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What are Patio Pavers?

Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith

Patio pavers is a term applied to any type of brick or stone used to construct a patio area. These paving units may be made from a variety of materials, and are typically available for purchase from local home improvement stores, rock quarries, and on the Internet. They may be installed by paving contractors or personally, by homeowners.

The most frequently used type of paver available is brick. This material is relatively inexpensive and readily available at local home and garden stores. It is also easy to install and is available in a variety of colors, sizes, and finishes. They may be found in traditional rectangular shapes, ranging in color from light sand to deep red. They are also sold in unique shapes, like pentagons and hexagons, and in interlocking river-rock designs which tend to feature uneven sides.

Cracked pavers.
Cracked pavers.

Bricks can hold large amounts of weight, making them common choices for large areas which may hold heavy patio furniture and vehicles. They are also very flexible as patio pavers due to the design of their installation. Brick is traditionally installed over a sandy base in an interlocking design. Each individual piece may move slightly within the compacted subsurface, providing give in situations of extreme pressure and stress. Solid materials, such as concrete and asphalt patios, tend to crack under similar circumstances.

Moss growing between cobblestone pavers on a patio.
Moss growing between cobblestone pavers on a patio.

Brick patio pavers are easy to maintain over a long period of time. If one single piece, or a small group of pieces become cracked and damaged, they can be removed without destroying the overall design. This simply involves removing the affected areas from the sandy subsurface and replacing them with new brick. Solid surfaces, which are not installed as interlocking pieces, often require the entire patio to be resurfaced and the damaged areas to be removed by use of a jackhammer.

Stone is another type of material commonly used as patio pavers. Brick pavers are formed by hand from clay and water and allowed to harden in pre-made molds. Stone is made from naturally-occurring rock that is chipped out of deposits in the earth, known as quarries.

Some popular choices of stone are limestone, marble, sandstone, and porphyry. This material is similarly available in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes. Unlike brick, stone may be finished into a polished or flat surface, depending on the desires of the purchaser.

Travertine is often used as patio pavers around pools and fountains due to its porous nature and non-friction surface. This material is formed through the interaction of lime and minerals in hot springs, and is often referred to as a type of limestone. It is similar in nature to marble, and is typically more expensive than brick or stone. Travertine maintains color over time and does not freeze during extreme weather conditions. It will last over extremely long periods of time without requiring repair or replacement. The Colosseum in Greece is made from travertine.

Patio pavers may be laid in any type of design, as long as they fit the needs of the specified area. Patios may be rectangular or square in shape with uniform edges, or they may be curved and irregular to accommodate landscaping needs. The design of the overall space often determines the size and shape of the pavers, as well as the pattern in which they are laid.

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    • Cracked pavers.
      Cracked pavers.
    • Moss growing between cobblestone pavers on a patio.
      By: Alex Petelin
      Moss growing between cobblestone pavers on a patio.