Let’s face it, when you spend what could be a small fortune on a paving project you expect it to keep looking good for years. Decades even. The good news is that as long as a few fundamental rules are followed this is exactly what happens. After all, the last thing your contractor or landscape designer wants to hear is a client uttering the dreaded sentence, ‘There’s something wrong with the pavers’. Unfortunately, some problems with paving installation don’t show up until weeks, months or even years after job was finished.
So, what issues may arise further down the track? Well, they might include popping, cracking, dipping, rising, staining or discolouration. Let’s have a look at how these issues can be avoided with some simple planning and sensible precautions.
Paving Installation Fail #1 – Not planning for movement
Everyone in Australia is aware of the weather extremes we regularly experience. Intense heat, flooding, cold, we get it all. These, plus invading tree roots, are all competing to move your paving installation. So, way before any pavers go down, this is where the landscaper’s 3 stage operation comes into play – make a plan, check the plan and build the plan. Think carefully about the pavement location, consider drainage, amount of exposure to the weather and intended use.
Practically speaking, there are a number of ways to ensure your pavement can cope with reasonable contraction and expansion. These include expansion joints, flexible grouting, and running joints both ways.
Paving Installation Fail #2 – No or incorrect mortar additives
When working with larger pavers (over 600mm), using the correct mortar additives is important. Additives have been developed to improve a number of factors such as adhesion, workability and elasticity. In other words, a simple mortar mix of sand and cement is not adequate to achieve a long-lasting adhesion.
Installation Fail #3 – Storing pavers incorrectly on site
Engineered pavers are made in batches and are chosen for their consistency. Most clients don’t want a checker board of different shades. But this is what can happen if pavers are incorrectly stored on site prior to a job and allowed to be exposed to sunlight and weather in a disorganized way. Consequently, to avoid disappointment, it’s always better to leave the pavers at the warehouse until they are actually needed.
Paving Installation Fail #4 – Not acid washing
Don’t let this happen to your paving project! Sometimes, when the pressure is on and time and money have run short, some contractors may leave your pavers with nasty looking mortar stains. These are white/grey patches that really let the whole look down.
One of the great features of engineered pavers is that they can be very effectively cleaned after laying with an acid wash. This method can return your pavers to their original condition time after time.