For a unique, custom appearance that reflects a personal style and enhances overall curb appeal there’s nothing more striking than brick paver walkways and paver stoops to match. Whether for a contemporary, country or old English look, there’s a selection of brick, pavers and natural stone that fits any Madison WI neighborhood.
The walk up to a home, whether from a patio or to the front entrance, should be inviting, easy to navigate and representative of the owner’s sense of style. Front stoops are part of American history – gathering places in many of the older big city neighborhoods. Today they are a hardscape welcome mat.
Paver walkways leading to complementary paver stoops offer many advantages beyond style and personality. Bricks, pavers and natural stone offer variations in color, texture and shape that standard concrete walks and steps cannot match. Paver walkways and paver stoops stand up to the rigors of a Madison WI winter, too.
Pavers Are Versatile Building Materials
If your property slopes where an attractive concrete walk isn’t practical, consider a unique layered-look with gradual stairways incorporating paver walkways that may be straight or angled. The paver walkway option leading to a hand-crafted paver stoop adds form to function making the transition from community sidewalk or driveway to a special living space clean and inviting.
In addition to their good looks and durability, paver walkways, steps and stoops are actually less labor-intensive to create than building frames and pouring concrete. Brick and stone paver walks don’t require mortar to secure them when placed properly. Most of the labor is prior to installing the pavers. Ground preparation is a key element. Here are critical steps in the process:
- Make sure the base (ground) is level
- Create a solid foundation layer
- Support changes in elevation – between paver walkway sections and between steps
- Measure twice (at least) and dig once
Consider a Level Base
After the area to hold the paver walkways, steps and paver stoops have been excavated, it is critical to be sure the base is level – it’s nearly impossible to build a level pathway on uneven ground. If there’s anything slightly off-level, make sure it will run water away from the design – and this angle has to be consistent from one end of the structure to the other. Steps on stairways or paver stoops should never be angled upward from the outer edge. The wrong angle means water – including melting snow – will pool and eventually damage the pavers’ foundation.
Create a Solid Foundation
While it may seem logical to just put pavers right on excavated ground, that’s the wrong move. Even if you’re dealing with heavy clay soil – digging in it may feel like pounding brick, but it can’t be trusted. Over time and with the help of rain and snow – thawing and freezing in a Madison WI winter – the ground will settle and shift. The pave walkways will move with it. After excavation and leveling, a bed of paver sand and specially designed base gravel is the answer
Support Every Section
When your walkway has changes in elevation – steps or small “decks” – and you have paver stoops you need something in addition to natural soil for support. The weight of the pavers coupled with the pressure of foot traffic will cause soil to shift. Add natural erosion and there’s a risk of something washing away. Behind the pavers, bricks or treated lumber can provide vertical support.
Precise Measurements Save Time and Dollars
Knowing exactly how much space your choice of pavers will take will streamline the construction process. Regularly monitoring the digging process so the base is neither too big nor too small insures a proper fit.
Routine Maintenance Keeps Paver Walkways, Paver Stoops Looking Good
Like polishing a kitchen floor or waxing your car, many brick pavers benefit from routine maintenance. Here are some thoughts on appropriate steps:
- Sealing paver walkways and paver stoops – In spaces where stains may be a problem, consider sealing pavers because:
- Sealants enhance color
- Sealants resist stains and natural element like mildew
- Some sealants help to bind pavers together and some provide a good barrier for weeds trying to grow between the blocks.
NOTE – sealants don’t last forever so once you apply, they have to be reapplied every 3-5 years depending upon sun exposure, traffic, etc.
Pavers Standup to Snowblowers
It isn’t unusual to see paver walkways or driveways and think: “A snowblower’s lip will snag that and wreck it.” In fact, the chamfered edges and joints around pavers promote natural melting and can help to wick water away so it doesn’t refreeze.
NOTE: Never use sharp implements to chop ice on pavers. Metal edges on some shovels may scratch pavers. Sodium chloride (rock salt) will melt ice but may harm pavers, (concrete, too). Calcium chloride is less harmful for melting snow and ice. Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) products are far superior.
Contact Marvin Martinez at Martin’s Brick Pavers, 630-8855 or email us at www.marvinsbrickpavers.com for ideas to create paver walkways and paver stoops and for professional installation of brick paver creations in Madison WI and throughout Dane County.