Best Pavers and Paver Patterns for Driveways

Chuck Taylor, Belgard National Hardscapes Advisor, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on pavement systems. He joins us on the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog this week with advice for planning paver driveways.

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A paver driveway will boost your curb appeal and improve the value of your home. But as with any other home-improvement project, there are multiple considerations including paver style, color, laying pattern and overall design. The ultimate goal, of course, is to create a beautiful entrance to your home that is durable enough to withstand the burden of vehicular use without shifting or cracking.

Driveway Paver Styles

Aqualine™ Series Permeable Driveway Pavers
Aqualine™ Series permeable pavers.

The first choice is to decide whether the driveway will be permeable or impervious. A traditional paver driveway would be impervious, but there are multiple benefits to installing a permeable paver driveway. Water will never pool on the surface and a heating system can even be installed beneath the pavers to keep snow from accumulating. Also, some states and municipalities offer grants or tax incentives for installing permeable driveway pavers because the system reduces the burden on local stormwater collection systems and helps remove pollutants to improve local water quality.

Several Belgard pavers can be installed as either permeable or impervious, including Urbana Stone®, Mega-Lafitt®, Mega-Arbel® and Bergerac®. Belgard also offers multiple permeable pavers that were designed specifically for permeable installations.

The second choice is whether to go with a traditional, contemporary or stone-textured look. Belgard offers multiple paver styles in each category. Porcelain pavers can also be used to create an ultra-contemporary look, but will require a concrete base to support vehicular loads.

Driveway Paver Laying Pattern Options

The strongest and most traditional option is a herringbone pattern set at a 45-degree angle to the garage. This laying pattern provides the best interlock to prevent the pavers from shifting, especially for higher traffic areas.

Gaining in popularity, an ashlar pattern can also be effective for both residential and heavier traffic and provides a more contemporary look.

A running bond or basketweave pattern can work for standard residential driveways, but it is recommended to avoid these types of long, straight lines for heavier traffic areas, such as commercial driveways or subdivision common areas.

For permeable paver installations, it’s best to stick with ashlar or herringbone patterns due to the larger joints, which create an increased opportunity for shifting when used with running bond or basketweave patterns.

Driveway Paver Thickness and Base

Traditionally, driveways have been constructed using 80mm (3 inch) pavers with a standard 6″ base. However, it is becoming more common practice to use a lighter 60mm (2-3/8 inch) paver with a thicker base. In rainier climates, the required base depth can be up to 12 inches because of absorbent clays that can cause soils to shift when wet. With these types of site conditions, a thin base puts pavers in danger of separating or cracking from soil shifts. A layer of geo-fabric between the soil and the aggregate layer can add extra protection from this type of shifting, but a thicker base is still recommended. In arid climates, 60mm pavers can be successfully used for driveways with only a 4 to 6 inch base, as shifting clays are not a factor.

A sound residential concrete slab driveway without foundation cracks can be overlayed with 30mm thin pavers. In many cases, DriBond™ advanced mudset can be used to facilitate the entire overlay. Another option would be to DriBond the perimeter and sand-set the primary paver field, if there’s a possibility of shifting soils. Keep in mind that an overlay will add 2.5 to 3 inches of elevation to the existing slab, which could affect transitions to the garage, home, street or walkways.

Paver Color and Border Options

This Mega-Bergerac® driveway ties in with the color tones of the roof. A border was created by using only the large stones of this 4-piece system.

Current trends lean towards choosing driveway paver colors that tie in with the roof color of the home, either in the primary paver field or in a border. Borders can be easily created by using the same paver in either a different color or different laying pattern.

Another option is to choose a contrasting paver shape, texture, color and/or style for the border. You can also create double borders or work with your contractor to develop other creative design ideas.

Paver Driveway Embellishments

Focal points can be created using pattern embellishments. Typical focal points include the driveway entrance, the garage apron, or what’s called a “carriage drop,” or the spot where someone would be dropped off adjacent to the home’s formal entrance.

Adding character to paver driveways, a circle kit creates a classic focal point for more traditional driveway. Contemporary focal points can be created using squares or rectangles. For a Romanesque look, circle kits can be used to create a fan or a fishtail design.

 

Don’t Remove that Concrete Slab!
Overlay it.

