Q. This year I would like to install a patio.  I have seen many types of patio options. What are the differences between the types of patios?

A. The choices of materials for patios and walkways are patio blocks, poured concrete, clay and concrete brick pavers installed on sand and brick or stone mortared onto a concrete base. All of these have been used for years and have their advantages and disadvantages. Style, colors, cost, and durability should be considered when choosing what type of patio you want.  If you are going to install the patio yourself you should consider how much expertise is needed to install each type of patio.

Patio blocks are probably the easiest to install.  The blocks are larger, so they can be installed quickly with minimum base preparation.  Patio blocks come in many colors and styles. Poured concrete and pressed concrete are the two ways of manufacturing blocks. The poured block is made from wet concrete similar to pouring a concrete sidewalk only the cement is poured into molds.  A pressed block is made by compacting damp concrete into a slab with great pressure. Patio blocks are installed over a base of 3-4” of sand, graded for drainage and compacted so the patio base is solid.

Poured concrete patios have been around for a long time and are typical if you have an inground swimming pool.  They are less expensive than most types of patios.  Usually a contractor is hired for the installation, but a homeowner can install a small project.  The base of most concrete patios is a few inches of compacted sand.  The drawback of concrete is the susceptibility of cracking and heaving caused by our winters.  Within the last few years, more companies have been offering concrete with color and textures pressed into poured concrete.  The finished product looks great and is taking over the market of the traditional poured block

Another type of pressed block, which is growing in popularity, is the exposed aggregate pressed block. These blocks are stronger and more decorative.  The pebbles on the surface of the block resist wear and are available in different colors.

Dry laid (on sand and gravel) paver brick patios in Macomb are very popular.  Pavers are made of either concrete or clay.  Clay pavers are usually in the red or brown tones and most are rectangular in shape.  Clay pavers are installed over a base of sand usually 5” thick.  Concrete pavers are available in a wide range of colors and styles.  The styles are a little more contemporary than the traditional clay pavers are.  The growing trend in concrete pavers is tumbling the bricks so they have an old world look to them. Concrete pavers are stronger than clay pavers are and the prices between the two are fairly close.  Concrete pavers are usually installed on a 5” base of slag stone and sand.  The sand filled spaces between the pavers acts as an expansion joint allowing the patio to give from the effects of winter.  The strength of the dry laid patio to resist heaving and settling comes from the sand and gravel base locking together to disperse the weight from above.

Pavers or natural stone mortared onto a reinforced concrete base is another option.  This type of patio is very nice but is also the most expensive.  Natural stone like flagstone and bluestone or pavers can be used.  A solid subsurface and concrete with reinforcement wire is used as a base for the surface materials to be mortared onto.  If the base is not prepared properly a crack in the concrete can crack the surface materials also.  When hiring someone to install this type of patio, it is best to go with a landscape company in Macomb that has a lot of past experience.

Filed Under: Landscape Articles

Comments are closed.