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  • Benefits of Paving Stones

    pitched paving stone driveway in SacramentoWhy Choose Paving Stones for Your Sacramento Property?

    When installing a driveway, patio, pool deck or similar masonry feature at your Sacramento home, you have two primary options: poured concrete or paving stones. If you don’t know which choice is right for you, consider the following benefits of the latter:

    Aesthetic beauty

    On the sole basis of appearance, it’s hard to compete with the visual and textural appeal of paving stones. Since paving stone masonry features are assembled by hand, they not only provide ample opportunities for custom design, they also lend a uniquely nuanced, artisan aesthetic.

    Creative possibilities

    Since paving stones are available in myriad colors, shapes, sizes and textures, the possibilities for design are practically endless. Furthermore, if the architecture of your Sacramento home reflects a specific era or style, you can find a paving stone product to match it. For example, if you own a Victorian home in Mansion Flats, you can choose cobblestone pavers to achieve a befitting aesthetic with your masonry driveway or walkway.

    Flexibility

    Since they’re composed of multiple pieces rather than a monolithic slab, paving stone masonry features are better able to handle soil movement and resist cracking than poured concrete installations. This attribute is particularly beneficial in Sacramento, which, like much of Northern California, contains high amounts of hardpan clay soil. Since clay soil is prone to absorb and retain water, the consequent soil expansion and contraction throughout the year is apt to cause cracking in poured concrete slabs. Of course, the prevalence of seismic activity in Northern California is also a pertinent factor. Overall, using paving stones to build your masonry driveway or pool deck will substantially reduce the likelihood of damage caused by these natural factors.

    Easy repair

    If a paving stone masonry feature is damaged, repairs are typically easy thanks to its piecemeal composition, which allows individual pavers to be removed and replaced as needed. This attribute is particularly beneficial if there’s plumbing or electrical piping situated beneath the installation. In contrast, it’s rarely possible to repair a concrete slab without ruining its aesthetic continuity, which is why replacement is often the sole option.

    Environmental friendliness

    A common problem with landscape construction projects is their contribution to lowered water table levels. When an area is paved over with concrete, water is unable to penetrate the soil beneath, which means it must run off into a nearby sewer or stream. Fortunately, paving stone masonry features can be engineered in a way that amends this deficiency. Permeable pavers allow water to penetrate the installation’s surface and recharge the water table below. As you interview masonry contractors, ask about their experience with permeable paving stone installations.

    Increased Property Value

    With its combination of aesthetic beauty, durability and practicality, a paving stone masonry feature typically adds more property resale value than a poured concrete installation. However, paving stones are also more expensive than concrete, so make sure the amount you invest makes sense for your home’s value. If you reside in a high-value Sacramento neighborhood like Richmond Grove or Land Park, paving stones will likely give you a good return on your investment. Ask your masonry contractor if paving stones are a wise investment for your property.

    Budget flexibility

    If budget constraints are impeding your masonry project, paving stones can offer yet another benefit. Since paver features are constructed piecemeal, you have the option to complete yours in phases, which can help accommodate a modest budget. In contrast, poured concrete installations typically have to be installed all at once, which offers little budget flexibility.

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  • Planning for a Masonry Feature

    masonry contractors used paving stones to build this Sacramento driveway5 Things to Consider for a Paving Stone Masonry Feature

    When planning for a new paving stone masonry feature at your Sacramento home, you’ll need to consider several factors to ensure a satisfactory result.

    1. Design

    One of the first things to consider for your masonry project is its design. Here are some pertinent aspects:

    Your home’s architecture

    Make sure the feature’s design complements the architectural period and style of your home—otherwise, it may look out of place. Fortunately, modern paving stones can match any architectural style, including Victorian, Tudor, Mediterranean, Eichler, Craftsman and more. When interviewing masonry contractors for your project, ask about their experience with designing for specific architectural styles.

    Color scheme

    Choose a color scheme that complements the colors of your home and landscape. Muted hues and earth tones are often good choices for exterior masonry features because they don’t stand out too much. However, some applications may call for brighter or bolder colors.

    Stone size and shape

    Paving stones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so consider the full spectrum of your options. Homeowners who install pavers in a small area often assume large stones are out of the question, but this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, large stones can actually make a small area appear more expansive.

    2. Practicality

    Your paver installation may look beautiful, but if it isn’t practical, you could wind up with unexpected issues. For example, if you have elderly family members who live with you or visit often, a cobblestone walkway won’t be a good choice. Not only will it make using a walker or wheelchair difficult, it’ll also increase the chances for falls.

    3. Foundation

    Any masonry feature requires a solid foundation beneath it­—otherwise, all your hard work can gradually come undone. The first step is to determine the type of soil you’re working with and the level of soil compaction that’s needed. Much of the Sacramento region contains hardpan clay soil, which is more difficult to work with than other soil types due to its composition and high water retention. If you’re working with clay soil, you’ll likely need to amend it with base rock and compact it.

