Flagstone paving and patios

Patio paving

With more brick manufacturing companies now producing their own range of flagstones, it has become very common for home owners to pave their patios with the various types and styles of flagstones which have become available. In the past 2 months we have had more than our normal amount of inquiries for patio paving quotations.

Pool paving with LaCotta 3 size cobble paving

Pool paving with LaCotta 3 size cobble paving

65% of the time people prefer the 3 different size flagstones around the swimming pool or on the patio and entertainment area but there is a growing trend to go with the larger size flagstone as a stand-alone.
We just installed a 500 x 500 flagstone on a patio and around the swimming pool which when finished looked fantastic. The client has had the paving sealed professionally which has enhanced the paved area incredibly. Please give the paving on your patio more than just a casual thought as it is the place where you will be entertaining your guests.

Pool paving with Corobrick

Paving with Corobrick Nutmeg and Cederberg

On another note, Bosun bricks, a large paving brick manufacturer has also recently manufactured a 3 size paving brick which in my opinion is specifically designed for the driveway.

Urban paver in Granite look

Ganite urban paver from Bosun

The Bosun urban paver when laid has a real granite and/or a marble finish that stands heads above most of its competitors. We have laid this paver in a couple of driveways recently with extremely positive reactions from not only the owners but also from their neighbours. This paving brick might not be ideal for a patio or around a swimming pool but it is a paver that will turn heads when laid on your driveway.

Plastic under the paving

Plastic under the paving

I was called by one of our building contractors to analyze why a client of his had a problem with their paving. The client is a major law firm in Johannesburg and their paving was only 5 years old but was shifting badly and opening gaps in the paving. Some of the gaps were as wide as 4cm. I personally could not believe that the paving was only 5 years old and even though it was cement bevel bond and not clay, there was just no way that the paving should have deteriorated to this extent.

Plastic under the paving being removed

re lifting the driveway to remove the plastic sheeting

We lifted a section of the paving to get an idea of how the paving was stabilised and found that the paving had been laid on a waterproof plastic sheeting. I knew just then that it could not have been a master builders paving company that laid the paving and actually told him. The client told me that it was the builder that built the building that also did the paving but wanted to know how I knew. The answer was simple, how is paving going to stabilise if laid on a sheet of plastic and where is the rain water going to drain to?

Paving destroyed by laying in water on plastic sheet

Water laying on the plastic sheet

Most builders do not know the science of paving but will undertake the job for the extra cash and most clients are just too lazy and too complacent to call in someone else to do the paving. The problem is that 3-5 years down the line the paving needs to be uplifted and re-laid which just adds to the expense of the paving.

never use plastic sheets under your paving.

Plastic sheeting under your paving offers no stability to your paving.

If you are about to do paving, ask the company that you are considering to use, to please lay a plastic sheeting under your paving, if they agree, fire them and get a paving company that not only refuses to lay plastic under the paving but also explains why it is wrong.

Relaying old bricks

Paving is a science and it should not be treated lightly or it will cost you a lot of money in the long run. Contact Richard on 084 300 4220 for more advice or a free quote on your paving.

Creative paving for gardens

Creative Paving for gardens

I went to the hobby x show at the Dome last week and saw an idea for a garden or an area of the back which might be currently neglected. Often there are areas around the house that is just never used and is therefore neglected or forgotten and often gets over run with weeds.

chess board with pieces

Why not get charcoal and Grey flagstones and create a chess or checkers board? There was a company called Bigchess that had chess pieces 84cm high and only 2.4kg in weight. I picked up a couple of the pieces to ensure that even a child could move the chess pieces. These chess pieces are almost indestructible as they are made from a durable polyethylene plastic with a 4mm wall.

Chess

With a couple of park benches or garden furniture this once neglected area of the garden could become very popular. The chess board and pieces could also be a very good selling item and cover up what used to be a eye sore. The entire area could be landscaped and with a little imagination it could end up as the main featured area of the house.

CAM00072

This is just one example of how to tackle an area that is currently your problem area at your house. Consult a few friends or family and have a brainstorming session with them and you will be amazed at the ideas that come pouring out. Show them what your problem is, tell them about this article and that should get the ideas to flow until the point where you have not only solved a problem area but you also have created a unique reason for your house to be in demand the day it is put up for sale.

Driveway paving design

Driveway Paving design

For most people the paving around the house and on the driveway is the last thing considered when building or renovating a house, yet it is the driveway paving that a potential buyer first sees when approaching a house.

