Q. What is a better base for my pavers, R.C.A. or Poured Concrete?

A: This is a topic for some Heated Debate as you may or may not know. Contractors are usually split 50/50 on this one and like most ship captains , are willing to “Go Down With The Ship” about this. In short….there are pros and cons for each and each can be installed correctly and incorrectly. Let’s elaborate…. Pavingstone manufacturers will always recommend the R.C.A. option. (click here for more info on R.C.A.) R.C.A. when installed properly provides a very stable base as well as a measure of drainage. Drainage is good for more than just freeze/thaw issues. If you are planning to seal your pavers anytime in the future R.C.A. is the better bet, as sealer can “Blush” or turn white when subject to moisture for prolonged periods of time. You don’t want that…Trust me. As for the concrete base, it certainly has its benefits and weaknesses. To its credit it will not settle over time like a bad R.C.A. installation. ( this is the reason why concrete bases became popular…contractors had long been using cheap R.C.A. and not putting  enough of it down. Peoples pavers were shifting all over the place. Who got the blame? The R.C.A) Generally you will not have to worry about what type of traffic your pavingstones will see with this method as it will support even heavy trucks. On the other hand , concrete bases Do Not Drain. These jobs must be pitched and drained sufficiently. Otherwise freeze/thaw comes to the party and brings some big problems. Also if you remember the stuff about sealing and “blushing”… your chances of seeing this are very high. And you can typically expect to see increased levels of Efflorescence. The bottom line is : Either method will be a good choice WHEN INSTALLED CORRECTLY and IN THE PROPER SETTING. We can help you decide.

Q. What is Efflorescence, and HOW DO I GET RID OF IT!?

A: In chemistry, efflorescence (which means “to flower out” in French) is the loss of water (or a solvent) of crystallization from a hydrated or solvated salt to the atmosphere on exposure to air. What on Earth does that all of that mean? IT MEANS YOU HAVE LOADS OF WHITE JUNK ALL OVER YOUR PAVERS! I’m sure you at this point have a few ideas of what the French can do with their “Flowers”. Moisture and air coming together makes the white “efflorescence” come out. Making your nice Gray or Red or Brown Pavers look Chalky and Hazy… AGGHH!! When you first get your pavers installed you will almost 100% of the time see this efflorescence on the surface. That is because your pavers have been sitting on top of one another in nice neat cubes and they have spent their whole life outdoors so far, allowing a buildup of moisture between the layers. The cubes are expertly delivered by a Stevens Stone driver and as soon as they are opened , laid out , and air comes in contact with the moisture and, (i’ll borrow another French word right now) “Voila!” Efflorescence! This efflorescence is called “Primary Efflorescence” and is usually short lived at several months or less. The efflorescence may even intensify slightly before starting to fade away. But yes, it should “Fade Away”. Our best advice at this stage is to LEAVE IT ALONE! If you find yourself losing sleep or you appetite over it or you have that big Barbecue coming up where all your friends are supposed to be impressed on your new patio. We can help by recommending an efflorescence cleaner or a professional cleaning service to assist in its removal. “Primary Efflorescence” means there must be “Secondary Efflorescence”…. Correct. Secondary Efflorescence is a little more worrying. The presence of this “Phenomena” is usually in connection with poor drainage, which may come in many forms. Secondary efflorescence by nature will intensify over time, almost growing on the surface much the way a stalactite or stalagmite would grow in a cavern. Please contact us for assistance in all efflorescence removal.

Q. How do I get rid of Leaf Stains?

A: After a long Winter and a bad case of cabin fever you are probably interested to get grilling and swimming and entertaining! Upon surveying all of your spring cleanup needs you stumble upon something that induces a stroke/heart attack…etc. LEAF STAINS! “But I thought these pavingstones I had installed last year would look ‘like new forever’!?” Now i have Brown Junk all over the place. DON’T PANIC!!!(I know…too late) The nature of these stains is organic, and organic materials fade when subjected to Ultraviolet rays from sunlight. In other words a little time in the sun will render those HORRIBLE LEAF STAINS powerless and short lived. So do the Spring Cleanup. Paying special attention to leaf removal and let the Sun work for you. The pigments in your new Pavers are UV stable so don’t worry about them getting too much Sun. In some special circumstances you may require a chemical cleaner…We can Help.

Q. What is “Poly” Sand and should I use it?

A: “Poly” or Polymeric Sand is a polymer or “Glue” stabilized sand product used for sweeping into the joints or spaces between pavingstones. If you were around the paver world only about 10 years ago it was common to sweep ordinary “fine” sand into the joints of a patio,walkway,driveway upon completion, locking the bricks into one another. It worked! If you had to remove a damaged paver, it was a pain in the backside. You also found that you spent hours and hours and punishing HOURS…PULLING WEEDS! and it would rain… REPEAT CYCLE! Let’s not forget to give the little ants their credit for pushing all that pesky sand back out of the joints for you…Remember? These two issues have been intuitively dealt with, with the creation of Poly sand. Say goodbye to the weed problems and as for our little friend the ant, Go Ahead, Try Munching on Poly Sand! BTW it comes in a Natural “Beige” color and a Distinguished “Slate Grey” Sweet.

Q. Do I need to Seal my Pavers?

A: Not necessarily. First you have to decide why you feel the need to seal. Sealing your pavers has generally two major benefits. (1) It protects the surface and (2) It enhances the color. Pretty much all of our customers are interested in protecting the surface of their investment but not everyone is interested with that “Wet Look”. There is a solution for all desired results. We sell a Variety of products to put on your pavers, We can help you decide or make a recommendation.