There are several different options available for do-it-yourself (DIY) paving projects. Some options such as tiles and flagstone can become very expensive if a large area is being paved. Other choices such as block or brick pavers are more affordable but often require a longer time period to complete. Asphalt paving is an affordable paving alternative for driveways, but requires a certain amount of skill and equipment to produce a smooth finished surface. Poured concrete is a versatile option for almost any surface, but usually needs to be confined to small areas.
Paving tiles made of ceramic, porcelain, clay, and terracotta are ideal for creating a variety of attractive patterns and designs. These tiles are most often used for smaller patio projects due to their higher cost. The price of these tiles typically varies depending on their size, style, texture, and construction material. The surface texture of a paving tile may be rough, smooth, or patterned. Paving tiles can usually be laid over an existing concrete surface.
Flagstones are created by slicing large stones into flat paving tiles and are typically cut from quartz, granite, slate, or limestone. These paving stones give a rustic appearance to patios and walkways and can be set in a sand or gravel base. If desired, mortar can be used to join the flagstones and provide a more durable surface. When flagstones are used for DIY paving, it is wise to select tiles of the same thickness to avoid creating an uneven surface. Color choice is limited to the variety of stone chosen for the paving project.
Block pavers offer a colorful and attractive appearance and can be utilized for DIY paving of walkways, patios, or driveways. These variants are typically constructed of materials such as clay, concrete, stone and cement. Paving blocks are available in many geometric shapes including square, round, and octagonal. Several different shapes, sizes, and colors of block pavers may be combined to produce beautiful geometric designs and patterns. Before block pavers can be installed, the surface area must be properly leveled, compacted, and adequately drained to prevent the paving from settling or cracking in the future.
One of the oldest and most common DIY paving materials is brick. Although color choice is limited, brick paving is inexpensive, durable, and relatively easy to install. Brick paving can be laid in many different patterns and requires very little maintenance. The low cost of bricks makes them an excellent choice for small driveway paving projects as well as patios and walkways. Attention should be given to the grade of brick that is chosen since different climates require different material strengths.
Asphalt is another common DIY paving choice for small driveways and typically provides a smooth, long-lasting surface requiring only periodic maintenance. Composed mainly of rocks, sand, and asphalt cement, this material can be heated and poured directly onto the base surface and then pressed into place using a rolling machine. Asphalt paving provides an attractive, smooth driving surface, but extensive base preparation is often required to achieve good results. A good knowledge of this material along with a few pieces of heavy equipment will be needed if this paving option is chosen. Once it has been installed, asphalt paving must be periodically resealed to maintain its appearance and durability.
Poured concrete is an inexpensive DIY paving option for small patios and walkways. Concrete will usually last for decades when poured onto a properly prepared surface. Concrete paving can be finished with a rough, patterned, or smooth texture, and a wide variety of colors can be achieved by applying concrete stain to the finished surface. Concrete sealers are also available to keep the surface clean and smooth in the future. Although small concrete paving projects are relatively simple, large areas such as driveways should probably be paved by a professional contractor.