Cotswold_Mushroom2

Paving should be more than just a path to the garage and the front or back door, plus it needs a little maintenance to retain your investment. The first thing to consider is the brick type that will best show off your house and then the colour of the paving brick which will also compliment the house. Always check if the brick or paver that you selected is suitable for a driveway as many paving bricks will not take the harsh weather conditions, most paving stone manufacturers agree that the brick or stone needs to also be a minimum of 50mm for driveway use.

paving with flagstones and clay

Flagstones and clay combined

Then using a pen and paper you could design your paving layout and then using one or two long hose pipes or pebbles you could lay out your design to get a visual of just what the driveway will look like when finished. Will the driveway simply go as a straight line from the street to the garage or can you create a circle where cars can drive to the house and continue on the circle back to the street? Then will you have a garden running alongside the driveway? There is so much that can go into designing a presentable driveway and presenting your house in a more desirable manner. Even if you are not considering selling your house now, think of the day when you will sell and how your 1st impression is going to entice the potential buyer from coming in.

Copy (2) of 2012-11-29 11.41.29

Don’t just let anyone lay your paving as it is a qualified profession and even qualified builders often can’t lay paving properly but will undertake the job. For a maximum return on your investment, let builders build, pool contractors do your pool and paving companies install your paving.

Urban paver in Granite look

Ganite urban paver from Bosun

Contact Richard Arthur on 084 300 4220 (Gauteng) for more advice or a professional free quote.

Paving needs maintanance

 Keep your paving in good condition.

If you have grass growing on your paving the chances are that you have been negligent regarding the care of your paving. Every item we buy today needs some maintenance, this includes paving. Grass not only spoils the look of the paving but it can also destroy your paving in a short space of time.

Grass on paving

In most cases but not all, a simple medium to soft spray from a garden hose and a house broom can be all that is needed to maintain the new rich luster that your bricks had when they were first laid. But, as I said earlier, it is not always the owner’s non-care that degrades the paving, it could also be bad workmanship.

Grass removed for paving

Bricks lifted and the ground being prepared.

The Master builders association of South Africa and those paving companies that are registered with the Master builders association have a strict method of installing paving. This is no guarantee that things can still not go wrong, but it does give peace of mind knowing that the company is still going to be around to repair anything that might have gone wrong. Price is always a factor but long term satisfaction can always trump price.

clay edgebeam

Edgebeam redone

Richard Arthur has been in the paving industry and sales for most of his 38 year working life and suggests that you should test your salesman to see if he has your project at heart. Most salespeople are only focused on their commission from your job but seasoned salesmen think of the referrals that a good installation always brings. A real professional will want to spend some time with you to ensure that your purchase is not only exactly what you would like, but is the right product for the job as well.

Paving circle around a tree

Paving with a tree in the middle.

Do a little research of your own concerning the different brick types either online or at your local brick yard, suggest a brick type as a possible selection to the salesman and see if he/she runs only with that selection or if they offer something different. They should then give reasons why your selection is or is not the right selection for your needs and offer alternatives which they feel could be better for the job. You will soon get the feeling whether the salesman is there for just your order, or if they are being professional.

brick co double cobble

Now obviously it is always better if you are on hand to watch the way the contractor is going about installing your paving, but often we buy a house and the paving is already done. I suggest that now that you know a bit more about paving, that one of the areas that you take a look at before purchasing that new house is the paving. If you can identify the fact that the paving is busy disintegrating you could get a nice discount on the property as you can point out that the paving will have to be redone. Paving today is not a cheap, so, take paving a bit more serious and you could be having your next holiday on the money that your paving knowledge has just saved you.

2 colour paving on a driveway

2 colour bevel bond paving on a driveway

Contact Richard Arthur for a free quote and sound advice 084 300 4220

Concrete pavers in demand

Concrete products move.

We have had one month of the new year and customers are swinging more towards concrete products from LaCotta and Smartstone than the traditional clay pavers from companies like Corobrick. I used to get 6 out of 10 inquiries for clay and the balance was a spread across the board for 6 concrete suppliers.

paving with LaCotta

Pool paving with LaCotta 3 size cobble paving

The type of finish that seems to be the trend at the moment is the 3 different size pavers. Most of the concrete brick suppliers manufacture the paving bricks in a range of colours with a light brownish yellow (sandstone) being the current favourite. The main key here is to ensure that the bricks are S.A.B.S or there could be a problem with colour or the actual finish could be warped.

