Paver Sealer: To Seal or Not to Seal

From Outdoor Living by Belgard Blog

Outdoor living space with patio, fire pit, walls and outdoor dining located in Fishers, Indiana includes Bergerac and Weston Wall. Project designed and completed by McCune Outdoor Living. The project utilized the following Belgard products manufactured by 4D Schusters of Indiana. Bergerac – Harvest Blend with Brittany Beige Weston Wall – Harvest Blend

“Do I need to seal my pavers?” The short answer is Yes.

Paver sealant is an important maintenance tool to keep paver patios, walkways, driveways and pool decks looking as beautiful as they day they were installed.

However, “too much of a good thing” can come into play, and you should be wary of over-applying paver sealer by reapplying too often, which could create a haze. This week’s blog offers tips for knowing when it’s time to seal and how to best achieve the desired look.

Should all concrete pavers be sealed?

Yes. Concrete is porous and will absorb stains if not sealed. Sealants can also protect paver color from fading.

Do all paver sealant brands offer the same basic protection?

There are definitely some poor paver sealing products on the market. Don’t trust the fact that you bought it at a big box store or that it’s a high-profile brand. Just because a brand is good at one product category (like paint) doesn’t mean they are the best in another. Belgard recommends Techniseal® sealants. When it comes paver sealant, Techniseal® is a pioneer in the industry has a robust R&D department, resulting in effective and durable products specifically created for paver installation and maintenance.

Is any one paver sealant finish more protective than another?

There are basically two types of paver sealants: film-forming (gloss or semi-gloss finish) and non-film-forming (matte finish). Film-forming sealants, such as Wet Look and Clear Look, offer the ultimate protection because they create a physical barrier on the paver surface. However non-film-forming sealants, Natural Look and Color Boost, still offer excellent protection and last a bit longer.

Techniseal Concrete Paver Sealer

How long should new pavers cure before they are sealed for the first time?

If using a non-film-forming paver sealant, wait one week before sealing. If using a film-forming sealant, wait 30 days to avoid trapping moisture under the protective barrier.

Is there a prep process before applying paver sealant?

Even new pavers should be cleaned with Techniseal® Paver Prep prior to sealing. Not only will it clean the pavers, but it will open the pores on the surface to allow better penetration of the sealant. Older pavers will also benefit, as Paver Prep will remove any efflorescence (or whitish salt buildup) that has accumulated. Any stains should be removed prior to applying Paver Prep, using the specific stain remover for the type of stain. For more information, read last week’s blog on paver stain removal.

How long should pavers dry after being cleaned and prepped?

The answer depends on your climate. In warm, sunny climates, the pavers will be dry and ready to seal in a few hours. In cooler climates or shady areas, it’s best to wait about 24 hours.

What are the ideal weather conditions for sealing?

Ideal conditions would be 75 degrees and sunny; however, anywhere between 50-90 degrees is generally fine. Take note that solvent-based sealants evaporate faster, so lower temperatures are better for application.

How often should paver sealer be reapplied?

The basic rule of thumb is every 3-5 years. For film-forming sealants, you will be able to notice when the physical barrier is showing signs of wear. For non-film-forming sealants, you will begin to see a significant color change of pavers during a rain when the sealant is wearing thin. Keep in mind that in cases of a really heavy rain, even well-sealed pavers may darken for a couple of days until the water fully evaporates, which is not an indication of sealant failure.

PAVER SEALING APPLICATION TIPS:

  • Like with painting, it’s best to keep a wet edge on a continuous area. In other words, don’t let a section dry before you finish. Once you start working, keep working.
  • An application sprayer (available at any hardware store) makes it easier to work faster.
  • Apply paver sealant to saturation. Get the pavers good and wet to make sure all crevices are covered. Then use a dry roller to soak up the excess to avoid lines and drip marks.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Visit Techniseal’s website for more DIY paver sealant application tips. When in doubt, hire a professional. To find qualified contractors in your area, visit the Belgard contractor locator.

10 Quick Facts About Gator Base

By Mike Huber of Alliance Designer Products

First off, what is Gator Base? Gator Base is a foam base product that has been engineered and designed specifically for pedestrian paver installations. The panels are lightweight and incredibly easy to move around and work with. In this blog post, we’re going to outline, step-by-step, what a typical Gator Base installation involves.

