Concrete Paver Contractor
Serving East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and San Francisco Community since 2009.
Why You Should Choose A Professional Concrete Paver Contractor in the Bay Area
- Reasons to Hire A Professional Paver Contractor
- What are Concrete Pavers
- Why Choose Concrete Pavers
- Concrete Pavers vs. Other Materials
- Pros & Cons of Concrete Pavers
- How to Choose the Right Concrete Pavers
- Concrete Pavers Misconceptions
- Concrete Paver Suppliers
- Design Ideas for Concrete Pavers
- Cost of Concrete Paver Installation
The first step anyone should take when embarking on a concrete pavers project is to hire a reputable, local, and highly-recommended concrete paver contractor in the Bay Area. Not only will these professionals be familiar with the needs of homeowners in the area. Due to soil types, earthquake activity and drainage and grade concerns – a professional company that can design and build your concrete paver project is your best bet for a lasting system that enhances your home.
5 Reasons To Hire A Professional Concrete Paver Contractor
Installing concrete paver hardscape is a complicated, multi-step process that’s best left to the professionals. While DIY might seem like a good idea, it can end up costing you much more than hiring a qualified professional. Here are five key reasons to hire a professional for your next outdoor project.
- Design & Planning
Having a creative vision for your project is just one step in the process. Do you have the skills to design and sketch your vision? What about materials? Do you know how to order and understand all of your options to make sure your idea is even feasible? Mistakes made during the crucial design and planning stages can leave you facing much higher costs than you budgeted for. A professional will provide you with an accurate drawing of your vision, plus a list of materials, the specific price, and the timeline for installation.
- Keep Your Project On Track, On Time, and On Budget
A professional hardscaping contractor will not only create your design and develop your budget; they make sure your job stays on track. They understand the time needed, as well as the proper materials to produce a quality finished project. From how much base material you’ll need, to the appropriate size and quantity of materials and the amount of labor necessary to complete your job on time, and within your budget.
- Proper Site Preparation
We’ve all heard the phrase, “a house is only as strong as its foundation,” well the same holds true with your hardscaping. Proper site preparation is a critical element to the long-term stability of your patio, walkways, driveway, or other hardscaping. A professional has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to get the job done right the first time.
Site preparation is a complicated process. Ninety-percent of any hardscaping project is site preparation. This includes planning and design, excavation, base-level installation and compacting, proper installation of geothermal textile to prevent weeds, installation of edge restraints, setting, compacting and leveling the sand, installing the pavers, and finishing the surface. Anyone element done incorrectly can compromise the stability of your hardscape down the road.
A professional hardscape contractor will have the tools needed to do the job correctly. They are experienced and craftspeople who can provide a high-quality finished product, and have the integrity to stand behind their work if there is ever a problem.
- Fast Turnaround
If you’ve always wanted to take on a DIY project, or are even somewhat handy, concrete pavers are a complicated installation and have a steep learning curve. If you’re a weekend warrior, taking on projects on your time off, it could take literally weeks or months before you’re relaxing on your patio.
Working with a professional ensures that your project will be handled promptly, efficiently, and professionally. From the design stage through the installation, your contractor will provide you with a timeline and stick to it. They have the experience and expertise backed by a team of trained installers working on getting your project completed quickly and professionally on time and budget.
- Quality Materials & Craftsmanship
Those inexpensive pavers you can find at any big box home improvement store seem like a great deal. But the fact is, they’re not the same quality of the materials used by a professional hardscaping contractor. Professional paving contractors know-how and where to source the highest-quality materials at an affordable price to fit within your budget. Their processes, sources, and relationships they’ve built up through years of business allow them to evaluate any surface, create a plan, and provide the perfect material to meet your needs.
- Design & Planning
Working with a professional hardscaping contractor is a smart idea. You’ll get the highest-quality materials backed up by a team of certified installers with the experience and expertise to help you realize your creative vision for your landscaping. That being said, choosing the right contractor is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
What Are Concrete Pavers?
Interlocking Concrete Pavers are Durable
Interlocking concrete pavers are made to be physically durable and can carry 4 times the weight of your standard concrete slab. This added strength means it can withstand heavier loads and last a lot longer than an asphalt or concrete surface. Asphalt surfaces only have moderate strength. With the number of potholes in our roads, it does break down quite easily with traffic and weather conditions. You will need to refill gravel on a regular basis, so it doesn’t provide a durable surface at all for patios, walkways, or driveways.