Few renovation projects will drastically improve your home’s curb appeal like converting an old stained and cracked concrete driveway to a stunning paver driveway. And nothing transforms an outdated pool like a beautiful contemporary paver pool deck.

However, these types of projects typically call for the painstaking, costly and time-consuming process of ripping out that old concrete. Or do they?

Thanks to the incredible patent-pending formula of Techniseal® DriBond™ advanced mudset, concrete removal is completely unnecessary, as long as the slab is structurally sound. A driveway, patio, walkway or pool deck can be completely transformed in less than 48 hours, and for significantly less cost than concrete removal and replacement.

DriBond installs like sand — filling the cracks and seams of a sound concrete slab — to provide a bedding surface for the installation of thin concrete pavers, porcelain pavers, or natural stone. Activated with water, DriBond sets like concrete to create a durable bond. The result is a stunning outdoor living space with lasting beauty.

Driveway Transformation

Before Driveway Paving Stones

DriBond Paver Driveway

Belgard Products that Work with DriBond

(consult a local installer for additional styles in your area)

See DriBond in Action

PROJECT PROFILE: Southern California Paver Driveway of the Year

Presenting the Belgard SoCal Driveway of the Year featuring Old World Paver™ in the Victorian color blend and Techniseal® NextGel™ Polymeric Sand in Sierra Gray. Over 5,000 SF of pavers went into this San Diego residence. The installer – Jay Erdos of Tuscany Pavers – did a fabulous job of matching the contour of the driveway. It’s also worth mentioning that the white chips in the polymeric sand are actually crushed marble that was hand-crushed and hand-placed to emulate the ancient streets of Pompeii, per the homeowner’s request.

Click below to see close-ups of project images.

Belgard Featured in Makeover Project with Home Improvement Gurus, The Carey Bros.

Belgard is excited to partner with The Carey Bros., award-winning nationally syndicated experts on home building and renovation, on their period renovation of a 111-year-old bungalow in charming Old Town Brentwood, California, in the San Francisco Bay area.

604 Second Street Home
Front view of the 604 Second Street home. (Photo courtesy The Carey Bros.)

This project, located at 604 Second Street, was in dire straits and in need of a complete overhaul, inside and out. The primary goal was to add comfort, efficiency and value while maintaining the architectural integrity and historical look of the home. While the 1,177 square foot home itself required a great deal of architectural restoration, the project also called for replacement of all landscaping and hardscaping of the corner lot surrounding the home.

Landscape designers Dave and Susie Garcia of DPG Design selected Belgard Mega-Lafitt® pavers for the front walkway, rear driveway and side patio of the home.

“(Mega-Lafitt) offered natural modular pavers that combined the look and feel of an aged, rough-cut flagstone with superior strength and long-term durability…along with a thick 80mm height…and the modular shapes allowed for both creativity and flexibility in our design and installation,” Susie Garcia stated.

The Carey Bros Home Improvement Project Belgard
View of the front walkway from the porch. (Photo courtesy The Carey Bros.)

Contractor James Carey noted that Belgard pavers were the perfect solution. “They are extremely durable and very attractive with a rich natural color and aged texture that gives them the desired ‘Old World’ feel that adheres to both the antiquity and charm of the home.”

Second-generation homeowners Robin and Mike McClellan added, “The rustic look of natural stone is absolutely beautiful. While totally new, one could easily believe it has been there as long as our home’s original century-old heritage.”

In addition to historical preservation, the project also took a sustainability approach, repurposing materials and choosing environmentally sound options whenever possible. In line with these goals, the Mega-Lafitt pavers were installed as an environmentally-friendly permeable paver system, which allows water to infiltrate the joints and percolate into the ground below instead of running off into the street. In addition to the Belgard pavers, the project also uses fellow Oldcastle brand MoistureShield® composite decking for the porches, which is manufactured using 95% recycled content.

Read the full story here: Belgard Pavers the Way to Success 

To learn more about this historic renovation project, visit 604secondstreet.onthehouse.com

Introducing New Agilina™ Plank

Agilina Plank Paver

Inspired by the clean lines of modern design trends, new Agilina™ Plank is a marriage of old-world aesthetics and contemporary lines. With the beautifully textured face of natural cut stone, Agilina™ Plank is available in multiple size formats to create numerous looks and patterns for stylish outdoor living designs. Varied widths and lengths allow for multiple running bond patterns to create either a random or more stylized look, depending upon preference. Agilina™ Plank also works well as a border for mixed paver designs, and when using the longer planks, requires fewer cuts.