Gator Base panels can help save time, money and labor on many different types of hardscape applications. Manufactured using lightweight high-density polypropylene, five Gator Base panels will cover 28.9 square feet and weigh only 6.6 lbs!

In this post, we’re going to share 10 quick facts that you might find interesting about this product:



1. Saves 6” of excavation
Gator Base will actually replace the six inches of compacted crushed stone that’s needed in traditional pedestrian hardscape jobs.

2. Provides better protection against freeze/thaw
Gator Base acts as a thermal blanket. It’s three times more effective than crushed stone as an insulator and significantly reduces freeze/thaw cycles.

3. Increases profits by decreasing labor costs
Michael Tous of GrassMasters explains how he saves an average of $30,000 per year using Gator Base! Check out what he has to say in this video testimonial.

4. Perfect for jobs with tight access
Because big, heavy pieces of equipment aren’t needed for Gator Base installations, the product proves to be the perfect solution for jobs with limited access.

5. Extremely durable
Gator Base is built to last! With over 3.5 million square feet already installed, this product is proving it can withstand the test of time. It will never leach chemicals or degrade in the native soil.

Gator Base Installation (1)

6. Offers better load transfer
Gator Base panels interlock to distribute the static and dynamic loads to a very wide area, a very effective means of spreading out any pressure on the soils below.

7. Features water evacuation channels
Gator Base has been designed to return water to the native soil through built-in evacuation channels.

8. LOCK-N-GO Technology
Designed with a tongue and groove system, Gator Base panels quickly and easily lock into place to form a durable monolithic slab.

9. No heavy equipment needed
Did you know that it would take about 1,440 lbs. of crushed stone to fill 28.9 square feet six inches high? That’s a lot of excavating and heavy lifting! Five panels of Gator Base weighs in at 6.6 lbs. and will cover this same exact square footage!

10. 3.5 million square feet installed!
The number of Gator Base jobs continues to rise in North America … 3.5 million square feet and counting!

For more information on Gator Base and how to use it DOWNLOAD THE GATOR BASE CASE STUDY HERE

New Building Materials for the Green Home

A rebounding construction market combined with an increased focus on sustainability has created the perfect environment for innovation. Consumers and businesses are keeping a closer eye on energy costs, and many see construction projects as an opportunity to set a positive example. As such, researchers are scrambling to come up with building solutions that are more environmentally friendly yet just as effective as their predecessors.

Below, read about four of the most exciting innovations that are paving the way for the next generation of building materials.

1. Self-Regulating Materials for Temperature Control

Indoor climate control has always been a challenge. The bigger you build, the less ability you have to fight against the natural elements on the other side of the wall. The right insulation can get you partway there, but as outside temperatures fluctuate, building occupants are inevitably forced to tweak indoor conditions. The constant up and down, while doable, can run a significant energy bill.

The good news is that the solution might be right under our noses. Researchers are taking a close look at how organisms are able to maintain equilibrium for everything from sugar content levels to temperature. Remarkably, biology allows most living things to regulate inner temperatures regardless of outside conditions, by way of surprisingly basic biochemical reactions. It’s not just complex organisms — even primitive ones have at least some ability to regulate heat.

What does that mean for building materials? Essentially, scientists are attempting to mimic in buildings what we are able to do naturally: self-regulate based on environment. Early prototypes have taken the form of self-regulating gels that effectively respond to outside temperature; in other words, they are made to heat when conditions are cold and remain inactive when within the right temperature range. It’s like wrapping your building in an ultra-responsive and efficient thermostat.

2. Sustainable Concrete and Brick

We live in a concrete world, but that comes with a downside: Concrete production is dirty. It emits an enormous amount of carbon. Exacerbating the problem is that concrete is strong but not permanent, and that means manufacturing more and more of it over time.

One solution that researchers have explored in recent years has been the concept of sustainable concrete. Essentially, it’s concrete made from organic, renewable materials. The rice from ash hulls, for example, has been shown to effectively produce a form of concrete by holding sand and stone components firmly in place. What’s more, the end product is stronger than traditional concrete – meaning you don’t have to use as much.