Paving under the lapa

3 size flagstone pavers

In a paving site recently we were asked to do the paving around a swimming pool with the clients bricks that he obtained from a friend that manufactures bricks. The bricks were so out of shape that we rather walked off the job. The long term result would have been a bad reflection on our company name. We told the client what we were concerned with but he had total faith in his friend and would not even consider an alternative brick.

paving with flagstones and clay

Flagstones and clay combined

These concrete pavers are more expensive than their clay counterparts but give a very up market finish. I suggest that you look at a couple of finished paving projects or closer in photographs to see if you like any particular style and then get samples to choose the correct colour. For more help and assistance phone me on 084 300 4220.

Driveway paving

Driveway Paving

The one area around a house that really takes a pounding is the driveway paving. This often-neglected area is the first item seen by potential buyers when looking to buy a house. Driveway paving is not often seen to be deteriorating until it starts to fall apart and then it is a deterrent to any potential buyer. Paving is subliminal and either attracts or repels people from a house.

Driveway done in Tuscan paving

Tuscan clay paving bricks from Corobrick

There are certain bricks that are designed to enhance the appearance of any house plus many are designed to take the punishment that it needs to take. Then there are some very attractive bricks that are just not suited to being laid on a driveway. I always suggest people that are about to embark on driveway paving to call a couple of companies in to quote but ask each one for their preference and then ask the next company their thoughts on that suggested brick. You will soon know who is just out to get your order and who has your interest at heart.

Double charcoal border

Infraset cobble paving with double border.

My personal preference for driveway paving is clay. Clay is a natural product that expands when hot and contracts when cold. It has a very pleasing appearance when finished and will always increase the value of any house. Installation of clay pavers will mean that the installation company will use rubber expansion strips to ensure that the paving can breath. It is almost like you have a living breathing driveway with the potential to last for decades.

Cederberg and Nutmeg driveway paving

Clay paving done with Corobrick

Clay paving has been the preferred choice around swimming pools and to this day you will find more than 65% of new pools being installed with clay paving around the perimeter. I would just like to stress at this point that the installation of any paving is not as simple as it may sound, there are installation procedures that need to be followed if the paving is to last. See one of our previous articles on this blog regarding paving installation. Good luck and God bless you, Richard 084 300 4220

Paving design

Paving designs are personal.

Designing the paving for your house can be very simple and at the same time very complex. Nothing is more bland or none appealing than paving that is laid everywhere with no natural grass or flower beds visible. If we remember that paving needs to increase the value of the house, paving then deserves more attention than just calling in a contractor and going with the cheapest quote.

Cotswold_Mushroom2

If we truly want to maximize our investment, it is always good advice to have a landscaper first lay out the garden areas and assist with the areas that should be paved. A word of warning, “ always call a paving company to do your paving, no matter who advises you otherwise.” Some landscapers have paving companies that they prefer to work with because of their history of working together while others will simply lay out the areas to be paved and then leave it up to the house owner to finalize the paving. Either way, you should give the paving style and the paving brick the same amount of consideration that you did with the entertainment area or the location of the pool.

appearance makes a huge impact.

Create a style of your own

There are a lot of home owners that prefer to do their own landscaping ideas and that is great. There are plenty of ideas on the internet regarding how to landscape a garden and if you spend a little time you will save a lot of money getting to grips with the art of landscaping. But which ever way a person goes, remember that paving and gardening increase any investment if done correctly. I would again like to emphasize that you don’t have to install very expensive bricks to increase the return on investment, often a cheaper clay brick will enhance a property far more than an imitation rock made with cement/concrete.

Corobrick with a plastic drain

It is in most cases ethically better to keep with a similar type of brick on the driveway, pathways and pool areas as it comes across as “patchwork” when different types of paving stones/bricks are used at different areas. Even when the same colour is used on a different size or different shape bricks at different areas, the impression is often still one of patchwork. Not that different bricks cannot be used at different places, just ask for samples or pictures where similar paving was laid to get a better picture of how the end product will look.

Copy of whhelchair ramp

Paving is the first thing you see when arriving home and the last item you see when leaving, so designing the paving should and does deserve professional assistance to ensure that it becomes a return on investment and not a costly mistake. There are many types of paving bricks that fit into most budgets, so don’t think that calling in a professional paving company/person is going to be costly, it could save you a bundle of money and give you the look and feel that your house deserves.

