November 20th 2019
Choosing what you lay your driveway, patio, path or garden with is a pretty important decision to make.
After all, you're going to be walking on it almost every day.
Arguably one of the best, most attractive and long-lasting options is to use brick pavers. Paving can be done with several materials but brick paving is one of the oldest and best-loved.
The style works on both domestic and public property, from patios to pedestrian zones, and if done right can add a touch of character that you just wouldn't get with other options.
Here's all you need to know about brick pavers, the different kinds available and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Brick pavers, or block pavers as they're sometimes called, are durable in comparison to concrete paving slabs for example, and you can usually find a brick that meets your specifications. They're practical, aesthetically pleasing (if you pick the right ones) and could be an environmentally sustainable option.
They don't just have to be classically brick-shaped either - there are lots of shapes and textures available. We look at some of them below.
The main factor that may influence your decision on what's right for your project is the material they're made from.
Brick pavers are usually separated into two categories; clay and concrete.
Clay pavers are those which most closely resemble bricks and are manufactured from naturally sourced material. Concrete, on the other hand, is a synthetic material which allows the manufacturer to fit it to any mould.
Both can be mixed with pigments or other ingredients to create new colours or textures.
We're not going to lie; we much prefer clay, for many reasons, but your choice of paver does depend on the project. It may be that concrete works better for you.
The main advantage clay pavers haves over concrete is simply that they look better, and look better for longer.
Because of their hardwearing nature, the colour they have is highly unlikely to fade. Just look at clay pavers that were laid 100 years ago. Sure, they might be covered with moss and have a few chips but they won't have lost their colour.
Concrete blocks, on the other hand, will fade in a shorter time frame. Blocks that are used to make pavements or walkways will have lost the vibrant colour they had originally within 10 years or so.
Good quality clay pavers are also sustainably manufactured. Being manufactured from an inert material means they don't have toxic or allergic substances which pollute the soil during the manufacturing process.
Not only do concrete pavers not look as nice or last as long but they're also prone to some defects.
Over some time, contact with water can lead to a reaction known as efflorescence. This is where wispy white stains start to appear on the surface of the concrete. It's essentially a result of salts forming on the surface and it doesn't look great.
They are cheaper than clay pavers and a lot more easily accessible - this is why you see more of them on driveways in the UK. You'll be able to pick them up from your local DIY store and potentially in much greater quantities. For bigger projects where budget restraints are a factor maybe this is the way to go.
But if you want quality that's going to last and give off a timeless, rustic aesthetic then clay pavers are the way to go.
Pavers aren't necessarily just plain rectangular bricks. There is a wide range of styles and colours you could use depending on the overall look you're going for.
If you're looking for a rustic, old-world feel then a popular choice is tumbled bricks. These have been artificially distressed by 'tumbling' them after manufacture.
You may be able to find reclaimed pavers (bricks that have been given a second life) but these are harder to find in large quantities so going for tumbled bricks may be a better option.
You can also get your pavers to have the look of a Victorian town by getting moulded bricks. These are more accessible and are generally made with concrete but usually look pretty good and will add a bit of character to your driveway.
There are different shapes of blocks too. Whilst the British standard is rectangular, on the continent they tend to prefer shaped or interlocking bricks.
W or S-shaped blocks, hexagonal Agora blocks and the more free-form Fischer blocks are all popular choices when it comes to adding some personality to your pavement.
These types of blocks create an interesting pattern and each block interlocks with the next making for a straightforward laying process. Of course, bear in mind that these styles are probably going to be more expensive.
Even with your standard rectangular clay or concrete brick, there are still many ways to make your drive or path look interesting. Rather than laying them down in a straightforward formation you could go for a more unique pattern.
The Herringbone style is popular and has several variations depending on the size of the bricks. You could also use the basketweave pattern, a stretcher bond or even a mix of sizes together.
If all you're looking for are standard concrete pavers, we recommend visiting your local DIY store or Builder's Merchant. However, if you do want the added touch of class that you get with higher quality clay pavers then we may be able to find what you're looking for. Fill out our Brick Selection form with what you're looking for, and one of the team will help you find and price what you need.