Similarly, manufacturers are making use of new brick-making techniques and materials. One notable material is cow dung, which can be used to replace clay. In addition to giving a builder eco-friendly credibility, it can be a smart investment. Bricks made from cow dung have been shown to be lighter and stronger than their clay counterparts while costing about the same.

3. Lightweight Composites

Composites have come into play more and more in recent years, and for good reason. They can be crafted in such a way as to be incredibly effective and resilient. Next-generation composites will be made lighter and possibly comprise organic elements.

One interesting example is boards made of chicken feathers. It is made by compressing otherwise wasted feathers and traditional cement. Researchers tout it as a material that is incredibly lightweight and naturally termite-repellant. It’s also less flammable than other composite materials. It’s just the beginning as researchers continue to look into ways to incorporate organic materials into traditional building materials.

4. Organic Insulation

As noted at the start of this article, insulation is the go-to solution for indoor climate control. While typically effective, insulation is notorious for having environmentally unfriendly properties. Some forms have been demonstrated to have serious negative implications for humans, and most are stubbornly difficult to dispose of in a safe, clean way.

To beat the bad wrap of traditional insulation, builders are increasingly open to organic alternatives. They are sustainable, effective and often recyclable. For example, researchers have been able to produce mushrooms to harness their fungal mycelium — which acts as a binder when combined with certain agricultural byproducts. It can be made to be structurally rigid in all kinds of settings. It’s incredibly effective, and the product is highly versatile as a building material.

Similarly, sheep’s wool is being used as a renewable and effective insulation material. Further, its benefits have been known for as long as it has been used for clothing — it is difficult to burn and is safe around people. As an additional benefit, it is fairly easy to place and recycle. For anyone who has been involved in a demolition, you understand what an enormous benefit that is, as traditional insulation accounts for a significant amount of wasted materials.

Top Landscape Trends For 2020

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) has announced its official list of the top lawn and landscape trends for 2020. Crafted using the expertise of professionals across the country, NALP annually predicts design and maintenance trends that will inspire Americans to create healthy and beautiful green spaces.

“Foundational landscape elements remain on homeowners’ wish lists, but modern updates and technology are now a top priority. With a wave of design and technical innovations, our members report that ornate hardscaping, contemporary features, lush gardens, and smart irrigation are all trending and will influence landscape designs across the country in 2020,” says Britt Wood, CEO, National Association of Landscape Professionals. “This year’s trends showcase how homeowners of all generations desire a striking, custom and well-maintained outdoor space that benefits their community and the environment.”

The Five landscape trends that will define outdoor spaces this year:

Ornate, Geometric Hardscaping: 

Professionals are noting an uptick in requests for intricate hardscaping patterns including waves, chevron, lattice, and basket weave to sweep the country. From walkways and patios made out of flagstone or pavers to retaining walls and fire features, homeowners are looking to integrate popular home décor patterns into their hardscape designs.

Contemporary and Transitional Landscape Design: 

Boomers, gen Xers and millennials are seeking sleek, contemporary and simple landscape designs. Whether opting for an elegant outdoor kitchen, contemporary sculpture, or modern fire or water feature, professionals are seeing a shift towards simplistic designs. Multi-season functionality is essential as more homeowners are selecting elements that can survive a range of temperatures, such as native plants, heat lamps, and protective structures.

Bountiful Shades of Blue: 

Landscape professionals anticipate rich tones of blue to make a striking impact in 2020. With PPG naming Chinese Porcelain, a cobalt and moody blue, and Sherwin-Williams declaring Naval, a strong and calming dark blue, as their respective colors of the year, experts predict these tones will influence the design of outdoor spaces this year. To add touches of the hue, homeowners could consider a blue sculpture or water feature. To incorporate shades of blue into gardens, look to plants such as blue fortune, delphinium, hydrangea, globe thistle or grape hyacinth.

Your Style, Your Garden Design: 

Gardens serve as a relaxing escape for many across the country. From creating edible gardens for farm-to-table dining to planting gardens that produce favorite fruits, vegetables or herbs, homeowners are more aware of the options that exist for installing gardens that meet their personal needs. For smaller spaces, consider container gardens, vertical gardens and interiorscaping to create an outdoor garden oasis.

One-click, Remote Irrigation: 

Technology continues to be a staple of the lawn and landscape industry. In 2020, homeowner demand will contribute to a rise in high-tech irrigation systems that deliver just the right amount of water to a lawn or landscape, conserving water and saving money in the long run. The latest irrigation systems are controllable from anywhere with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and smartphone apps or your Alexa or Google smart speaker to help maximize efficiency.

NALP develops its annual trends report based on member surveys and the expertise of landscape professionals from around the country. Along with industry insight, NALP trends are influenced by popular lifestyle shifts and designs, and reflect Americans’ growing passion for healthy, well-designed green spaces.

5 Backyard Remodeling Ideas That Will Attract Potential Buyers


By Jordan Swift of Innovative Building Materials

Image result for beautiful back yards

The condition and features of backyards are becoming more important to success in the residential real estate market. Homeowners are always looking for ways to increase the value and appearance before they put their house up for sale. The right backyard remolding ideas that will attract buyers can make the home selling process easier and more profitable.

It takes more than mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges to attract the right kind of buyers to your home. Critical attention will be made to all aspects of the home, with the exterior areas the most visible and providing the first impression of the house. Upgrades to the systems and structures of your back yard can go a long way in increasing the overall valuation of your home. Remodeling and renovation projects will add character and functionality to show prospective buyers the full value of the home.

Deck Building

Installing or remodeling a hardwood deck will improve the look of the entire property and offer an impressive selling point to attract potential buyers. A deck provides a spacious and versatile entertaining place for family and friends, or simply a nice place to enjoy some quiet time along outdoors without having to stray from your home. Including ample seating areas with benches, tables and chairs, and lounge chairs fills out space and provide natural gathering spaces. Fire pits and spas are luxury features that will only add to the attractiveness and value of the home.

Drainage Improvements

Ineffective or poorly maintained drainage systems can lead to standing water, leaking, and long-term damage to the structural integrity of the home. There are several ways to make drainage improvements that will attract potential buyers when it comes time to put your home on the market.

Drainage systems that prevent water from flowing downhill can result in serious damage with costly consequences. Remodeling or upgrading structure and landscape drainage on your property will increase the value of the home.

Installing porous, permeable pavement materials for patio and walkway areas is an eco-friendly option that improves the water drainage process in your backyard.

Adding Shade

If people are going to be spending a lot of time in the backyard, ample shade will be needed to maximize their comfort level throughout the day. Areas that protected from sunlight and weather elements can be achieved in different ways.

The planting of trees in your backyard adds character and style to go along with the shade they provide. Older trees will offer more shade and do more to increase the value of your home, but new trees are also a great selling point to help potential homebuyers see the future of living in the home.

Installing a pergola or porch ceiling will be like adding another room to the house, adding protection from the elements, shade, and overall resale value to the home.

Exterior Lighting

Advances in technology have made it easier than ever to install an impressive exterior lighting scheme with a wide range of operational options. Customize colors, styles, designs, and automated features to light up your backyard seating area, walkways, and lawns to set the mood and offer added security after dark.

The emergence of money and energy-saving LED technology makes lighting your backyard a cost-efficient option to attract potential home buyers to your property for sale.

Outdoor Kitchen

Installing a fully functional outdoor kitchen, complete with refrigeration, an oven and stovetop, and food preparation counter space provides everything you need to throw great outdoor parties and meals. Outdoor kitchens are impressive showpieces for prospective buyers and offer a great return on the investment.

Any experienced real estate agent will say that home renovation or remodeling projects can have a significant impact on the overall value of your home when it comes time to sell. Even if you are planning on staying in your home for many years to come, improvements made now, like planting some trees, for example, will be beneficial to the selling process down the line.

 Jordan Swift is a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. He is a blogger and a content writer for the building materials industry with an interest in landscaping and outdoor remodeling. Jordan is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value, improve sustainability, and create a warm and welcoming ambiance. 

Benefits of Landscape Lighting

 

One of the best ways to create a great aesthetic vision on your property is to utilize landscape lighting outside your home. Not only is this a great way to decorate your front yard area, it is also an effective safety measure that can keep intruders away from your house.

However, there is always a question of which type of lighting works best: LED or halogen.

There are pros and cons for both, and it is worth exploring them in detail so that you can make the best decision as to which one is more appropriate for your landscape lighting project.

