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1. What can be paved?
In short, any surface!
For domestic applications we can simplistically refer to three areas: the entrance / driveway; back-yard; and utility areas; and the personal space of patios and pools. Each with different technical and design requirements.
Commercial roadways, driveways and parking areas require special sub-base preparation for the traffic loading. Essentially each prepared 150 mm layer allows heavier vehicles.
Paving tiles can be applied to concrete slabs such as a kitchen floor.
And vertically … cladding in all its variations is a detail finish for walls, columns, steps and platforms.
2. What is special about paving
Block paving is the evolution of Roman roads – segment stones laid on a compacted stabilised base that lasts indefinitely!
Modern paving offers a range of technical and aesthetic products that is unsurpassable in design, application, durability cost-value and maintenance.
Alternatives such as tar or concrete slabs are affirmed in various technical studies, certainly in our experience, not to match paving in long-term maintenance, durability, cost-effectiveness and range of application.
3. What are the types of paving?
Essentially paving falls in three categories:
Pavers and cobbles for general application, typically 200 x 100 mm, but from 80 x 80 to 220 x 220 mm, mostly 50, 55 or 60 mm thick, up to 80 or 100 mm for special applications. Pavers may me manufactured from cement, clay or simulated stone and are laid on a compacted sub-base with a sand bedding layer. PaveConsult applies a wet cement grout rather that the ‘standard’ dry sand – for as the sand washes out, the failure is seen in many complexes and shopping centres.
Flagstones are premium products mostly used for pools, patios and architectural detail. Sizes vary from 250 to 600 mm in various combinations. At a nominal 40 mm, flagstones are laid on a cement screed over a compacted soil base, and the joints are sponge-grouted with cement.
Simulated stone tiles are available in all the flagstone configurations; however at 20 mm thickness require a concrete slab, such as an existing patio or floor. Hence flagstones are significantly cheaper given the cost of laying a structural slab.
As an aside ‘paving’ in America is tar. Larry Green, the founder of SA Paving, with whom I share a passion for customer service, product application - and wildlife - runs a great ‘paver’ operation in California.
4. What paving products are there?
Paving products are mainly manufactured from cement, clay and simulated stone.
Cement pavers are the standard rectangular or zig-zag pavers seen in shopping centres and on pavements, around 200 x 100 mm. Yet at the same price, suppliers offer a huge range of products; one of our favourite being 200 x 150 mm pavers – cost-effective and attractive. Cement pavers are ‘dry cast’ moulded from a relatively dry cement aggregate with a ‘top colour’. Paving technology has developed to large and extra-large pavers, almost any combination of 900 / 600 / 400 / 300 / 200 mm combinations. Cement pavers can be re-finished by polishing or washing to expose the conglomerate cement mix or to give a variously textured surface. Large and extra-large pavers require specialist installation.
Clay pavers are kiln-fired manufactured from excavated fine-grained clay minerals. The earthy, natural colours, from pale tan to various reds to deep purple, are classic and durable and remain the quintessential paver. Clay bullnose pavers are always recommended for edges, steps and pool copings. Clay pavers are a standard 220 x 110 mm; at a premium are 110 x 110 mm cobbles, or 220 x 220 mm pavers.
Visit Corobrik to see examples
Simulated stone are premium products replicating natural stone at a fraction of the price and often with improved technical performance. Products are ‘wet cast’ from a cement aggregate. Consider, say, Sandstone that flakes and breaks up, the cast-stone product is durable. Chipped stone or granite is difficult and expensive to manufacture but readily manufactured in the wet cast process. Cast stone is available in any size and shape configuration from cobbles and pavers to flagstones and tiles in a variety of slate, sandstone, limestone, quarried, worked and smooth surfaces.
Visit Smartstone to view examples
PaveConsult also offers Rustenberg granite: black stone mined and cut to shape – from 2.0 m countertops to flagstones to cobble pavers. There are also composite cement-based products we source on request.
All pavers used by PaveConsult are to SANS or first-grade standard.
5. Does paving require special skills?
Placing bricks in the ground is easy. The skills are in the design, quantity assessment, correct preparation and ground-compaction with the correct levels for drainage and access; packing the pavers correctly with correct and consistent lines; cement and concrete work for reinforcing and edgebeams (no reputable installer fits a cement haunching) and for wet-grouting (rather than tender-standard sand swept over joints)
Additional information is available via the following links: