During the summer of 2016, we completely redid this walkway for our client who had been struggling with a paver walkway that had several issues in Waterloo, ON. We'll describe the problems encountered which are common problems as a result of poor installation and maintenance.
Obstacles & Issues
The first issue with the previous installation was the improper slope over the walkway leading to the stairs. An attempt was made to reduce the size of the steps however this left a severe drop to the driveway making it very dangerous for walking over with heels especially during the early winter and late winter where ice build-up is highly likely.
The second issue was with the improperly installed base underneath the pavers. The base installed was very shallow leading to heaving that occurred after only the first winter. The heaving made the surface vary in height from one paver to the next which made an unsafe area for walking especially with heels or under ice conditions. A flush and level surface are necessary for safety and aesthetic reasons. If built correctly, the walkway will “float” together during freeze/thaw periods.
The third and final issue was the use of untreated sand installed in the joints between the pavers. Sand being a type of soil (sand, silt & clay), untreated sand becomes the perfect breeding ground for many weeds. As weed seeds blow across the walkway in the wind, they get caught in the joints, and with the right amount of water, temperature, and sunlight, it quickly takes root, grows, drops seeds (during the plant's maturity) and spreads further and further.
The Client’s Motivation
Although our client could have left the paver walkway as it was for some time, it was important for them to have a safe walking surface. It is human nature to have the desire to remain safe not only for ourselves but also those around us which would include guests coming to the home.
There is a lot of pride that we as people have in home ownership, so it was also equally as important that the walkway looked great. It can be very disappointing and even demotivating to pay for a product that doesn’t look or perform well. Think of purchasing a phone or computer. You may have opted for an inexpensive product or high-end product, regardless of the price tag you would have had expectations for its use and performance and if those expectations aren't met, the experience becomes sour very quickly.
How We Created a Solution
With these obstacles and motivations in mind, our team came up with the plan of installing concrete slab steps for a flat and even stepping surface. We also increased the height of each step to lower the walkway height around the steps making it safer to use. We also installed a proper base for pedestrian walkways (specifications according to the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute) ensuring the walkway “floats” during freeze/thaw cycles cohesively together. Finally, we installed treated sand (polymeric sand) in the joints between the pavers.
During this time the client also requested that we install concrete edging along the walkway to create a solid definition of the garden.
As with every paver renovation, there are unique challenges to overcome when trying to accomplish the goals of the homeowner but also ensuring that we comply with building code and best practices for paver installations & maintenance. Our process for sales & planning ensures that all aspects are covered to ensure longevity for the project. We achieve this by having the foresight to work in the best interests of the homeowner. The last thing we want to do is increase future costs due to a poor installation.
If you’re interested in having your concrete paver walkway, patio or driveway renovated, contact our team to begin the discussion. We'd be glad to serve you!