no one “best” material, as the material you use will depend on a lot of factors. In some circumstances, stone would work best; in others, concrete; in others, pavers. What we can tell you, however, are the various features of each material so that you can make an educated decision.

The Comparisons and Categories

We will begin with the least expensive material and continue through the more expensive options available. Each material will be evaluated according to the seven following metrics:

  • Strength
  • Durability
  • Design Options
  • Installation
  • Beauty
  • Maintenance
  • Price/Value

At the end of the article, we give our basic comparisons for each material across these dimensions. You can thus compare the relative merits of concrete vs pavers, stamped concrete vs pavers, and any other comparisons you may need to make. While our decisions are arbitrary, and may differ with those of other experts and contractors, we hope at least to give you a rough guide on this topic.

STONE:

A stone driveway.

This is loose stone that is spread in the area. They are used most often for driveways, though they can also serve as parking areas or as landscaping materials. There is a large variety of stones available, from small to large, and in a variety of colors.

Strength
Obviously, these stones won’t break or crack. Stone withstands vehicular traffic, weather, sun, water, and other effects well.

Durability
You won’t have to worry about replacing this material due to damage as long as it all stays in place. Stone is a great long-term option. However, it will get thrown around, so you’ll probably have to touch the project up once in a while.

Design Options
You are relatively limited when it comes to the design options at your disposal. Obviously, you can mix and match colors and types of stone, and you can make your projects any kind of shape, from rectangular to circular and anything in between. Otherwise, however, you’re relatively limited with your design possibilities.

Installation
Installing stone is very easy. Simply clear an area, fill it in with stone to the appropriate depth, and you’re done.

Beauty
In the right contexts, stone can look nice. However, it an also look boring. In addition, it can often get spread out throughout your lawn and home, making a big mess and a nuisance.

Maintenance
This is an area where stone suffers. You will probably have to deal with stone being scattered around your lawn and yard, making it a pain to clean up. You’ll also deal with weeds. Over time, the stone may have to be refilled as it inevitably wanders off. You may have to level it out if it ever gets distributed unevenly – this might happen if you drive on it, for instance. It’s also impossible to plow or shovel snow off it without disturbing the surface.

Price/Value
Stone is very cheap. Combined with how durable the material it is, stone is a good overall investment, though the property value of your home won’t be seriously changed.

ASPHALT:

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/91584996@N00/3710038320.

An asphalt driveway.

This ubiquitious, oil-based product is very popular for driveways, parking lots, and other outdoor projects that require vehicle traffic. Also known as ‘blacktop.’

Strength
Asphalt is very strong yet flexible, as it will stand up to both heat and cold. However, if it gets too hot, it could get soft – this could be especially problematic if you drive on it. However, asphalt will withstand stains, the sun, water, and general wear and tear.

Durability
Asphalt will last you for decades, as long as it installed and maintained properly. However, you will have to deal with cracks and fading, so you’ll probably have to do repairs along the way. Otherwise, expect to replace this after a decade or two of service.

Design Options
You’re very limited with your design options. While colored or stamped asphalt is possible, it will increase the cost of your project. Otherwise, you’re limited to the standard black driveway. You can create your own shape and dimensions, but otherwise you’re pretty locked in, unless you add a cobblestone or paver apron and border, or some other embellishment.

Installation
An asphalt driveway and other projects are usually out of the reach of most homeowner’s skills, so it’s not a great DIY project. You’ll have to hire a contractor to do it; unfortunately, asphalt contractors are notoriously unreliable, making getting the job done quickly a pain in some circumstances.

Beauty
Asphalt is very common and it doesn’t look as great as other options, especially when it cracks and fades.

Maintenance
You’ll have to seal it to maintain its strength and color. In severe circumstances, patching and resurfacing may be necessary as well. Snow can be easily removed from this surface.

Price/Value
Asphalt is relatively cheap, hence its popularity. In terms of value, it is a good buy, as the material will last you a long time, assuming it’s installed well.

CONCRETE:

An incredibly popular material due to its strength and low cost, concrete is most often used for walkways, driveways, and patios.

Strength
Concrete is incredibly strong. You won’t have to worry about force from above (cars, heavy objects, weather) damaging it. Force from below, however, can be a problem – freeze thaw cycles put pressure on the slab, often leading to cracks.

Durability
Concrete, if well-installed and maintained, can last you for decades, so you shouldn’t have to reinstall the material.