Interlocking Concrete Pavers are Flexible
The small interlocking pieces on a concrete paving system can adjust to natural disasters in the environment without cracking. On the contrary, concrete slabs are solid with no flexibility whatsoever. Over time the slab will experience shrinkage as well as cracking. Although asphalt is somewhat flexible, it does soften in hot weather and will crack over a period of time. Because concrete pavers allow for a flexible surface, it lasts a long time and is more durable over time.
Low Maintenance & Repair Costs for Concrete Pavers
The maintenance and repair of interlocking pavers are easy and very affordable. If something causes a paver to become stained or damaged, just remove that particular paver and replace it with a new one. It’s as simple as that. Repairing and maintaining asphalt surfaces or concrete slabs is much more difficult. When these surfaces become stained or cracked, they must be resurfaced many times over the years. Gravel surfaces are uneven, unstable and require frequent refills. These are all high-maintenance solutions when compared to interlocking concrete pavers.
Easy Maintenance of Concrete Pavers
In addition, to keep pavers looking new, all you need to do is seal them every year or year and a half, depending on the level of traffic in the area. You may also want to pour in joint sand once in awhile to replace sand that has washed or swept away. That’s all there is to it!
Let’s face it; concrete, asphalt, and gravel are not good looking. You do not have much choice when it comes to style or color. Interlocking Concrete Pavers allow for unlimited combinations of styles, patterns, colors, and finishes. These will make your project look unique. Interlocking Concrete Pavers are strong yet flexible, beautiful yet inexpensive, making them the perfect choice for your patio, pool deck, walkway, courtyard or driveway.
Why Choose Concrete Pavers
Available in a Wide Selection of Products
PICPs come in a wide range of shapes, textures, and colors and are designed to fit within any surrounding architecture and landscaping elements.
Manufactured units are consistent in quality, require no formwork, and can be mechanically installed in freezing temperatures. They also need no curing time and are immediately ready for traffic upon completion.
They Are Affordable & Economical
They are priced competitively with pervious concrete, and their lifecycle costs are significantly lower than concrete or asphalt in some markets.
Repairs are Extremely Easy
Unlike concrete or asphalt, which, when damaged, can be costly to repair, and aesthetically unpleasant, damaged PICPs can be removed and reinstalled. They can also be partially removed to install service utility lines, there are never any ugly patches, and the repaired surface perfectly matches the surrounding materials.
Durable and Easy to Maintain
High freeze-thaw, deicing, and salt resistant, water in the base will not freeze and heave. When frozen, even complete saturation will not damage pavers. Snow and ice immediately drain upon melting, reducing ice hazards, and they can be plowed with no damage. Maintenance is easy. Simply vacuum or sweep regularly to remove sediment and debris. Aggregate can be easily removed and replenished if it becomes deeply clogged.
Environmentally Friendlier Than Alternative Materials
Manufactured pavers can incorporate cement substitutes like fly ash, slag, silica fume, etc. and still maintain porosity. Pavers can also be crushed and recycled at the end of their useful life.
Pavers vs. Other Materials
When Comparing the pros and cons of Asphalt vs. Poured Concrete vs. Pavers. Pavers superiority becomes easily spotted.
There are few design options for concrete if you want to keep the cost down. Usually, your only option is the standard gray color; though, it is possible to get concrete stamped, colored, or stained. Stamped concrete is pretty slippery and will need to cure for a few days before being used. Colored concrete looks nice, but it still has a high possibility of cracking. Concrete has relatively low maintenance, and it is easy to sweep and remove debris from it. The downside is that it will need resealing every once in a while. Concrete is cheap and durable, but standard gray concrete doesn’t look very nice and isn’t likely to increase the value of your home.
As a general rule, concrete slab construction is generally less expensive per square foot than the alternative. You can expect to pay 15 – 25% more for paving stones. Poured concrete is an affordable option in the short term if you’re okay with a plain slab. If you decide to upgrade to stamped concrete, or you want to stain your concrete slab, a paving stone patio or driveway will cost you about the same, or even less in most cases.
“The initial costs of segmental pavements over concrete or asphalt may be more, but it has been shown that the life cycle cost of an interlocking concrete pavement system over a 40 year period is actually less. This is because pavers make up a maintenance free pavement.”
— INTERLOCKING CONCRETE PAVER INSTITUTE
Installing a poured concrete patio may have lower upfront costs but the long-term costs of repair and replacement will almost always negate your initial savings. While slabs are fairly easy to install, the material could take significant time to cure and dry and your space cannot be used during the curing process.
