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Preparing for Perfect Pavers

More homeowners in Joliet, Shorewood, Plainfield and Lemont (IL) are enjoying the benefits of pavers for their pools, patios, walkways and driveways. Beyond their lasting durability, pavers offer greater aesthetic appeal than many standard asphalt or concrete alternatives.

A wide range of available colors, shapes, patterns and sizes gives you great versatility in enhancing your exterior. With long-term attributes that enhance your home’s value, pavers become an investment with enduring return.

The key to maximizing your investment is installing your pavers correctly and then keeping them sealed and clean.

Paver Installation

The professionals at Tim Wallace Landscape Supply can inspire you with different paver options, simple designs and maintenance ideas for adding beauty and function to your home exterior.

As you get closer to installing pavers, here are some leading thoughts to consider:

Carefully measure and plan. Precise intentions and measurements for your pavers are vital to achieving what you desire and avoiding future problems with them.

Purposefully select your materials. Pavers come in an array of looks, textures, materials and price points. Some also offer greater value than others. Do your research to determine which paver is best for your home and your budget. Your Tim Wallace professionals can further inform you as well.

Start with a clean and dry foundation. This is crucial. Before the pavers are laid, the area must be properly excavated and free from debris. This will help ensure they are flat and balanced when set. A solid base of at least 4” of compacted gravel for patios and walkways and 6” of compacted gravel for driveways will ensure a job that is stable and long-lasting. (Be certain to adhere to your municipality’s code requirements.)

Level the area with bedding material. Course sand (sometimes referred to as torpedo sand) spread over your compacted gravel base and screened to a depth of 1” creates a perfect bedding coarse and provides for ease of brick placement. Level only the area that you will be working on and repeat as you continue. This will help minimize the need to re-level the area because of weather or foot traffic. Avoid plastic landscape barrier, as it can trap water that creates other problems, including damaging your pavers after they’re set.

Proper installation of your base material will help you enjoy your pavers to the fullest while you also maintain their worth.

Paver Joints & Polymeric Sand

Paver joints are the spaces between each paver. They are typically filled with a sandy material with a concrete or granite base. When mixed with water, the material hardens and forms a powerful bonding agent similar to mortar.

Not all joint sand is equal. Dry joint sand is a popular choice for establishing a gap filler, but it has limitations when compared with polymeric sand, a manufactured compound. A mixture of fine sand grains and additive particles, polymeric sand combines with water to form a hard, permanent bond.

In addition to evenly connecting the pavers, polymeric sand helps prevent erosion, weed growth and insects such as ants. Polymeric sand joints also typically will not crumble or decompose for several years.

Applying polymeric sand joints is straightforward and easy. Polymeric sand is available in different colors to complement your pavers as well. Tim Wallace Landscape Supply offers polymeric sand in beige (tan), gray and black. We can also walk you through the application procedure.

A common joint width between pavers is less than 1”. Tim Wallace Landscape Supply offers a polymeric sand for paver and natural stone patios that can accommodate widths of up to 4”.

Paver Sealers

Paver sealers seal the paver and joint material to create a more durable interlocking structure that also withstands erosion, water and outdoor elements such as snow melt and the sun.

Applying a sealer is the best thing you can do to increase the pavers’ longevity; prevent staining, wear and loosening; restrict moss and mold; and maintain their natural beauty. A paver sealer can be applied right after your installation is complete.

When sealing your pavers, you can use either a solvent-based or a water-based product. Solvent-based sealers are commonly an acrylic polymer blend with a varying amount of solids in them that will determine the thickness of coat. They will often give your pavers a wet or glossy look.

Water-based sealers are also acrylic polymers, but the polymers are dispersed within the water molecules. Once you spray the sealer on the pavers, the water will begin to evaporate. This bonds the acrylic polymers to create the sealed surface. Water-based sealers will give your pavers a more natural finish.

You can apply a paver sealer with either a roller or a pump sprayer. Cover the pavers with a thin, even coat. Today’s sealers are meant to breathe and to allow ground moisture to escape through them. Too much sealant will block that respiration.

For optimal maintenance, pavers should be resealed every three to four years. Common signs that pavers need resealing include a diminishing sheen, a fading color and water that no longer beads on the surface. Weeds may also begin to poke through, which can loosen your bricks.

When you are sealing or resealing pavers, clean them well in advance before you apply any sealant. If left on the pavers, surface dirt and debris will get sealed into place by the solution. If your pavers were sealed previously, you must strip away any old sealer that may remain on the surface. If you do not complete this first process, the pavers could be left in worse condition than before.

The pavers also should not have any moisture or humidity on them prior to sealing. Look to seal them on a moderate day (e.g. 65°–80°) without rain in the forecast. Fall is a good time to seal pavers because of its dry and cool conditions.

Tim Wallace Landscape Supply offers both wet-look (gloss) and natural (matte) private-label paver sealers for the application you wish for in Joliet, Shorewood, Plainfield or Lemont.

Paver Cleaners

Over the years, salts and minerals within the pavers can rise to the surface and leave them with a chalky appearance. Pressure-washing removes the chalky residue, moss and stains and leaves your pavers looking new again.

Good paver maintenance further includes keeping pavers clean after they’ve been sealed. A solution of dish soap and water is often all that is needed to remove surface dirt. Tim Wallace Landscape Supply offers more-robust paver cleaners for rust stains, efflorescence/sidewalk salt (including from snow melt), grease, trapped moisture and sealer removal.

Paver Replacement: A Note

When you purchase pavers, be sure to keep a record of the color and type of brick or stone. Many pavers are a blend of color-shaded bricks that combine to form the overall color.

Should you need to replace a paver, having only one unidentified brick or stone won’t guarantee that you will locate a proper substitute. Knowing the exact color and type of paver will ensure your replacement fits properly into your scheme.

Professionals for Your Perfect Pavers: Contact Us Today

We are here to inspire and support you with the ideas and materials for the home exterior that you desire. Should you wish to learn more about pavers, paver sealers or paver cleaners for your home in Joliet, Shorewood, Plainfield or Lemont (IL), just give us a call at (630) 759-5552. We’ll be glad to assist you!

Based in Bolingbrook IL, Tim Wallace Landscape Supply serves homeowners throughout the area, including Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Westmont, Naperville, Woodridge and Wheaton.