A Great Choice For Care Free Landscaping
Pavers, bricks and cobblestones are the terms used for materials used to produce hard surface areas out of individual pieces of hard materials. This is known as segmental paving and has real advantages over solid surface paving. In landscaping they are commonly used to produce patios, walkway and driveways, but may also be used as accents in a landscape or for boarders. Although all three terms are sometimes used for the same product, they are all distinctly different products.
Cobblestones are the oldest existing version of this type of product. Cobblestones have been around for centuries. They are actually a natural stone product. Earliest streets were paved with stones or pebbles to form hard surfaces. Later they began forming stone into small square or rectangular pieces of stone that were flatter on their top surface to be used as a paving surface. Commonly made of granite they have been used for centuries as a roadway surface. Many cities in Europe and even the United States have streets made of Cobblestone. Boston is a good example of a city with some existing cobblestone streets. The existence of these streets built hundreds of years ago is a testament to their durability.
Bricks have also been around for a long term. Bricks have been used for centuries in all types of construction. A brick is usually a rectangular shaped product (2.25 x 4 x 8 inches is common) made of clay that has been baked to harden them. They are most commonly used for building construction but are still used today in landscaping for pathways and patios. They are the least durable of the three products but a preferred at times for there look to match the existing brick of a home.
Pavers are the product most commonly used in landscaping today. They can come in many shapes and sizes but are generally several inches thick. They are made of molded, compressed concrete. They are very dense and 3 to 4 times stronger than regular poured concrete surfaces. They are much more durable than a brick but probably less durable than a granite cobblestone. Because they come in a large variety of colors, textures and shapes, they are the most popular choice for segmental paving today. Click on this link to go to our paver picture album to see examples of pavers used in landscaping.
The advantages of segmental paving over solid surface paving are significant in the life of the finished product. This is especially true in northern climates where the ground freezes and thaws in the winter months.
Freeze/thaw cycles causes the ground to move. As the ground freezes (actually the water in the soil), it expands causing the ground to move. In most cases, the most destructive force is when the ground moves upward or heaves. Any surface above the ground moves with it. If that surface is a solid surface such as poured concrete or asphalt, it moves upward as a solid piece. Do this a few times and in all likelihood, that solid mass will begin to crack. This is often cause by the fact that the ground does not move upward equally across the entire solid surface. Because a solid surface above the ground cannot flex to conform to the shape of the moving ground, the ground under the surface will leave low spot. That low spot does not support the solid slab above it and if downward pressure is applied to that spot in the solid surface, the solid surface will break or crack do to lack of support.
Because a segmental surface will move or flex with the moving ground and each segment is relatively small, there is no cracking. When the ground thaws and moves back, so does each segmental piece go with the moving ground. A segmental surface is like putting a flexible surface on the ground that can move and flex as the ground moves.
The major advantage of pavers is the surface, although it may move, it will not crack like a solid pavement. This is why cobblestones, bricks and pavers have been used to pave surfaces that last hundreds of years. Do you know any concrete streets that are still like new after 10 years?
Click on this link to learn more about the advantages of pavers. Click on this link to the paver installation page to learn another reason why pavers last longer than solid surfaces.
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