Pavers 101: A Home Guide

Paving stones, also known as pavers, are typically made with natural stone, brick, or concrete. This guide will help you understand the differences between these materials to help you choose the best paver for your walkway, patio, outdoor living space, fire pit, and any other project you can imagine!

While a traditional concrete walkway or patio can cost less than pavers in the short term- the installation technique, poor durability, and difficulty of repairs have a dramatic impact not only on the appearance of the area, but on the true cost in the long term. Pavers are an exciting way to increase the aesthetic value of your property and decrease the amount of long-term care needed with long-lasting, durable products like the ones reviewed in this guide.

Natural Stone vs. Clay Paver vs. Concrete Paver

There are three main types of paver materials: natural stone, clay, and concrete. Pavers come in hundreds of different styles and colors to choose from. Your budget, style, and where you want to use the pavers will all help you decide which direction you want to go with your project.

Natural Stone

The most common type of natural stone pavers are irregular or patterned flagstone. Natural stone is typically a more expensive choice than brick and concrete because it has to be mined from quarries. This takes much more effort to extract, transport, and install, but being that it’s mined, each paver is unique and not molded into blocks. There’s an earthy charm in the familiar coloring of natural stone pavers.

Limestone and granite pavers, for example, are strong and often used for edging. Natural stone pavers retain their natural color, withstand weather and don’t need a lot of cleaning. They are also an excellent choice for walkways that endure heavy traffic or use.

Tyson noted some important details about color and the selection of paver materials for your project.

“Natural stone installs are always unique and one-of-a-kind since the quarried material is never the same mix of colors and sizes. Paver colors allow for many unique looks as well depending on how the color combinations are used. Concrete can be colored to complement surrounding hardscape elements on a structure or house.”

There is something uniquely refined and elegant about a natural stone patio. We can help you make that dream a reality.

Natural stone is prized for its timeless beauty.  It never goes out of style. This is often referred to as lifetime material since it will last well over 100 years in almost any outdoor setting.

– Tyson Mueller, Villani Landshapers Director of Design/Build

Clay Pavers

Pavers and bricks that are made of clay have a wide variety of different colors and textures. Brick is typically very strong and used as paving material for pedestrian walkways and vehicular areas. Clay pavers have the ability to withstand an extremely high level of loading and are suited to many different types of landscaping applications.

Concrete Pavers

A major selling point of concrete pavers is that they’re much less costly to manufacture, which means they’re more affordable per square foot than natural stone pavers. Architectural grade concrete pavers are specially designed, mixed, and molded to look just like natural stone, which means you can still get that “natural look” without the premium price tag. Tyson also indicated that they’ll last for 20 years or more.

How to Install Pavers

For pathways and walkways, plan for a width of at least three feet. For driveways, measure your vehicles and allow enough space with the doors open for people to move comfortably around the car. The more space the better!

Interlocking pavers are manufactured pavers that are easier to install. We lay them side-by-side to create neat, interactive designs with borders that separate your lawn and garden spaces. They can also be stacked in a low wall to make a raised bed, patio, walkway or other outdoor living space. You do not need mortar to achieve a tight fit between interlocking pavers.

A Villani work crew on a client site with natural stone.

The joints between each paver are what help increase the longevity of the product, eliminating the chance for cracking like you would see in a conventional concrete walkway or patio after a couple of years.

Take a look at some of our paver patio work here!

How To Maintain Pavers & Natural Stone

Pavers and natural stone are virtually maintenance-free. Sweeping, sealing, and regular cleaning of pavers enhances their color and durability, increasing longevity. 

Sealing some types of pavers will minimize staining and help them last longer. It’s a good idea to re-seal concrete pavers every five years, especially in areas with heavy traffic and a lot of wear. Tyson went on to say:

“While natural stone and brick pavers can be sealed, in my opinion, the materials look better if allowed to naturally weather and blend in with their surroundings.  A light power wash every 10 years or so is all that is needed to keep it looking beautiful. Concrete should be sealed every 5 years or so to keep it looking good.”

Clay pavers usually don’t need sealing unless they regularly come in contact with grease and oil, like in areas around a barbecue grill or under cars that leak oil and other fluids. To clean brick pavers and natural stone, use water and a small amount of detergent to wash away grime. 

You can also fix a cracked paver but it’s only necessary if the crack is large and noticeable, though it may be less expensive and easier to replace individual pavers than fix cracks. When choosing color, we have noticed that darker color pavers fade faster, but this fading can be slowed down by sealing the area.

A natural stone walkway.

Natural stone, brick, and concrete paver projects increase the value of your home and significantly enhance the curb appeal of your property, taking your space to the next level.

Are you looking for a product, materials, or have questions? We’d love to set you up for a consultation with one of our designers to discuss options that work best for your property! Contact our office for more information at 262-252-4541!