Paving prices

Paving prices looked at.

Paving is often seen as a necessary evil, but, if a little knowledge is used when paving your house, then the paving ends up being a very worthwhile investment with long term benefits.

Cederberg paving with nutmeg

Cederberg paving with a nutmeg diamond

One of the confusing areas that needs to be decided on is the actual paving brick, but there are so many different types available. My personal choice has always been the clay paving brick as it is a natural product and if it is installed correctly with expansion joints, the paved area will last for decades. Unlike any of its cement counterparts, clay expands and contracts and therefore needs expansion joints fitted at the time it is installed. Clay paving is not only an excellent investment it is also a long lasting product that needs little maintenance.

Paving with Corobrick Namaqua

Corobrick Namaqua driveway

Clay pavers also come in a bit of a range and can vary from a 50mm brick designed for paving to a brick broken in half due to it not conforming in some way to the batch currently being manufactured. Clay building bricks can also be used for paving purposes and are known to last for decades if laid correctly with expansion joints fitted. The broken brick variety is also a highly recommended type of paving that is known to last for decades with very little maintenance. If one just drives or preferably walks a couple of blocks in one’s own neighborhood and examines the paving that has been laid at a lot of the houses in the neighborhood, then it becomes a little obvious which paving lasts longer than others due to appearance and durability. Never be afraid to ask home owners for their recommendations regarding paving as they have already experienced the life of their paving and can therefore give you some sound advice and possibly the telephone number of a good installer.

Corobrick driveway

Steep driveway done with clay paving.

Price is always a major factor with most people and again, just like any other product, there is a range of clay products that have a range of prices but the broken brick variety is among the cheapest and yet one of the strongest forms of paving. The broken brick variety is laid in a circular manner and it therefore has a very athletically accepted look and feel. Dollar for dollar, the broken brick clay paving style is tops both in cost and durability and is an excellent return on investment item. But, whatever your budget and no matter the style or class of your house, clay paving will always give an excellent return on your investment and will stay looking new and fresh for decades longer than most other paving products.

Paving a driveway in cobble

Driveway in broken brick cobble

There are a lot of small manufacturers that now produce their own range of paving bricks but not all produce a brick than can stand up to the punishment that a paving brick needs to take. Before investing in any brick, always ask for references that are in excess of 3 years old and check with the references how they still feel about the product. Often the reference not only confirms the brick but also gives the name and phone number of the installer. If the paving still looks good after 3 years then the brick and the installer are who you need to get hold of.

Red and charcoal bevel paving

For additional advice or a free quote, contact Richard on 011 867 2957 or 084 300 4220

invest in your paving.

Is your paving an investment?

There are literally 100’s of different types of paving bricks/stones available and then there are a multitude of colours that most are available in as well. Even though paving has been around for 1000’s of years, it can still be a bit tricky ensuring that your hard earned cash becomes an investment when the paving types/style is selected. Your driveway and pathways might look good in a particular type of brick but you might find out later that the brick on the driveway is breaking up as it was not really designed to be laid as a driveway stone/brick.

Flagstone paving

Patio with style

In almost every case the brick used on your driveway should not be less than 50mm thick, there are very few exceptions to this rule. Another thing to consider regarding the look and feel of your driveway is the practicality of driving on the paving during a rain storm. Will the paving allow your tyres to grip or will they slip and slide? Obviously this will also depend on the gradient of your driveway.

paving with flagstones and clay

Flagstones and clay combined

There are so many factors that come into play regarding your paving, but when looking to increase the investment return on your house, it is always worth the effort to ensure that you have made the right decision. Don’t get bullied by a salesman who is more concerned with his/her commission than your investment. Don’t also fall into the neighborhood syndrome where everyone is paving with a certain style or a specific brick and you feel compelled to comply and do the same. Often it pays to be a little different but obviously with some knowledge of what is the correct type of brick to be used at various places around the house.

Paving steps in nutmeg

Steps build with Corobrick nutmeg pavers.

Now that you are armed with some paving knowledge, you are bound to be a boss in your neighborhood and can expect people to ask your advise regarding their paving. Paving styles in South Africa are not very different to the styles around the world but there are styles which are unique to every country, do a little homework with Google and ensure that your paving turns out to be one of the best investments you make at your house.

Smartstone paving

Smartstone Cotswold

Get solid advice, phone Richard today on 011 867 2957 or 084 300 4220