Design Options
You are rather limited with the standard concrete, as the grey color of the material can be boring. However, if you are willing to pay a little more, you can get stamped, colored, or stained concrete. This can multiply your design choices, allowing you to create concrete that will match and complement your home’s decor. You’ll have to pay for that privilege, however.

Installation
Homeowners who’ve worked with concrete before can install it themselves, especially if the project is small. Homeowners with little experience should look for a contractor; ditto for those skilled homeowners trying to tackle a large and/or complex job.

Beauty
Regular concrete is rather boring, though it is ubiquitous. Decorative concrete is far better, as long as it doesn’t crack or chip.

Maintenance
You may have to seal concrete once in awhile, especially if it’s showing signs of damage, but for the most part concrete is maintenance free – as long as everything goes right with the installation. Snow can be easily removed from this surface.

Price/Value
Concrete is quite cheap, especially given its strength and durability. Investment in concrete is an investment for the future, but don’t expect your home value to increase that much.

CONCRETE PAVERS:

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/84354764@N00/451855836/

Interlocking concrete pavers.

Made from concrete, these pavers interlock through a system of sand-filled joints, ensuring that the entire structure stays together.

Strength
Concrete pavers are incredibly strong, both individually and collectively. In fact, some pavers are two to four times stronger than concrete. Thus, they will withstand all rigors of the environment.

Durability
Due to their strength and flexibility, and the interlocking nature of pavers, this material will last you for decades. You will likely not have to worry about installing a new patio, driveway, walkway, etc. unless you want to make a change.

Design Options
Your design options are limitless. There are a ton of paver shapes, paver sizes, types, and colors available. You can lay them in a variety of paver patterns. In addition, you can pair your project with other accessories, like steps, stoops, barbecue pits, retaining walls, and more – all made from this material.

Installation
Pavers installation can be difficult, but since there’s no concrete involved, it can be within the skill range of some DIYers. However, most will want to have their projects installed by professional paver contractors.

Beauty
Pavers, when well-designed and installed, look beautiful. They go well with all home styles and themes, and they retain their beauty for many years.

Maintenance
Pavers are near maintenance free. You may have to seal them occasionally with concrete paver sealer, and perhaps reset pavers that have settled, but for the most part they are a hands-free material. You can easily remove snow from them.

Price/Value
Concrete pavers can be expensive, mostly because they have to be laid by hand. However, they add much value to your home, so you can consider the high initial price as an investment in your home and in your future.

BRICK PAVERS:

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/random-mike/292018480/.

Brick pavers.

A similar material to concrete pavers, these resemble the bricks you see around your house, but they are also different in many important ways.

Strength
This material is similar to concrete pavers – the only major difference is in the material they are made from. Brick pavers are made from clay, not concrete. In terms of the battle between concrete vs brick pavers, they are relatively equal in terms of strength, with perhaps a slight edge to concrete.

Durability
Brick pavers will stand up to all kinds of abuse, and your projects will last many years. You won’t have to worry about reinstalling a new material for a long time.

Design Options
Though options used to be very limited, manufacturers are coming out with new brick designs all the time. While you will largely be limited to the standard ‘brick size,’ you will be able to try different colors and textures. You can thus lay them in a variety of patterns and project designs, just like concrete pavers.

Installation
Like concrete pavers, most homeowners will want to have a contractor come in and install them, though it can be a potential DIY project.

Beauty
Brick pavers look quite nice, though perhaps not as ‘modern’ and ‘elegant’ as concrete pavers. However, with teh right home decor, brick pavers can and do look fantastic.

Maintenance
Brick pavers are very low maintenance – just some sealing and resetting of pavers on occasion. It’s very easy to remove snow from this surface.

Price/Value
These brick pavers are a bit more expensive than the concrete variety, but you can expect a good bump in your home value when you add them to your yard.

NATURAL STONE PAVERS:

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_g_travels/2704941271/

Very old stone pavers.

These pavers are literally carved from the earth. There are many different types of materials that fall into this category, from flagstone to granite and cobblestone to travertine and everything in between. Thus, we’ll have to generalize a lot here.

Strength

While it depends on the particular material, stone pavers are very strong – indeed, they are made from stone carved from the earth itself. If you are looking at flagstone vs pavers, its pretty much a toss up when it comes to compared strength. They may fade in the sun, but they stand up to all kinds of abuse.

Durability
A stone paver project will last for decades. You won’t have to worry about installing a new project ever again if you use this material, barring some unforeseen circumstance.