When comparing the cost of concrete pavers vs poured concrete, make sure your price quote for poured concrete installation includes excavation, grading, foundation prep, setting forms and pouring. Poured concrete slabs must be installed by competent professionals. If the prep work is not done properly the slab can crack when the ground flexes or if tree roots grow beneath the slab as it ages. Here in the Bay Area, minor earthquakes can cause significant damage to poured concrete that has been improperly installed. Improper grading can require a costly repair process. In not properly graded, you may find low spots that collect water after the first heavy rain resulting in staining or discoloration.
Concrete maintenance is relatively easy, but as it ages, a concrete slab can begin to crack requiring costly repair. Upgrading to stamped concrete can better hide cracks and stains, but your initial cost will increase significantly.
Asphalt is oil-based and very popular when it comes to driveways and places with lots of traffic. While it is strong and even flexible, it will not endure intense heat as well as other materials. If it gets too hot, the asphalt becomes soft. This causes problems, especially if you have to drive on it. While asphalt will last you decades, it will crack, and you will have to repair it. It will also fade with time.
But, Asphalt Has Limited Design Options
Unless you’re willing to pay a very high price, your only option is black. Asphalt is not very pretty or appealing, especially after it has cracked or faded. It will need sealing every once in a while, and in some cases, it will need to be patched and resurfaced. However, it is fairly easy to clean and remove debris. Asphalt is one of the cheaper options, but while it is both reasonable and durable, its cracks and its appearance sometimes keep people from choosing it.
Wood Decks/Patio Platforms
According to Gallop, a patio offers a 12% ROI compared to a wood deck. Having a big beautiful patio is also a plus for homebuyers who site outdoor living space as a top ten must have.
While a patio can cost a third less than installing a wood deck, you’ll enjoy a minimum 25 to 30 years lifespan, almost twice s long as a wood deck, all with minimal maintenance. Concrete paver patios when properly installed they are impervious to weather, insects, mold, and rot that can plague wooden structures. In the past, patios were often limited to flat areas of your property, however today with retaining walls, and multilevel installation any area can host a patio regardless of obstacles like tree roots or slopes.
Structurally, decks carry limitations as to load-bearing strength. While structural modifications can increase load bearing, they are a costly addition. Because pavers are seated on a base of crushed stone they are the best solution for any type of weight bearing application like driveways, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces or hot tubs.
Finally, because they are built at ground level, patios offer you the opportunity to expand your outdoor living space over time, creating additional areas for outdoor living rooms, built-in fire pits or fireplaces, outdoor dining or private garden grottos. Visually, you can create the illusion of individual spaces through the use of freestanding walls, improve privacy using trees or other plantings, fences, or privacy panels and can connect areas with beautiful stone walkways to create a complete outdoor environment that will compliment any home.
Another popular material as we look at the best driveway material options is pavers. Pavers come from several different materials, including concrete, brick, and stone. Concrete pavers interlock, with sand between any open spaces. They’re very strong and can hold up to four times the weight that a standard concrete driveway can withstand.
Pavers are Durable and Will Last For Decades
There are many different options for design because they come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Each is laid to create many different patterns. They have almost no maintenance, but you may choose to seal them every once in a while. Debris is swept away easily.
Concrete is one of the most popular materials for outdoor areas. It also has a low cost. Concrete is very strong and endures both force and weight without being damaged. However, force below the surface of the concrete often results in cracks. Despite its cracks, however, concrete can last for decades.
Another type of paver is a brick paver. Brick pavers are similar to concrete pavers. The main difference is that it arises from clay and they look like bricks. They are very strong and durable, only a little less strong than concrete pavers. While brick pavers only come in one size and are a bit more limited in options than concrete pavers, they still come in many different colors and are laid in different patterns. They have the same low maintenance as concrete pavers. They are a bit more expensive, but they are sure to increase the value of your home.
Pavers Can Be Used Right After Installation – No Curing!
The last type of paver is a stone paver. Flagstone, granite, and cobblestone are only a few of the materials made from stone pavers. They are strong and durable and will last for an extremely long time. As with the other types of pavers, stone pavers come in many shapes, colors, and sizes, leaving you with many options. They are very beautiful but are more expensive than concrete or brick pavers. However, they will add a lot of value to your home.
Each kind of paver has a more elegant and natural look than stamped concrete, standard concrete, or asphalt. The only downside to pavers is that they tend to become uneven over time. However, this problem has an easy fix. . While pavers are laid by hand and are sometimes more expensive than other materials, their beauty, value, and durability make up for it. They are a great material for outdoor areas, and we will be happy to show you all of the many options.
Pros & Cons of Concrete Pavers
The upfront cost of paving stones can be more than poured concrete, primarily due to the installation process. Paver installation is a complicated process that includes excavation, grading, sub-base compaction, geotextile installation, base prep, laying the pavers, cutting the borders, preparing the bond beam, final compaction and sealing the pavers.