Applications

All sizes of Agilina™ Plank work well for contemporary paver patios, walkways or pool decks.

Agilina Plank Paver Patio

The three-piece 60mm-profile system can also overlay existing concrete with the help of DriBond™ advanced mudset to transform existing living outdoor spaces.

Agilina™ Plank is also available in 80mm profile, which is capable of supporting light vehicular loads for creating stylish paver driveways. When overlaying a sound concrete base, the 60mm profile can also be used for residential vehicular applications.

Agilina Plank Paver Driver

Areas of distribution

Agilina™ Plank is currently available throughout the Midwest, Northeast and Southern regions and will be launched in other markets throughout the year.

Paver Sealant: To Seal or Not to Seal

Sealant is an important maintenance tool to keep paver patios, walkways, driveways and pool decks looking as beautiful as they day they were installed.  However, “too much of a good thing” can come into play, and you should be wary of over-applying paver sealant by reapplying too often, which could create a haze. This week’s blog offers tips for knowing when it’s time to seal and how to best achieve the desired look.

Should all concrete pavers be sealed?

Yes. Concrete is porous and will absorb stains if not sealed. Sealants can also protect paver color from fading.

Do all sealant brands offer the same basic protection?

There are definitely some poor products on the market. Don’t trust the fact that you bought it at a big box store or that it’s a high-profile brand. Just because a brand is good at one product category (like paint) doesn’t mean they are the best in another. Belgard recommends Techniseal® sealants. Techniseal® is a pioneer in the industry has a robust R&D department, resulting in effective and durable products specifically created for paver installation and maintenance.

Is any one sealant finish more protective than another?

There are basically two types of paver sealants: film-forming (gloss or semi-gloss finish) and non-film-forming (matte finish). Film-forming sealants, Wet Look and Clear Look, offer the ultimate protection because they create a physical barrier on the paver surface. However non-film-forming sealants, Natural Look and Color Boost, still offer excellent protection and last a bit longer.

Techniseal Concrete Paver Sealer

How long should new pavers cure before they are sealed for the first time?

If using a non-film-forming paver sealant, wait one week before sealing. If using a film-forming sealant, wait 30 days to avoid trapping moisture under the protective barrier.

Is there a prep process before applying sealant?

Even new pavers should be cleaned with Techniseal® Paver Prep prior to sealing. Not only will it clean the pavers, but it will open the pores on the surface to allow better penetration of the sealant. Older pavers will also benefit, as Paver Prep will remove any efflorescence (or whitish salt buildup) that has accumulated. Any stains should be removed prior to applying Paver Prep, using the specific stain remover for the type of stain. For more information, read last week’s blog on paver stain removal.

How long should pavers dry after being cleaned and prepped?

The answer depends on your climate. In warm, sunny climates, the pavers will be dry and ready to seal in a few hours. In cooler climates or shady areas, it’s best to wait about 24 hours.

What are the ideal weather conditions for sealing?

Ideal conditions would be 75 degrees and sunny; however, anywhere between 50-90 degrees is generally fine. Take note that solvent-based sealants evaporate faster, so lower temperatures are better for application.

How often should sealant be reapplied?

The basic rule of thumb is every 3-5 years. For film-forming sealants, you will be able to notice when the physical barrier is showing signs of wear. For non-film-forming sealants, you will begin to see a significant color change of pavers during a rain when the sealant is wearing thin. Keep in mind that in cases of a really heavy rain, even well-sealed pavers may darken for a couple of days until the water fully evaporates, which is not an indication of sealant failure.

PAVER SEALANT APPLICATION TIPS:

  • Like with painting, it’s best to keep a wet edge on a continuous area. In other words, don’t let a section dry before you finish. Once you start working, keep working.
  • An application sprayer (available at any hardware store) makes it easier to work faster.
  • Apply paver sealant to saturation. Get the pavers good and wet to make sure all crevices are covered. Then use a dry roller to soak up the excess to avoid lines and drip marks.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Visit Techniseal’s website for more DIY paver sealant application tips. When in doubt, hire a professional. To find qualified contractors in your area, visit the Belgard contractor locator.