There are several different kinds of clay pavers available for driveway, patio, and walkway surfaces. Clay pavers are manufactured using three basic methods: extrusion, molding, and dry pressing. These pavers come in styles such as square edged, antique, beveled, and tumbled. Specialized pavers such as boardwalk pavers are also available for creating unusual designs.
The majority of all clay pavers are made using an extrusion process. In this manufacturing procedure, clay is combined with water and pressed into a high-pressure vacuum. This process results in a shaped column of clay paving material that is sliced into sections to form individual pavers. The pavers are then dried and fired in a kiln to complete the manufacturing process. Extruded pavers are usually a very durable paving material.
Molded pavers are formed by pressing a clay and water mixture into a wooden mold lined with sand. Different colored sand is used to line the mold and color the pavers. After the molding process is complete, the clay pavers are dried and fired in a kiln. The process used to manufacture these pavers gives them an antique appearance.
Dry pressed pavers are manufactured by placing almost dry clay into a pressurized steel mold. Air is extracted from the clay during the molding process to increase its density. After the clay has been molded, it is dried and fired in a kiln. The lack of moisture in dry pressed clay pavers makes them less vulnerable to shrinkage than other types.
Square edged clay pavers are the most commonly used pavers and usually the least expensive. This kind of durable paver can be utilized in either mortar or sand applications. Through various texturing and coloring processes, simulated antique pavers give an ancient appearance while providing the strength and durability of a modern extruded paver. Simulated antique pavers resist edge chipping because of the slight edge rounding produced in the antiquing process.
Beveled edge pavers are used in combination with spacer nibs to increase consistency at joints and prevent edge chipping from occurring. The beveled edges of this paver provide a sharp, clean appearance and also help to enhance the paving pattern. Tumbled clay pavers typically give an aged look to patios and walkways because of their weathered appearance. The complex manufacturing process required to produce this appearance makes it one of the most expensive pavers.
Among the specialized pavers, boardwalk pavers have the appearance of narrow wooden planks, but provide the resilience and strength of a clay paver. Bull-nosed specialty pavers are ideal for use on curbing and steps, and typically have a beveled edge to minimize chipping. Pentagon-shaped clay pavers can be used to form various geometric patterns and designs. Specialized road pavers are available for surfaces that receive above average vehicle use.