Five practical steps to ensure a successful paving project

The outside appearance of your property is just as important as the interior of your home. Paving can turn an ordinary driveway, patio, path or pool area into an extraordinary one. Once you have made a decision to install paving, choosing the right material can be daunting due to the variety of choices available.

Step 1: Choose The Right Material

Practical decisions about paving material need to be guided by the application or purpose. You need to consider factors such as size, thickness and texture.

  • Size:

The size of paving will depend on the size of the total area, as well as the type and frequency of traffic. Large, flat pavers are a good choice for patios, as cobblestones may cause unsteady tables and chairs. On driveways, smaller cobbles distribute weight better and are less likely to crack.

  • Thickness:

The thickness of paving will depend largely on the type of traffic – if there is only foot traffic, paving does not have to be as thick. Driveways, on the other hand, require pavers that are at least 50 mm thick to withstand the weight of vehicles.

  • Texture:

Concrete paving has a porous surface, so it is inherently non-slip. Textured concrete paving offers added grip and this is a distinct advantage in pool areas, where surfaces are often wet and slippery.

SmartStone offers an objective guide to the most commonly used paving materials.

Step 2: Consider Aesthetic Appeal

It is possible to create intricate paving designs or patterns by using different colours, shapes and sizes. The appearance of a property can be completely transformed simply by paving and landscaping. If you find this difficult to believe, take a look at these before-and-after photos.

Many examples of paving designs can be found on the Internet. When you look through them, you are sure to find some examples of designs that appeal to you.

Also look around at paving designs other home-owners have used. This can help you envisage what you would like to do with your project.

Carefully consider the architecture and style of your home and garden.

Is your home more traditional, or contemporary in style? Do you want your paving material to fit the style of the house or are you happy to contrast old and new? Paving can be used to contribute to the creation of a particular style or complement an existing architectural theme.

Most companies are happy to supply you with samples. Placing these in situ can give you a good idea of how well the colours fit in or contrast with the colours of your exterior walls and other materials used in the garden.

Do not worry if you find it difficult to come up with an idea of what you want. Professional design advice and services are available. SmartStone branches, for example, have sales people who will visit your home, measure the area, give advice about quantities and answer your questions.

Step 3: Select a Supplier and an Installer

Selecting a reliable supplier and a reputable installer is just as important as choosing the right product.

Why do you need a supplier with a good reputation?

  • Such a supplier will offer a broad range of paving products, so you can find the best products for your needs.
  • You can ask any questions about the products and receive answers that reveal in-depth knowledge.
  • You will receive advice that helps you choose the right product for your installation, even if it is not the most expensive choice.
  • You will have the assurance that the correct materials will be delivered at the right time.

Why do you need to choose a reputable contractor?

  • When selecting a contractor, it is important to ask the right questions. Read this SmartStone guide to help you find a reputable contractor and discover issues that affect the cost and quality of your paving.
  • Read reviews written by other customers and look at photographs and details of completed projects that you can use as a reference.
  • If you opt for the cheapest quotation, you run the risk of inadequate earth preparation and bad workmanship. Well-installed paving that lasts for years to come is worth the cost.
  • TIP: Make sure installers take pavers from various pallets to give an even spread of colour variations. This is what gives the paving a more natural look.

Step 4: Place your order and take delivery

You may decide to order materials directly from your supplier or through your contractor. Make sure the terms and conditions of delivery are clear and well understood.

After taking delivery, inspect the products to ensure the quality is of the standard expected. Have the supplier and contractor delivered what was promised?

Step 5: Clean and Maintain your Paving

Be sure to follow proper cleaning and maintenance guidelines for your new paving if you want it to last. Read advice on how to care for paving and ensure its longevity.

If you are planning to install paving, it is important to spend some time thinking carefully about what you want to achieve. If you do not, you could choose materials which are completely unsuitable for your application or hire a contractor who offers shoddy workmanship. Taking advice from experts in the field will help you prevent expensive mistakes and ensure that your paving lasts for years, adding significant value to your property.