By Hosea Omole
The choice of which materials to use for finishing your paths and surfaces outdoor is an important one.
Each material you use has significant implications on the final outcome of the design, look and feel, level of maintenance and the cost of the project.
It is, therefore, important to understand the qualities of different paving materials before picking one that suits your specific needs and tastes.
Here are the pros and cons of some of the common outdoor paving materials you are likely to consider.
Concrete is an excellent choice for surfacing outdoor spaces. It is moderate in cost and is extremely versatile. Almost any shape imaginable can be achieved with concrete. There is also a wide variety of finishes available, from exposed aggregates to coloured and impressioned walks that mitigate the aesthetic problem of ‘plain’ concrete.
Properly installed concrete has excellent durability with very low maintenance. It can be used in areas with vehicular traffic and in commercial and public areas. Highly skilled labour is, however, necessary to ensure proper installation.
Unit paver is a collective term that includes clay bricks, interlocking concrete paving blocks (cabro), precast concrete units and even open-cell grass pavers. Unit pavers are among the most desirable and requested types of paving materials because of their aesthetic surface finish.
This attractiveness is, however, not without a price; unit pavers are expensive and require expertise and effort to install. Properly installed, they produce a strong and durable surface. Otherwise failure of the base/subgrade under unit pavers can create potential safety problems and definite maintenance problems in the long run.
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