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Block and paver projects are great for do-it-yourselfers. These projects can actually be fun, akin to putting puzzles together. For a modest investment of time and money, you can refine or redefine a landscape.
Concrete, Cement and Masonry
Decorative precast products, like concrete pavers, are made by pouring concrete into a variety of forms to create the desired shape and texture. Tinting is added to produce the different colors and shades.
Concrete is different from quarried stone products in that they're uniform in shape and size. This allows for installation with minimal cutting. Their uniform size also simplifies the planning and purchasing process.
In addition to walls, patios and walkways, concrete products can be used for edging, entryways, driveways, borders for water gardens, tree rings, planters and more.
Their various shapes, textures, sizes and colors allow a variety of patterns to be installed. They can be used horizontally or vertically, straight or curved or in combinations of all. Precast products can replicate the look of stone, brick, tile or cobblestone.
Pavers are simple to install and maintain. Most projects can be completed with a few tools. Because most are loose-laid (installed without mortar), they're less likely to shift and crack in colder climates than a solid slab.
On the downside, they're heavy and require some physical exertion to install. If you don't want to haul the pavers, have them delivered.
When cutting is required, you'll need special tools and accessories. A brick chisel and engineer's hammer are sufficient for some cuts. Others require a power saw with a diamond blade.
Recognize your personal taste, the design of your home and the function you want the construction to perform when choosing products for your home project.
Remember that pavers are part of a complete system. Equally important are the foundation, base layers (sand and gravel), perimeter edging and underlayment.
Mortarless wall block is intended for constructing relatively low walls. Taller retaining walls can be constructed but further consideration must be given to drainage, reinforcement and stability.
Recommended dry-fit heights vary by product. As a general reference, consider 3 feet tall as a guide for planning purposes. Consult the manufacturer's instructions concerning height limits.
Pavers may get an occasional stain. Clean simple stains with detergent, but make sure you act quickly. Some stains may require the paver to be removed (others can simply be flipped over to expose a new side). Keep extra on hand from your installation so you'll have duplicates that match the size and shade.
Sealing after installation is an option. Sealing protects from staining, but you'll need to reapply the sealer every two to three years.