Choosing Pavers: Things to consider before choosing a paver
Choosing a paver for your home is most likely one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Remember, pavers, like family, will last a lifetime, and replacing them is not a viable options. Unlike family however, you can decide which sort of paver you would like to be shackled with for the rest of your life.
There are many different pavers available, and each one comes with its own set of benefits. They also come with their own set of shortcomings, which become of particular interest when choosing a paver. This is because they will dictate the longevity of the paver after installation. Here are some of the things you need to think about when choosing a paver:
What the budget is
The biggest contributor to your choice of paver is of course going to be your budget. Paving costs money and different paving options will impact on how much you spend. The first thing to do is prepare an estimate of how much you are willing to spend. This should include the cost of material, labor, and other miscellaneous expenditure. Because it pays to be prepared, include a cushion in your budget to care for any emergencies.
Your budget will cater for both the materials to be used, and the labor. With this in mind, choosing what paver to use becomes easier. Pavers are mainly priced according to material and finish. With regards to material, different types of pavers will cost differently. Bluestone for instance will cost more per square foot than granite, sandstone, or even travertine. Installing cobblestone can also be a costly affair. Brick and granite however, tend to cost less per square foot. This is something that will definitely reflect on your budget and affect your choice.
The price of labor involved will also vary and this is affected by both the contractor’s experience and the material being used. Some pavers require specific expertise to cut and lay properly, and going with a contractor who is not versed with them could lead to disastrous results. The quality of work done by the contractor will also determine the longevity of your paving, since shoddily done work will crack and wear our faster. It will also run your repair costs up. Go for a contractor who has prior experience dealing with the material you want, while keeping the costs manageable.
Where you live
You may not think where you live has a bearing on your paving, but it does. Climate plays a big role in the longevity of your paver, so choosing the right material for the area you live in is crucial. The main elements of climate that will affect your paving are moisture and temperature. Moisture can be in terms of humidity, rainfall, sleet, and snow, and too much of it affects pavers in diverse ways. Most natural stone pavers are excellent at dealing with excessive moisture, with granite being an excellent option at any price point. It does not wear or rot with exposure to rain and require very little preparation for winter. It is also easy to clean and maintain, only requiring a wash every once in a while. Porcelain and brick are also great options, although porcelain will cost more per square foot, even with the most minimal of finishes.
Temperature changes will also affect how you choose your paver. Hot climates will heat your paver and make it impossible to walk on barefoot for some options. Cold climate on the other hand makes the water which has seeped into the paver expand as it freezes. This creates pressure within the material, causing cracks which require repairs. Slate, travertine and brick are excellent options for cold climates. Slate is waterproof which limits the chances of frost heaving, while brick is easy to replace in case of cracks. Travertine on the other and requires proper sealing before installation, and needs to be periodically checked for weakness.
If you live in hot climates, your best option is natural stone. This is most natural stone options remain cool to the touch even in the hot temperatures of summer. This makes them ideal for patios and poolside areas.
Always remember that above everything, your vision matters. Everyone has a mental image of their ideal paving and landscape design, and choosing your paver in tune with this design is encouraged. Remember, you will walk on this paving, probably for the rest of your life!
When taking your vision into consideration, look at the space you have, and the materials that work with the climate in your area. With regards to the space, larger areas will require more material, and are most vest handled using slabs instead of blocks, to bring the cost down. The cost of accentuating your base material with other decorative pieces will also be more expensive if you are working with a big yard. One thing you can be sure of, is that natural stone will always work for you. Most people with big yards end up using granite for a base material, than accentuating it with more decorative pieces such as bluestone and finely finished porcelain.
Your vision will also most likely take into account the color schemes of your home, so take into account the natural color of the material and how it behaves under exposure. If you are looking into natural color, natural stone offers unique and diverse finishes. Travertine for instance, comes in more than 10 different colors including Emerald, shades of ivory, walnut, and silver. It can also be finished 5 different ways, giving you a range of options.
Finally, look for a contractor that will work with you to actualize your vision. They should have a proven track record working with many different types of pavers, and a stellar customer satisfaction score. Working with a shady contractor will not only cost you money in the long run, but also put the quality of the installation into question. It will also ruin your vision.