Design Options
Given the huge variety of stone types, colors, shapes, and sizes, you have near unlimited options when it comes to designing your project.

Installation
Given the weight and difficulty in handling this material, most homeowners will want to leave installation to the pros.

Beauty
Stone pavers are incredibly beautiful – arguably the most beautiful material out there. You are pretty much bringing the beauty of Mother Earth to your yard when you install this material.

Maintenance
Stone pavers are stone. They require almost non-existent maintenance. Snow removal is easy.

Price/Value
The major downfall of flagstone pavers and other natural stone is price. Depending on the stone you pick, you could pay double, triple, or more than any other material. However, you’re adding a ton of value to your home as well, so you can consider it an investment in the future.

THE VERDICT

Strength

Concrete Pavers = Stone Pavers > Brick Pavers > Concrete > Asphalt = Stone

Durability

Concrete Pavers = Stone Pavers > Brick Pavers > Concrete > Asphalt > Stone

Design Options

Concrete Pavers > Stone Pavers > Brick Pavers > Concrete > Stone > Asphalt

Installation

Stone > Concrete > Concrete Pavers = Brick Pavers > Stone Pavers > Asphalt

Beauty

Stone Pavers > Concrete Pavers > Brick Pavers > Concrete > Stone > Asphalt

Maintenance

Stone Pavers = Concrete Pavers = Brick Pavers > Concrete = Asphalt > Stone

Price/Value

Stone > Asphalt > Concrete > Concrete Pavers > Brick Pavers > Stone Pavers

Concrete Paver Shapes and Sizes

One of the benefit of concrete pavers is that they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. This allows you to come up with many different paver designs for your next driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck, or garden/landscape project. This is opposed to slab options like concrete and asphalt, which are relatively limited in the designs you can choose for the material.

This variety is definitely a positive – the only problem is that you may also be overwhelmed by all this choice. Of course, you could rely on the suggestions and advice of your contractor, but you may also want to be educated on the options available to you – and this is what this article is for. This will also be very useful for you if you are embarking on a DIY concrete pavers project.

Picking the Right Paver Shapes and Sizes

The most common shape of paver is the Holland stone. It is 6 inches by 9 inches and can be used to create many paver patterns. Another common size of paver is the 6″ x 6″ square. These can be used by themselves or in conjunction with another brick size, such as the 6 x 9, to make a even wider variety of patterns.

For most, if not all, projects, you can’t go wrong with the standard 6 x 9 and 6 x 6 pavers. However, there are also other shapes out there that may useful for you to look into using.

For instance, one popular paver shape is the ‘stop sign’ or octagon. One example of these are Unilock’s stop sign pavers. These don’t offer you many different pattern options, as they must be laid just so, but many enjoy the ease of installation and classic look of the material.

Choosing the right paver shape and size for your depends on a few factors. The most important one is your own tastes and style. In addition, the shape you select will have an impact on the patterns you can do, so if you’re looking for a particular pattern, you will be more limited in the shapes you select.

On a related note, certain project types, like walkways and stoops, and certain dimensions of projects require certain shapes and patterns. Thus, you’ll want to check with a professional to make sure that you’re picking a shape, size, and pattern appropriate for the job.

Of course, if you want to go larger, then you are ranging into the 24 x 24 concrete pavers end, or even the paving slabs end. There are a lot of articles on paving slabs on this site, so check them out here:

Concrete Paving Slabs: What You Need to Know

How to Find Cheap Paving Slabs

A Paving Slabs Prices Guide

Don’t forget that you can also mix shapes and sizes together to form an almost limitless amount of patterns and designs.

Finally, some brands have ‘irregular’ shaped pavers and slabs – this can be a quite interesting and unique pattern to lay in your yard, but know that laying this irregular pattern properly may take some skill and shouldn’t be attempted by DIYers.

Specific Brand Shapes and Sizes of Pavers

There are many different pavers shapes and paver sizes available from different manufacturers. Some examples are listed below. Check with the manufacturer for more information and for local availability. Keep in mind that the paver shape and paver size you select have a profound impact on your intended design, and vice versa. Note that at this point we are just evaluating the pavers available from one company, Nicolock, but in the future we will discuss more. Note, however, that Nicolock’s selection is a good sub for the selections of most paver companies, so at least you’ll get a solid idea of the types available.

Nicolock

Holland Stone: 200mm x 100mm (7 13/16” x 3-7/8”). 1 Bundle is 120 sq. ft (540 brick). These are basically rectangular brick, and one of the most popular sizes of concrete paving stones. There are many different patterns that can be created by using Holland Stone, with or without borders.

