Choosing the paving material, one that will be best for your particular situation, can be quite hard – there is a lot to choose from, and everything depends on the weather, landscape and what are you really trying to achieve.
Whether you’re repaving, or looking for a material to pave your front yard, the choice of material which will be the best for your given situation can be a real nightmare – after all, it’s not like you can easily change it if you’re not entirely satisfied with the final result. Because of that, it’s best to think twice before making the final decision; regretting it later won’t be a very pleasant feeling.
In this article, I’ll try to help you out with that decision – and to do that, I’ll show you the most popular paving materials, and explain the differences between them. I hope that when we’re done, the decision that has to be made will be just a bit easier for you. Let’s take a look at your options then.
What should you think about before deciding:
Most people think that choosing the paving material boils down to the aesthetics, but it’s not always that easy – you have to think about your needs, and the purpose of the pavement, as well as whether or not are there any resources of materials that can be used for paving, which impacts the price.
To find out the best material for you, first you have to answer these questions for yourself:
- What for? – the purpose of your pavement narrows down a number of materials you’ll be choosing from. For example, different kinds of stones have different characteristics – some are more durable, some are less slippery, and some age better. If you’re looking for a paving material to pave around your swimming pool, you’re better off with a stone that doesn’t get slippery when it gets wet. Similarly, when looking for a material for paving an alley in the woods, it has to be able to withstand the harsh conditions and weather.
- Your budget – some materials are naturally more expensive than the others, and that can further narrow your choice. However, if prices are an issue, then I advise you to look around your region for some regional stones – maybe you live in a region with naturally occurring stones, and you didn’t even know that before? If that’s the case, then you’ll be able to get them cheaper than you suspected.
- Your climate – the climate of your area can also make the choice easier because some stones work better under warm conditions, and some take colder climate better. For example, the limestone is just great for the hotter parts of our world, as it’s known for its heat reflective abilities. I’ll talk about this a bit more when I show you the actual materials.
- Aesthetics – now, after you know the answers to the aforementioned questions, is the time to think about your personal taste. You’ll be able to see which materials meet the conditions, and from these pick the one that you consider to be the best-looking option.
The most popular materials
After considering all of the aforementioned points, we’re ready to talk about the actual materials. Pick one that meets your needs, both these practical and the aesthetical ones.
As said before, limestone is what people use for paving in the hotter climates, because of the way it reflects heat. With just a bit of sun, it becomes pretty hot and pleasant to walk on with your bare feet.
Limestone is white, with a gray or brown hue to it – you can see it in the picture attached. Because of that, it works great to light up your gardens or yards, or other shadowy places. It’s also not very expensive, however, it still comes at a bigger expense than concrete or gravel.
If you’re looking for a cozy, yet rich material to pave with around your pool, then limestone can be just what you need. While some people prefer travertine, it’s way more serious and screams luxury. Not everyone likes that, so if you’d rather use something more subtle, then limestone is just great.
A bit similar to limestone, but more expensive. It’s the material of choice when people want to pave around their swimming pools because it offers a very nice touch, so walking on it with your bare feet is very pleasant.
It catches heat the same way limestone does, and in some departments it’s better than it – it’s less porous and harder, thus being easier to maintain. It doesn’t age easily, which is always a plus.
Travertine is a bit more expensive than limestone, and at the same time it’s way more serious – it works best in luxurious, rich mansions when you want to really show off your status. Knowing that, it’s up to you whether you prefer the cozy, tropical limestone or a luxurious, elegant travertine for paving.
This is the most popular choice when it comes to paving, because of its versatility and price. Keep in mind that you can get concrete in many colors and textures, as well as with specially designed patterns. Concrete is not as boring as many people think because they still consider it to be the mediocre and inexpensive material – while it is affordable, it doesn’t mean it’s bad.
If concrete is something up your alley, then there are two ways of using it for paving – cast-in-place and precast.
- Cast-in-place concrete – It’s a very durable material, and the cheapest around when it comes to pavement. It’s suitable for all climates too, so you don’t have to worry about that. Also, an undeniable plus is the fact it’s a very standard building material, so having some additional amount won’t hurt – which means you can store some of it, be it for renewing your pavement or any other purpose, without worrying whether or not will you ever need to use it. The only problem of cast-in-place concrete is the fact that it can crack over time. Make sure you cast it in a way that prevents water from staying on it.
