Paving stones are a great alternative to liquid material such as asphalt and concrete and they offer several advantages over both. Paving stones are rated to be four times as durable as laid concrete, thanks to being thicker than a concrete or asphalt slab. Because pavers have joints in them, they are also able to move with the earth and settle without cracking. Another advantage is that, if properly graded, water seepage is hardly ever an issue with pavers because water can easily escape through the joints between each stone.
There are several types of material that can be used for paving stones and which you choose to use is directly related to the type of traffic you’ll experience. Natural stone is one of the most popular options for paving, thanks to its natural beauty; with flagstone or fieldstone usually used for this reason. Natural stone is more costly than brick or concrete, but offers the ability to have a unique design. Natural stone is generally used for foot-trafficked areas, as it is nowhere near as strong as brick or concrete and will crack and splinter under heavier weights.
Brick has been used for paving for centuries now and is a nice way to have a classic look with your driveway or walkway. The brick that is commonly used in today’s paving situations is a clay or concrete base mixed with aggregate for strength, which is then dyed to look like classic brick-work. This gives the ability to have a wide variety of colors and textures. Brick paving is very strong, with great weight distribution and is very stain resistant, which is fantastic for areas with regularly inclement weather. Brick can also be sealed for longer lasting color and integrity.
Concrete is the strongest option when it comes to paving stone systems. Usually these stones are made of concrete but mixed with an aggregate for even stronger finish. Concrete stones are available in a variety of colors, finishes and styles with interlocking patterns which help to naturally strengthen the design. While concrete paving stones are incredibly durable and strong, one of the downfalls of these pieces is that they absolutely must be sealed to maintain integrity and to prevent the fading of color. These stones are a wonderful choice for driveways, as they handle heavier weight incredibly well.
One of the best things about using paving stones, as an alternate to other types of paving, is that they are almost entirely maintenance free. You may need to sweep or clean the pavers, but due to their interlocking nature, cracking and stress fractures rarely occur. If cleaning needs to be done, this can usually be carried out with a mixture of regular soap and water. Sealant is also a good idea, as this will protect the stones for even less future maintenance. Lastly, if a stone does crack, it is easy to replace just that one, individual stone, whereas in concrete or asphalt, a completely new system may be needed.