Cobblestone: Fullstone, 222mm x 157mm, 8-13/16” x 6-3/16”. 1 Bundle is 111 sq. ft (400 brick); Edgestone, same as above except 500 brick.

Multiweave: Full stone 222mm x 112 mm, 9” x 4-1/2”; 1 bundle is 109 sq. ft. (400 brick)

Circles and Fans: Large circle stone, 80mm x 120 mm, 3-1/8” x 4-3/4”, 360/bundle; center stone, 118 mm, 4-5/8”, 9/bundle; ¾ normal stone 90mm x 120mm, 3-9/16”x4-3/4”, 288/bundle; small circle stone 50mm x 120mm 2” x 4-3/4”, 27/bundle. Amount of stones needed for circles depends on the layout of the job, size of circle (in layers), etc.

Roma Series Pavers: Roma 1 1-1/2 Normal Stone, 120mm x 180mm, 4-3/4” x 7-3/16”, 560/bundle (131 sq. ft.); Roma 2 – Normal stone 120mm x 120mm, 4-3/4” x 4-3/4”, ½ stone 60mm x 120mm, 2-3/8” x 4-3/4”; 1  bundle = 126 sq. ft, each bundle has 760 pieces

Rustico: Full Stone 150mm x 150mm, 5-7/8” x 5-7/8”; half stone 150mm x 150mm, 5-7/8” x 2-15/16”; 1 bundle – 120 sq. ft. and 490 pieces

Simmetria: Diamond, 366mm x 150mm, 13-1/8 x 5-7/16”; 1 bundle = 105 sq. ft (260 pcs); Bishop Hat: 11-1/16” x 3-7/8” x 7-13/16”. 1 Bundle = 84 sq ft (160 pieces); 4×4 100mm x 100mm 3-7/8” x 3-7/8”, 1 bundle – 80 sq. ft (720 pieces); 8×8 200mm x 200mm, 7-13/16” x 7-13/16”, 1 bundle – 120 sq. ft., 270 pieces [many different patterns available, but needs to be manufactured as it isn’t stocked]

Utility Edge Stones: Bullnose, Fullnose, Pool Coping, 8×12 Fullnose, 4×12 Fullnose

SF-Verona: 140mm x 202mm, 5-1/2” x 8” – 1 bundle – 120 sq. ft (490 pieces) [many patterns available]

Heritage Pavers: 8”x16”, 12”x12”, 18”x18”, 18” round, 24”x24”, 24”x36”, straight scallop and scallop curve

Colonial Cobble: ½ Normal stone, 3-1/8” x 6-5/16”, 106 sq. ft (770); Normal stone 6-5/16” x 6-5/16”, 116 sq ft (420); ¾ normal stone 4-3/4”x6-5/16”, 115.7 sq. ft (560); 1-1/2 normal stone 6-5/16”x9-7/16”, 124 sq. ft (300) [many many patterns available given the variety of sizes)

Colonial Cobble Circle: Large wedge, center stone, small wedge, small rectangle, medium rectangle.

Tumbled: Certain varieties come in tumbled variety, including Holland stone, rustico 6×6 and 6×9, tumbled 8×8, Tuscany pavers

Color Varieties of Concrete Pavers

One of the major benefits of concrete pavers is that they come in a wide variety of colors. This is in direct contrast to materials like poured concrete and asphalt, which typically come in one color (unless special coloring is added before they are laid). With this burst of color, you can do much more with your design than you would with the typical greys and blacks of slab materials. For instance, you can match your hardscape to your landscape or to the color palette of your home. Many homeowners fret over picking the right color. Note that there’s not going to be one ‘right’ choice out of a bunch of ‘wrong’ choices – many different blends of brick will work with your project, so pick the one that YOU like the most or that your contractor recommends.

How to Pick the Right Colors

Of course, the colors you pick for your new project, whether driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck, garden, or other application, mostly depend on your taste. Some colors will go well with any environment, especially naturals and neutrals like grey, black, brown, and beige. However, sometimes certain colors will go best with your already existing home style, landscape, and other hardscape projects. This includes reds, oranges, yellows, and pastel colors – these colors can really draw the eye and look great given the right environment, as they can easily clash with other aspects of your home and yard.

Another thing to keep in mind is how the color affects the way the area looks. Lighter colors will generally make a project look larger, while darker colors will make it look smaller. In addition, single color pavers usually show stains much more easily, while blends will hide stains better. However, note that there are plenty of ways to remove stains and clean pavers, so don’t worry about this that much.

