There’s currently a wide range of pavers available in Australia, many of which are ideal for use in landscaping projects for private and commercial properties. However, it can be difficult to decide which type is best for your specific needs. At Better Exteriors, because we understand that the residents of a property may be there long-term, we involve them in the decision making process. Read on to learn more about the different options available for you to choose from.
The two main types of pavers available are natural stone pavers and concrete/masonry alternatives.
However, natural stone has many advantages over concrete, including the following:
However, there are some considerations that must be taken into account with natural stone. We explore these in detail below.
While natural stone is a fantastic choice for paving, it’s important to keep the following issues in mind.
There are some dark coloured pavers (including bluestone and some granites) that can get quite hot when laid in sunny areas, making them uncomfortable to walk on when barefoot. However, sandstone and travertine pavers won’t have this problem, as they feature lighter colours that won’t trap the warmth of the sun.
There are also low grade bluestone pavers that can suffer from moisture sensitivity issues. As a result, they can warp and curl when laid on traditional mortar beds. Unfortunately, many people buy these pavers due to their initial low cost only to find that they require very expensive laying methods, including pre-sealing before laying and the use of expensive two part adhesives to minimise instances of stone warping.
It’s also important to note that most sandstone pavers don’t meet Australian standards for resistance to salt attack. We recommend that when laying sandstone around a swimming pool, coping should be dip sealed with a special sealer before being installed so all faces and edges are sealed.
Another issue with natural stone is the variance in colour and texture ranging from piece to piece. However, there are many who see this as an advantage, as it ensures a truly unique result. For those who do prefer a more consistent appearance, concrete masonry pavers are recommended.
With so many factors to consider, it’s recommended that you speak to a professional stone merchant before making a final decision.
As it is colour fast, natural stone won’t lose its colour over time, while concrete pavers will fade and appear “tired” in their appearance with the passing of time. Another benefit of natural stone is its versatility, as it can be produced in various sizes, shapes, finishes and profiles.
Pavers are available in a range of shapes, including rectangular, square and round. Rectangular pavers are better suited for wide areas and contemporary landscape projects, while square pavers have a more classic look that makes them more appropriate for smaller areas such as pathways, balconies and verandas. There are also other options that can be used to add interest to a project, including crazy paving, cobbles, ashlar pattern and organic shaped units (also referred to as “rounds”). However, these additional shapes are not available in concrete pavers.
One last factor to consider when choosing pavers is the colour. Concrete pavers are available in an extensive range of colours, as they are created with oxides that can be blended with different sands and materials to create different hues. Meanwhile, natural stone pavers are only available in neutral blacks, greys and whites, as they’re formed over many years. However, these colours are currently considered on-trend by many designers.
Don’t just settle for any singular, lifeless colour or design when it comes to selecting pavers for your outdoor entertaining area. Choose pavers with personality similar to your own that still complement the surrounds of your property.