Where you’ll gain value is that upon completion, your patio is ready to use and enjoy as there is no curing time required. If grading proves to be a problem down the road, repair is fast and easy. The original stones can be removed, the area regraded properly and the stones replaced.
Here are five key reasons concrete pavers are a smart investment for California homeowners living in the Bay Area:
- Stains and imperfections are easily hidden. If you stain a slab, it’s permanent. With pavers, you can flip the tile or simply replace the stained paver. So your surface always looks perfect.
- Pavers are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, styles, and textures. Patterns can be mixed and matched to create a unique outdoor environment. You’re only limited by your imagination.
- Installation is fast. As mentioned above, there’s no time needed for curing. You can finish your installation at five o’clock and be barbecuing by five fifteen!
- It’s easier to repair or make adjustments with pavers. When a concrete slab shifts, cracking can result in costly repairs that are visible, even when done by a professional. If I paver stone shifts, or in the unlikely event of cracking, simply remove the affected area, level and replace with the same pavers and it looks as good as new.
- Pavers offer better drainage. Pavers are solid under your feet, but because of all the joints between stones rain drains away more easily than from a solid surface like a concrete slab. This same feature makes pavers slip-resistant.
While pavers may cost a little more upfront, they offer plenty of short and long-term benefits including durability. When properly installed concrete pavers can last 20 years or more with no fading or cracking. They’re easier and cheaper to repair, require little maintenance and are beautiful materials that can increase the value of your home.
How to Choose The Right Concrete Pavers
Choosing the Right Texture
The texture of your concrete pavers can depend on a range of factors. From the aesthetics of your hardscape to the architectural style of your home, to the slipperiness of your pool deck, the texture is a function pavers provide.
Mixing textures in various areas of your hardscape design can add depth and interest. The primary goal when selecting a textured paver is to have that finish complement existing materials in your hardscape. You can keep your design all one texture or mix smooth and textured pavers to create a contrast.
Texture can be created by using accent pavers or borders or by merely using interesting landscaping around hardscape areas. The texture is also important for specific uses, especially when water is involved. When creating a pool deck, textured pavers are slip-resistant, making them safer for family and friends. Likewise, using textured tiles for walkways that are close to irrigation sources can keep them safe and slip-free.
Sizes for Concrete Pavers
Like texture, it’s essential to choose the right sized paver for your project. Size is especially critical when using concrete pavers for driveway applications. For residential driveways, pavers should be at least 2 3/8” thick. Driveways that see a lot of traffic should use pavers that are at least 3 1/8” thick.
Thicker pavers are needed to stand up to the weight and force from braking and accelerating tires. The overall dimension of pavers becomes important for driveway applications. Interlock decreases as the paver size increases, meaning that larger paving units should be avoided for driveway applications.
The general rule for determining if a paver is adequate for driveway applications is called the aspect ratio. It’s determining by dividing the length by width. When it exceeds 4, the units are not suited for constant traffic. Between 3 and 4, pavers are usable for residential driveway use. A 4′ x 8′ x 2 3/8” or a 6” x 12” x 3/18” paver falls into this range. Pavers with an aspect ratio of 3 or less can be safely used in any vehicular application.
Concrete Pavers: Colors and Patterns
Once you’ve determined the proper size and texture for your project (driveway, walkway, pool surround, patio, etc.), its time to consider colors and patterns. Most manufacturers offer all their color choices for each texture. Color and pattern are more a function of aesthetics than anything else.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing colors and patterns for your hardscaping project:
Architectural Style of Your Home
Probably the most important thing to take into account is the architectural style of your home. Start by narrowing your selection down to between five and ten different concrete pavers that match your home’s style. There aren’t any rules, but some pavers work better, while some seem to clash with the architecture.
Landscaping or Patio Design
You can often narrow your selection by taking a close look at existing hardscape. If you’re starting fresh and planning on redesigning your landscaping afterward, choose a style of paver that doesn’t limit your options later.
Laying A Paver Pattern
If you’re considering a pattern, remember it’s dependent on the sizes and shapes of pavers available. Patterns are really all about personal preference. You can also use patterns to differentiate outdoor spaces, for example, using one pattern for your outdoor kitchen and another for your outdoor living room.
Color is an excellent guide to picking the right paver for your project. There are a couple of options when it comes to pavers. First, you can match the color of your paver to other permanent features of your home or landscaping. Or you can choose to use contrasting colors like light and dark, warm, and cool to create a visual focal point in your landscaping.