Another thing to keep in mind is the heat that may be generated by the pavers you select. If people will be walking on the surface of the pavers with bare feet, it will be best if you take a lighter looking paver. For instance, you will want to go with a lighter color for a pool deck project or a patio versus a driveway. Driveways, in general, are better with darker colors, as this color will hide stains and marks better than a lighter color.

An important note: pavers even within the same colors may differ from order to order. Thus, if you want to use the same color pavers for different projects, its probably best to have those projects completed at the same time to ensure that you won’t have major differences in color between different areas – this is completed by mixing the pallets together as much as possible. You (or whoever is doing the installation) should be sure to take brick from different parts of each pallet and from different pallets at once to ensure an even distribution of the brick.

A Selection of Concrete Paver Colors

In general pavers come in different blends of colors. The most popular are two color blends. This can either mean two bricks of an entirely different color each (for instance, one red and another gold). More commonly, however, this means a set of bricks where the two colors exist in varying quantities. For instance, one brick may contain almost all of Color A, while another can contain almost all Color B, and where other bricks may contain mixtures of A and B at varying amounts.

There are many different paver color blends available from many different concrete paver manufacturers, so an exhaustive list isn’t possible at this point. Please check with your selected manufacturer to determine both paving stone colors selection and availability. (Some paver colors and shapes require manufacturing time as they aren’t kept in stock).

Single color blends – one solid color throughout the pavers. Examples include Nicolock’s charcoal, pewter, chocolate, salmon, chamois, red, limestone, and mojave tan; Grinnell’s charcoal, red, and sand; Cambridge’s Salmon, Sahara, Ruby, Onyx, Chestnut, and Shell;

Two color blends – some of the most popular concrete paver colors. When installing these bricks, the color should be ‘randomized’ as much as is possible. This requires the installer to not take from the top of a single pallet of concrete pavers down through each layer. Instead, the installer should work from multiple pallets at the same time, and work through entire sections. This is to ensure concrete paver color variability throughout the finished product.

Examples of two pavers colors blends include Nicolock’s granite city blend, terra cotta blend, golden brown blend, harvest gold blend, fire island blend, adobe blend, cocoa blend, autumn blend, marble blend, crab orchard blend, bayberry blend, oyster blend, sahara blend, mocha blend, and sage blend; Grinnell’s hickory, buckskin, chestnut, brown flash, gray flash, and multicolor; Camrbidge’s Ruby/Onyx, Sahara/Chestnut, Chestnut/Salmon, Onyx/Natural,  Salmon/Onyx, Onyx/Chestnut, Golden/Onyx, Canyon Blend, Toffee/Onyx, Chestnut/Bronze; and Rinox’s Ash Charcoal, Burgundy Wine, Morocco Beige, Ivory Beige, Milton Grey, and Panama Beige.

Note as well that three color blends also do exist, but they are rarer than the ones described above. They are also more difficult to work with, as keeping an even distribution of the color throughout the project can be a challenge. In addition, minimum size requirements for projects with three-color blends are required to allow for proper mixtures of colors.

Note that it is possible to mix colors of different blends together. This is done most often with single colors as the paver pattern or paver design requires. For example, many like to use standard grey brick for the major part of the patio or driveway with a darker border used as a soldier course. However, mixing more than three colors may lead to a very confusing and messy installation. Thus, it’s best to stick with the blends that the manufacturers have provided.

Other Things to Consider

Preserving the color over time is an important aspect of this choice to consider. The best way to do this is to pick a paver that will not fade due to the sun or to rain; in addition, pavers near pools must be able to withstand the effects of chlorinated water. Another way to preserve or heighten the effect of the colors of your brick is to seal the pavers every year or two. This will give them the ‘wet’ look that makes their colors pop from the landscape.

Concrete Pavers Brands: An Overview

There are many different brands of concrete pavers available, covering the tastes of any discriminating home or business owner and fitting within many different budgets. There are also considerable local variations, as smaller, more regional suppliers of pavers may be important players in some areas. What follows is a brief run-down of some of the major brands of concrete pavers, with some information on the manufacturers, the quality and variety of brick, and price. For more detailed reviews on some brands, click “Reviews” in the categories list to the right. (This part of the site is still under construction, especially as we need to continually learn about paver brands in other areas of the country.)

