So you are trying to figure out how long you have to wait before you drive on your brand-new pavers and look no further, here’s your answer. The final step of installing pavers is filling the gaps with sand, forming the joints.
Once it’s compacted, more sand is spread, filling any low spots, compacted once more and then you are good-to drive on it.
So, how long before you can drive on pavers?
If you have had it sealed, you will need to wait 24 hours at least for the sealer to dry, maybe longer, depending on your climate region, but once it’s dry, you are ready to drive on it. Unlike many other driveway applications, such as asphalt or concrete, once the pavers are compacted and sanded, you can immediately drive on them. Asphalt and concrete have to set and cure before you can use them.
What are Pavers?
Pavers are an alternative option for asphalt or concrete slab driveways.
Pavers in their most common and simplest form, are square or rectangular shaped blocks, made of concrete, brick or natural cut stone. These are the ones that you will see most often. Either they are in the form of an INTERLOCKING or ARCHITECTURAL SLAB. The interlocking block design is much more durable and longer-lasting, withstanding high traffic. Its edges create uniform lines and patterns.
The interlocking blocks withstand extreme temperatures much better than that of architectural slab.
The slab design is more delicate; it’s much thinner and is actual soft concrete that is formed to LOOK like natural stone. It won’t endure much wear and tear and is mainly designed for foot traffic, even though it’s used for driveway purposes. Despite most pavers being made of some form of concrete or stone, there have been new developments in the industry and pavers are now being designed from recycled products, offering everyone a way to take care of the planet.
How Are Pavers Installed?
There are several steps involved in installing pavers, and most of the work requires a very strong, muscular back and is pretty hard physical labor. It’s recommended to hire a professional to ensure you get the best results, so once you find out how long before you can drive on pavers, and then drive on them, they don’t get ruined.
Here are the steps of how pavers are installed:
- Excavation-factoring in slope and grade. Removing approximately 7” of ground below final grade.
- Plan a Retaining Edge- There will be a “border” or wall built to keep your pavers locked in. This may be bricks or blocks, but underneath there is what’s called an EDGE RESTRAINT SYSTEM. It’s a plastic border wall that is under the surface of the pavers.
- Base Preparation- adding 3\4” crushed rock to the excavated area prior to compacting will help a machine compactor glide easily over the surface. After initial compaction add 1-3” of more crushed stone. Repeat all steps until proper elevation\grade is reached for the pavers to be flush with ground level. All base prep is using crushed ROCK & NOT SAND at this point.
- Bedding Sand- Bedding sand is placed down approximately 1’ thick and is NOT compacted. As for the name, a bed is being made of sand, to place the pavers on.
- Installation of Pavers- The pavers are LIGHTLY PLACED in the sand, in-line with desired pattern or layout, depending on choice of pavers and homeowner’s design.
- Compact Round #3.0- Once all the pavers are placed down and a light coat of JOINT SAND is spread in the cracks by broom, compact the pavers again. Once compacted, spread more joint sand over the joints and fill in the “pattern lines.” Compacting may take several times, repeating the steps of sweeping joint sand across the pavers until no-more can be added.
- Optional staining or sealing at this time. If you choose not to seal, you are ready to use the surface. If you DO SEAL, follow all the necessary steps, to ensure it dries properly and you find out how long before you can drive on the pavers.
HOW MUCH DO PAVERS COST TO INSTALL AND MAINTAIN?
The overall cost of how much it is going to cost you to install your dream paver driveway or patio depends on many different factors; one key point being the choice of material for the pavers. Depending on the contractor you hire and how many estimates you received, you will most likely be around $10-$19 per square foot for installation. Make sure the estimate you are getting is including all the base materials, preparations, labor and pavers needed to do the installation.
The maintenance of your new pavers should be relatively in-expensive as long as you hired a reputable contractor, the job was done correctly and you knew how long you had to wait before driving on them. Typical maintenance costs are very minimal compared to other driveway applications and include only:
- Occasional Stone\brick\block modular replacement
- Occasional weed pulling or treatments to keep weeds\grass out
That’s a relatively low cost list for maintenance, versus an asphalt, concrete or tar and chip driveway that requires resurfacing, resealing, pot-hole repair, crack repair and other maintenance requirements. This is one reason that the initial costs to install pavers are so expensive. It’s an INVESTMENT for your property and requires little-to no maintenance over the years.
Many people get some form of paver system installed as their driveway for several reasons:
- The main one is that pavers can be permeable. This simply means that rain\moisture will seep and drain THROUGH it.
- A non-permeable driveway, such as an asphalt or resin surface is usually graded and sloped with drainage in mind. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain, pavers are a great choice. Due to them being permeable, the water will drain through, extending the life of the driveway significantly since there is never any standing water on it.
- Aesthetic appeal
- The endless variety of materials\colors
- Offer’s better traction in rain and snow
- Yes, you can use a snow plow on them, as long as there is some clearance for the plow not to hook the blocks.
Being that the choices in pavers almost endless, it is important to that you have hired a reputable contractor to go over with you all the different product types and options available to you. The standard and most common choices of pavers are:
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A PAVER DRIVEWAY
- Do you want interlocking pavers? What is the design pattern?
- Are you looking for a driveway to help with water run-off? Living somewhere there is a lot of rain\snow will factor in the type of permeable pavers
- Do you want something that’s easy maintenance?
- Is there an HOA?
- Style? Color?
- Would you prefer a material that will withstand HIGH traffic
- Can you SAVE MONEY?
- If you live in a colder climate you can add a heating system to thaw snow and ice.
THE PROS AND CONS OF PAVERS VERSUS OTHER PAVING OPTIONS
Today, more and more people are getting away from traditional driveways and walkways that are paved asphalt, poured concrete or just gravel and are choosing pavers. With the endless options and even recycled materials showing up as options; Gravel or grass filled plastic pavers are taking over in the “greener” movement and offer an eco-friendly approach.
Travertine, Marble, Cobble and Porcelain believe it or not, are used for pavers as well, but, in much more delicate applications. They look exquisite, but are extremely fragile and not very practical in high traffic\usage areas, so they’re primarily used for show only.
Flagstone is a very popular choice, it is naturally harvested and no- one piece is the same. It has a lower slip-factor, holds up longer than concrete but presents several design challenges; one being since no one piece is the same; designs are more difficult, following a natural layout.
Bluestone is very popular cut of stone. It is on the more expensive end of stone choices, but you can rest assured that it will last you a lifetime and withstand colder temperatures and ground heaving.
Concrete pavers are the most common paver found. There are plenty of styles and colors to choose from and finding a reputable contractor who installs them is easy. Over time however, moisture and temperature changes will deteriorate them and require upkeep and maintenance. Even though replacing an occasional block is relatively easy.
Brick, one of the original founding fathers, is a favorite go-to for many. It provides great curb appeal and they’re lots of colors to choose from. Brick is a ‘green’ choice; however tends to require regular maintenance and replacement as they deteriorate.
Now that you learned how long before you can drive on pavers, you can pass that knowledge on and share everything else you learned as well. When choosing your driveway surface, factor in your return on investment (ROI).
Yes, pavers are much more expensive to install, but if you are not under a tight budget, many contractors advise going the route of installing them. It’s longer lasting, lower maintenance costs and has great curb-side appeal. All the while, it adds value to your home and provides great traction in snow, rain and ice and once it’s installed you don’t have to wait long before you can drive one your pavers.