Misconceptions About Bay Area Concrete Paver Installations
- Pavers Are Too Expensive
While the initial cost of installation can be higher than other materials, in the end, concrete pavers are actually a more cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing option. Concrete pavers are more durable and beautiful option than other options like poured concrete, or in the case of a driveway, blacktop. Blacktop will deteriorate over time and poured concrete can crack, requiring costly repairs. Concrete pavers need less frequent repair, and when they do, repairs are easier. Over the long-term, concrete pavers are the true cost-effective solution. And you’ll love the way they look!
- Pavers Don’t Last
The fact is, concrete pavers are a durable, flexible material that is up to three times stronger than a poured concrete slab. Correctly installed interlocking concrete pavers move and flex as the ground does. When professionally installed, high-quality concrete pavers can last 30 to 40 years with no significant issues.
- Pavers Are Difficult To Repair
This has been a concern for many of our customers over the years. The fact is, unlike hardscape which can need to be repaired in large section when it fails, or must be matched in order to patch repair, concrete pavers can be “spot repaired.” This means that the damaged paver can simply be removed and replaced. In fact, it’s so easy that most homeowners can perform the repair themselves without the need of a professional. Concrete pavers are durable, reliable and resilient. They absorb pressure, weight and force differently than other materials and as a result are less susceptible to damage in the first place.
- Concrete Pavers Fade As They Age
In this case, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true. While there are plenty of cheap, inferior quality bargain pavers available, that are susceptible to fading, chipping and cracking. Always invest in the highest quality paver you can afford. Make sure any paver you purchase is “colored through.” Pavers that are colored throughout will not fade. Ever.
- Concrete Pavers Promote Weed Growth
This seems to be a persistent belief, but it’s entirely not true. Any exterior hardscape joints have the potential for weed growth, but you shouldn’t expect to see any more weeds in a paver installation than you would with any other material. Often, weeds thriving on a hardscape are a result of seeds falling on top of the material and germinating where they land. The truth is, if your pavers are properly installed by a professional installer using polymeric sand you should see less weed growth than with other materials.
- Pavers Will Heave With Weather Changes
This is a common complaint from homeowners who have done the installation themselves and often cut corners. Professional installation eliminates any slipping or heaving. The secret is proper preparation before installation. A professional landscaper will excavate, grade, install and compact the sub-grade, add a geotextile layer to inhibit weed growth. They will then prepare the base layer and again compact, perform sand prep, lay the pavers, perform a final compaction and then finish with polymeric sand. When professionally installed, concrete pavers will not heave, period!
- Concrete Pavers Offer Limited Choices
The truth is, pavers come in hundreds of different combinations of colors, sizes, thicknesses, styles, patterns, and textures. No matter what your taste, aesthetic and home design, pavers are available in a range of colors from neutral and earth tones, to reds and terracotta. To further personalize your look you can choose from a variety of styles including brick, tile, antique, cobble, weathered stone and flagstone.
- Pavers Are Too Expensive
Concrete Paver Suppliers
We source concrete pavers from a wide variety of suppliers – depending upon need, timeframe and cost considerations. We have a few favorite suppliers that we try to consistently work with to ensure quality product with the best availability and ultimate end product. Here are a few of the suppliers we work with and highly recommend:
Design Ideas for your Concrete Paver Installation
The most important factor alongside safety and longevity for your concrete paver installation is design. Ultimately, you’re undertaking this project as a way to increase your property value and/or enjoyment of your home. Having a design that compliments your existing esthetic is an important step. Our team of landscape designers can help you choose the materials and installation type to ensure the end product is exactly what you wanted. We’ll work with your budget and time constraints – and give you honest recommendations based on both – in addition to thoroughly evaluating what product types are best for your soil, elevation, and existing landscape.
Here are some links to help you gain inspiration into what you’re looking for with your next concrete paver landscaping project:
- Driveway Paver Design & Installation
- Patio Paver Design & Installation Ideas
- Design Ideas for your Concrete Paver Walkway
- Backyard Landscape Design with Patio Pavers
- Concrete Paver Patio & Driveway Edging Design Ideas
- Sophisticated Pool Decks with Concrete Pavers
- Design Ideas for Amazing Outdoor Kitchens
- Landscape Designs for Sloped & Flat Landscapes
Cost of Bay Area Concrete Paver Installation
In the San Francisco Bay Area the range of cost from basic paver design & installation to more complicated design, landscape, access, elevations and soil types can vary. We give a ballpark cost of between $20 and $32 a square foot (material & labor included). We caution you to use this as a rough guideline, and contact us for an in depth conversation and estimate so you have a realistic and reliable number to work from as you figure out your investment.