Picking a Paver Brand

When making any decision on color or style, while pictures are an important resource, decisions should not be made based on images alone. Consult several samples of the actual pavers in order to get a better idea of the range of color and the quality of the paving stone. Furthermore, paver colors can vary somewhat from pallet to pallet. In addition, depending on the square footage, certain color patterns (particularly those with three or more colors) will not work, because the project’s not big enough to get an even blend of the colors.

Note that there are other types of pavers out there besides the regular kind that you normally see. For instance, tumbled brick give the pavers a weathered, aged look that may look great in certain applications. The types of paver available and their styles will depend on the manufacturer, obviously, which is why it pays to cast a wide net if you’re looking for something unique.

In what follows, we’ll give you a run down of the some of the pavers we’re familiar with in actually working with them. We’ll give you a brief description of the company, the kinds of pavers they make, and the relative quality. Note that most pavers are pretty much the same, as there are usually few differences between bricks. The most major difference between pavers is the consistency of the brick within the pallet, both in terms of sizes, colors, and shapes. The more consistent, the easier they are to lay and the better the final product will turn out. When you pay more for pavers, you are usually paying more for this consistency, as well as for finer colors, hardier brick, and more design options, as well as the ‘quality’ inherent in a brand name…if you believe in that sort of thing, that is. Of course, going with the recommendations of your contractor is never a bad bet, either.

Nicolock Pavers

A division of Nicolia Concrete Products, Nicolock Pavers has been around for over 50 years, and besides pavers produces precast concrete products and retaining wall systems. They are located primarily in Lindenhurst, NY, but have other branches in Newark, NJ, Northhaven, CT, and Frederick, MD. Nicolock’s pavers, according to their website, are made in the “most advanced paving production facilities in the world.” They are a third stronger than what is required for concrete paving stones. They heavily advertise their “Paver-Shield” products, claiming that their stones have smooth finishes and color all the way through the brick, unlike some competitors. They offer a lifetime warranty.

Nicolock offers a number of products: Camelback and Stone Ridge pavers, the Serafina, Verona, and Trinity walls systems, along with many different types and colors of Paver-Shield pavers. Nicolock is a solid brand, though as with any pavers, quality can sometimes vary within a pallet.

Grinnell

Based in New Jersey, this company has been manufacturing concrete pavers for a long time. They are one of the only paving stone firms that still mines its own materials. They thus have quality control over the whole process: from mine to your home. They claim that, “Our pride comes from making the home you keep beautiful even more beautiful. Beauty that comes not just from how something looks, but also from how it feels, invites, engages and encourages people to linger just a little bit longer.” They offer a lifetime warranty on their pavers. Like Nicolock’s Paver-Shield, Grinnell’s stones have “color-through” technology, ensuring color throughout the stone and for its lifetime. They offer traditional, vintage, and permeable pavers, as well as traditional and vintage wall stones. This is a quality paver.

Rinox

Located in Pennsylvania and Quebec, Canada, Rinox is a relative newcomer to the stone, in business for over 10 years. Rinox markets its products as the most “natural” looking available. They too offer a limited lifetime warranty. Rinox sells Antique, RinoCast, and Patio pavers, as well as standard and antique retaining walls. About their products, they say: “It’s the elegance and opulence of natural stone without the installation and maintenance hassles — the perfect marriage of form and function guaranteed to turn heads and last a lifetime.” Rinox is a great paver.

Cambridge

Based in New York, Cambridge claims to have sold and installed over one billion pavers. They push hard on their ArmorTec technology. Color is not through the entire paver; instead, they concentrate the color on the surface, keeping the pavers new and colorful throughout their lifetimes (for which they offer a limited warranty). In response to competitors’ statements, they write, “Some other paver brands want you to think that the greater amount of color throughout the paver, the better the paver. Now you know the truth… color is not needed at all throughout the paver.” They offer many collections of pavingstones, including the Sherwood, Renaissance, KingsCourt, Excalibur, RoundTable, and Crusader collections, as well as wallstone systems.

Nicolock and Cambridge seem to have a war of words concerning the amount of color used in the pavers. Nicolock has the color go through the paver, while Cambridge has only a super strong layer near the surface. They are both pretty much about the same and will last a long time, so don’t be sucked in by any particular lines of propaganda from these or any paver manufacturers.

Other Brands

Some other brands of pavers that are also popular, but about which we don’t have much to say at this point (for now!), include Unilock, Pavestone, Capitol Pavers, Belgard, Tiletech, Pacific Pavingstone, CST, Techno-Bloc, and EP Henry.