    After preparing and compacting the soil, the next step is to put down a layer of geotextile fabric. Typically composed of polypropylene or polyester, geotextile fabric serves two crucial functions. First, it reinforces the installation by supporting the pavers’ weight and preventing sinking or excessive movement. Second, it acts as a permeable filter that allows water to pass through while preventing the soil beneath from intermixing with the pavers and weakening the installation.

    Altogether, a correct combination of compacted soil, base rock and geotextile fabric will create a strong foundation for your paving stone feature. When interviewing masonry contractors for your project, ask them about their installation process with paving stones.

    4. Drainage

    If the area in which you’re building is sloped or prone to drainage problems, it’s crucial to address this in your design—otherwise, you may end up with water pooling on your paving stone driveway or patio. Proper grading, French drains and hidden catch basins can all be implemented to prevent water-related issues. Additionally, the use of permeable pavers can help ensure proper drainage of your masonry feature. Make sure the masonry contractor you hire is adept at solving drainage issues.

    5. Features and options

    Retaining edges

    If you have gravel, wood chips or dirt along the perimeter of your paving stone feature, have your masonry contractor install retaining edges to keep it from spilling over onto the pavers.

    Paving stone composition

    In terms of composition, there are two basic types of paving stones: through-mix pavers, which are the same color throughout, and face-mix pavers, which are gray pavers coated with color. The downside of face-mix pavers is that chips can reveal the gray concrete beneath and create a conspicuous eyesore. In contrast, when through-mix paving stones are chipped, it won’t disrupt the installation’s color continuity.

    Joint sand

    While often overlooked, joint sand is a critical component of any paving stone feature. A good option to consider is polymeric joint sand, which, unlike regular joint sand, is instilled with a glue-like substance that locks it into place. Polymeric joint sand is particularly beneficial for installations like pitched driveways and paver pool decks, where joint sand is more prone to be washed away or migrate into the pool. However, even a masonry patio or walkway can benefit from the increased stability offered by polymeric joint sand.

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  • Paving Stone Applications

    paving stone pool deck by masonry contractors in SacramentoCommon Masonry Applications for Paving Stones

    Paving stones can be used to construct a variety of exterior masonry features. Here are some common applications that can enhance your Sacramento home or outdoor living space:

    Driveway

    Paving stones can transform an ordinary driveway into an attractive mosaic of texture and color that enhances the home’s façade. Keep in mind that if you have a pitched driveway, polymeric joint sand is recommended between the pavers to prevent the sand from being washed out by heavy rains. Furthermore, it’s important to keep a paving stone driveway sealed, as motor oil and other automotive-related substances can stain the pavers.

    Walkway

    If your home lacks a pedestrian walkway, getting to your front door can be a nuisance, whether you have to travel up a driveway or cross a lawn. In this case, a paving stone walkway can provide both an expedient means of conveyance and a boost for your home’s curb appeal.

    Patio

    A paving stone patio provides a convenient extension of your living space that can be used to entertain guests, host family gatherings or simply relax and enjoy the weather. A patio’s usefulness can be further augmented with features like a paving stone fireplace or outdoor kitchen. Today’s outdoor kitchens can be outfitted with a variety of built-in features, including grills, pizza ovens, smokers, refrigerators, ice makers and more.

    Pool deck

    A deck composed of slip-resistant paving stones secured with polymeric joint sand represents the ideal enhancement for a backyard swimming pool. In the interest of aesthetic uniformity, ask your masonry contractor to install joint sand that matches the color of the pool mastic (the band that seals the gap between the pool’s edge and the deck).

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  • Paving Stone Maintenance Tips

    long paving stone driveway by Sacramento masonry contractors3 Tips for Maintaining a Paving Stone Masonry Feature

    While paving stones are generally low-maintenance, there are some proactive ways to keep your masonry feature in optimal condition. Consider the following tips:

    1. Use effective, eco-friendly measures to deal with weeds.

    When weeds sprout up between paving stones, it’s not due to an installation flaw; it’s because windblown seeds have lodged themselves in the joints. While herbicides can get rid of weeds, consider using an environmentally-friendly product that won’t pollute surrounding water supplies when it’s washed off the surface. You should also consider having a professional seal the pavers and joints—it’ll lock the sand in the joints and make it impossible for weeds to grow.

    2. Regularly clean and seal your pavers.

    Over time, colored concrete paving stones gradually fade due to pigment erosion and general wear and tear. One way to slow the rate of color fading is to routinely clean and seal the surface of your paving stone feature, which will reduce the impact of sunlight, traffic and other sources of wear.

    3. Promptly treat oil stains.

    If oil spills onto your paving stone driveway, promptly treat the affected area to prevent a permanent stain. After wiping off the surface oil, apply some liquid detergent to the stained area and allow it to soak for a few minutes before rinsing it with hot water. If a stain is particularly tough or has been sitting for too long, it might require several treatments. Badly stained pavers can be removed and replaced.

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