- Precast concrete pavers – because they are precast, and thus come to your house ready, they cost a bit more than if you just used the cast-in-place concrete. However, since they are precast by professionals, they usually come in more amount of designs, shapes and patterns. Still very affordable, and share all of the aforementioned characteristics.
Because they are pretty small, usually coming in 4-by-8 inch size, they are very easy to create various patterns with. They also come in plenty of colors, depending on your producer, so whatever it is you want to create with them, I’m sure you’ll manage to do it. Uncolored, they are of red color, which brings a cozy and warm feeling to your front yard. Keep in mind, however, that paving with bricks can take some time as they have to be placed one by one.
Bricks work great when combined with wooden garden furniture or any other wooden elements, and as such are usually used in the rustic design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them anywhere else – just make sure the design is cohesive.
If you’re not a fan of very thick, hard pavements, then gavel might just be what you need. It’s decomposed natural stone, and works great in the country and rustic styles when you want your yard to be clean and maintained, yet look somewhat raw and natural.
You can buy gravel in bags or pallets, and use it yourself – no need for a professional crew to pave with it. It’s also not very expensive, so that’s always a plus.
Because there is nothing to really destroy when talking about gravel, you don’t need to worry about it cracking like in the case of concrete. However, you might need to resupply it after a couple of years, because when you drive your car or walk on it, it will get stuck in the ground and after some years might be stuck beneath it.
The natural stone granite is very durable and tough, and as such will probably not only outlive you but your children and their children. And then some.
All you really have to do with a granite pavement is clean it with water regularly and then you’re good to go – neither hell or high water will damage this stone. Because of that, it’s the best material for paving when you live in a region with colder climate or less forgiving weather. With granite, you won’t have to be afraid of any cracks and whatnot.
The only problem I can think of is the price because granite doesn’t come cheap – it’s at least $15 per square foot when you want it to be installed by a professional crew, but more likely than not you will because of how heavy it is.
Granite is not a very good material to be used for paving around your pool because it’s rather cold. Use it for your driveways or an anywhere where you really need sturdiness.
Another paving material that’s been born to withstand bad weather and cold climate, slate ain’t afraid of anything you can throw at it – as long as it’s not an anvil.
Jokes aside, while granite was a great material for your driveway, the slate is a bit more elegant and rich, being a great material to pave your patio with. It’s a bit expensive but great for heavy-duty patios, and because you won’t have many problems with maintenance, it may vary well be worth the initial expense.
The color of slate is very deep and rich, and allows for much diversity – there are many tones to choose from, ranging all the way from green to charcoal.
Another kind of stone that’s sturdy yet pleasant to touch. If you’re looking for something elegant and rich, yet cozy, then bluestone is the way to go.
Bluestone is broken along the fissure lines, which makes it interesting – the patterns you can create by using bluestone will save your yard from feeling boring and bland. There a lot of patterns to choose from at the depots, so make sure to pick one that meets your needs most.
About the patterns, bluestone is just great not only for paving outside but also for inside use. Because of that, it might be a very good idea to use it not only in your yard but also for your stairs or even the floor in the interior that’s open on the yard, to make the design cohesive.
Keep in mind, however, that bluestone doesn’t come cheap – but then again, such pavement is worth every penny. If you don’t believe me, check out the picture attached.
How to save some money
While paving your yard or around your swimming pool, or wherever do you want to pave, isn’t cheap, there are ways of cutting on the expenses.
All the pavement types that come in pieces or modules, such as bricks or decomposed stones, can be reused – which means that chances are you could buy them at a huge discount from any reuse warehouses. If prices are an issue for you, don’t forget to check if there are any such warehouses near you.
Other than that, as I’ve said before, check if you aren’t living near a quarry. Plenty of people do without even knowing that, and they miss out on great deals because their local region offers certain stones at huge discounts. Not only that, but you also won’t have to pay very much for transporting the paving materials.
This is it, fellow readers – now you know what to consider before buying the paving materials, and which of them are the most popular and for what purpose.