How Do We Know What Paver Product to Use?
The paver product to use at your home is a big decision early on in the purchasing process of your Outdoor Living project. If you’re not careful, you can very easily get overwhelmed with all of the options. In this article we will get into the weeds about how we choose the right paver style and color to making your new outdoor space the talk of the neighborhood.
The first selection we will work on will be the style of paver. Will we want to install a Slab style paver or a traditional, smaller format paver? A guiding principle initially will be where the product will be installed and what it will be used for. Driveway projects are usually installed using a typical paver ranging in sizes of 4 inches by 8 inches or varying sizes of 3x6, 6x6, and 6x9 are going to be standard. Slab style pavers are concrete materials that are greater than about a 9 inch by 9 inch square and 2 3/8 inch thick (or 60mm in the paver world). You can use larger format pavers on a driveway as long as the thickness of the paver increases. You would go from a 2 3/8 inch thickness (60 mm) to a 3 1/8 inch thickness (80 mm). If someone suggests a large format material for your driveway, make sure they are talking about using a 3 1/8 inch thick paver. Why don’t we address driveways in another post, cool?
For outdoor living areas, either a large format slab or small format paver will work. It’s really about aesthetics. As of this writing in late 2022, modern projects are all the rage. With slabs you will get very clean and very straight lines. You know, modern. Many manufacturers offer the same slab style pavers in both smooth finishes or textured finish. They will have a name like smooth, for the uh, well, smooth, and rustic for the textured top. Don’t be alarmed by the texture, it will not be so bad that your chair or table will be wobbly and annoying. There will also be no difference regarding safety. The smooth paver will not be slick and the textured paver will not be less slick. Manufacturers produce these products to be non-slip and non-skid whether they are wet or dry. The smooth will lend itself very well to the modern look that is popular while the textured will have a more organic, natural look to it.
The typical small format paver has been around for many years and is a tried and true product for almost all applications. You can get a very clean look with a 4x8 inch Holland Stone installed in a Herringbone pattern, or more movement and interest with a paver with 3 different sizes of pavers installed in a ‘random’ pattern. (To keep this from becoming a book, let’s talk about patterns in another post.) There are many options with sizing and color. Again, it’s the aesthetics that you’re after. Some customers like the look of the small format because it is a very traditional ‘Old World’ cobble look. Think European cobble streets. These are tried and true.
When looking at products with our clients, one of the concerns with the small format paver is that they will make the area look too busy. You will have more individual pavers with more paver joints and depending on the space, could look very busy. No problem, because of the slab option.
Now let’s get into the color selection. The size and style are typically a pretty quick decision. I suggest you go with your gut regarding slab vs small format. Color is something that could hang us up in the decision making process. I highly recommend meeting with your installation contractor of choice at your local paver/Hardscape dealer’s material yard. Manufacturers have put together beautiful idea books showcasing their product and what your project could look like. Catalogs and websites are a great place to start to give you an idea. However, please do not choose a color from the catalog or website. These are edited photos for inspiration and won’t give you an exact representation of how that paver and color will look with your home. Go to the place and look at the different colors and styles. If you can go with your contractor, do. They will be able to guide you for your specific project. Here are the 2 main criteria I am looking at when guiding the color choice. 1) Roof/shingle color and 2) Window and soffit color. I will rarely try to match the brick or siding of your home. If we try to match it will be a poor effort and will be different enough that it will look like we tried to match but missed. If we work with the roof and windows, we can accent those and make a distinction that compliments versus a match. So are the roofing and windows browns and tans or are they white or grays? We will want to work with those. Sometimes you will have a brick home that has a gray roof with beige windows and a gray mortar! This can be fun because we can use a different paver style and color for the border/perimeter paver than what we use for the main body of the area.
There is a paver style and color that will enhance the beauty of your home and will be an inviting retreat for your family and friends. Don’t sweat it.
- Look at actual paver options. I recommend the style, size, and color combinations. Take samples home and lay them out in the area of the project.
- Don’t go alone. Take your contractor or a designer to help guide you.
- Pick the color based on the accents of your home. Trying to match the brick or siding will be difficult and could look too matchy matchy.
- Use your imagination. See the space unfold with the product samples.
- Call us and let’s get the project started!