Handcrafted stones used for decks are preferred by some homeowners because of their consistent thickness and color pattern. Pavers are a form of handcrafted stone that is gaining popularity for patio decks. Pavers allow for more flexibility in shape and design. They also allow for the most drainage of any other type of deck.
When discussing pavers, you may hear the term “segmental” decks. Very simply, this means the deck is made up of many parts that can be replaced or rearranged if part of the deck needs to be repaired.
Because concrete can crack, a segmental deck can eliminate most of this issue because the segments move independently and not as one solid piece. If one segment should crack, it can easily be replaced.
Segmental paving is not a new concept – in fact, it dates back to roads of the Ancient Roman Empire. The 5,000 year old road is paved with thousands of slabs of sandstone and limestone. In 500 BC, using brick pavers instead of the mud roads allowed Rome to quickly move troops and supplies. Because of the longevity of brick, many of these roads are still used today. This design of using clay and stones for roads became the standard until the British began to use clean stones to pave roads. Because this practice was costly, concrete pavers were eventually manufactured to provide fast transportation.
In the 1940’s, The Netherlands roads were constantly experiencing shifting because of their below sea level location. They then turned to the use of individual stones in sand – which provided the flexibility needed. After WWII, most of Europe was in ruin and had to be reconstructed. Paving stones were used and have stood the test of time.
Using concrete for paving stones proved to be very economical as well as durable. Using color in cement pavers as well as having them interlock was a product of Germany in the 1960’s. The 1970’s brought cement paver production to many other nations, including the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and North America.
According to the Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute (ICPI), there was a 2.7% increase in US paver sales and a 7% increase in Canada over the past year. Here’s an interesting fact – there is approximately 1.4 sq feet of pavers in North America for every person on the planet. As history has shown, pavers offer a lasting foundation to build on for the future.
Have you thought about sealing your pavers, but are not sure if it needs to be done or not? Really, the only correct answer to that question is to think about what are you hoping the sealer will do. Whether you should or not will depend on what environment your pavers are in as well as what look you are trying to achieve.
There are both pros and cons to sealing your pavers. If you do decide to seal them, it will slow nature’s effect on them. It also can reduce stains, oils and dirt into the surface of the paver. Sealers can intensify the color of the pavers by adding a glossy look or can also produce a matte finish. As advantageous as this all may sound, once you seal a paver, you are committed to re-sealing it for the life of your deck because the seals do wear out over time.
If you choose not to seal your paver, it is susceptible to staining more quickly. It also will not be protected from salt intrusion or freezing/thawing. Though the paver will look more natural, it will fade quicker over time if left unsealed.
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