Halogen Landscape Lighting Pros

A major benefit of halogen lights is that they are cheap. In fact, they are cheaper than LED lights, which means you can spend far less money on many of them when you are using landscaping lighting on your property.

Depending on the brand and wattage as well as the size of bulbs you purchase, you can expect to spend anywhere from $4 to $10 per bulb.

The quality of lighting of halogen bulbs is generally considered very good. This means that they are great for landscape lighting.

You should experience a good amount of brightness for your property, which is both good for aesthetics and safety. Halogen lights are also capable of being used with a timer. This means you can use them in your landscape and have the timer tell them exactly when they should light up or turn off.

In particular, low voltage halogen lights are good options when you are looking to save energy with your landscape lighting. They are generally low on energy, although they are not inordinately so.

You can expect to save around 20 percent on your energy bills overall when using halogen lights for landscaping.

In general, you can place your halogen lights anywhere, whether high or low. This means you have a lot more flexibility with your landscape lighting when you rely on halogen.

Halogen Landscape Lighting Cons

Unfortunately, in spite of the cheap cost of halogen lights, they do not last very long when compared with other types of lighting.

This type of landscape lighting will actually end up costing you more in the long run due to the fact that they only last from 2,000 to 5,000 hours total. What this means is that you will have to replace them more often, which can add up over time.

The costs for wiring halogen lights can also be pricey. You may shell out more money for the fixtures and other parts just to get the lights running.

Maintaining halogen lighting might end up being more trouble than it’s worth in the long run, especially when you have 100 or more bulbs in your landscape lighting setup.

Additionally, you must keep halogen light bulbs that are working off of the same system positioned at an equal distance from the transformer. This is necessary for the sake of consistency and can be a burden over time.

LED Landscape Lighting Pros

Although LED lights are more expensive to buy, in the long run, they are worth it. This is because they have a much longer life than halogen bulbs at anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 hours. You can rest assured that your landscape lighting will burn bright for much longer than one year. You can expect to get at least a good 10 years out of your LED lights, depending on use.

Like halogen lights, the lighting ability of LED lights is very good. You will get great quality out of your landscape lighting when you use LEDs.

Maintenance costs are much less frequently needed and end up being less money with LED lighting. You will not have to do much in that regard, and this type of lighting is much more energy efficient.

In fact, you can save up to 80 percent of your typical energy costs when you use LED lights for your landscape lighting.

LED Landscape Lighting Cons

Initially, LED lights really can be expensive for the average homeowner. Depending on the type of bulb and its wattage, you can expect to shell out anywhere from $20 to nearly $100 per bulb.

If you choose LED lights to use in your landscape lighting, it is recommended that you place their fixtures higher up in a place that is difficult to reach.

This is largely due to the fact that it will allow you to save costs on maintenance. LED is much more easily damaged when placed in lower areas.

Landscape Lighting: LED vs. Halogen
LED vs. Halogen Landscape Lighting

Overall, you will benefit more from using LED lights for your landscaping due to the fact that it is less expensive to maintain and gives you more flexibility in your designs.

Although halogen lights are far cheaper to buy, they won’t last anywhere near as long and you will find it pricier to have to maintain them over time. LED lighting also has the edge due to their greater efficiency, which means you will save a lot more – up to 80 percent – on your energy bills.

Halogen lights are generally better if you want more flexibility with the design of your landscape lighting.

Landscape Lighting: LED vs. Halogen
Great Landscape Lighting Ideas

After you have an idea of which type of lighting you prefer to use, you will want to begin thinking about what type of landscape lighting design to use.

Of course, there are many different ways you can go about bringing your landscaping lighting ideas to life. It’s best to talk with a landscape lighting contractor for help with the design and installation of your lighting.

If you have a lovely walkway in front of your house that leads up to your front door, you can have a little fun with it. If you are like a lot of other homeowners, you probably have plants creating a fashionable walkway to your home, such as shrubs. Consider winding some small bulbs in the plants so that you have an area that it lit up and draws attention to your landscape.

You can do something somewhat similar with your landscape lighting if you have a stone walkway that leads to your front door. This is a great design idea whether you have steps or not. Place your lights on either side of the stone walkway so that they create a line that leads right up to your doorway.

For many homeowners, incorporating an outdoor pond in the front of their house or even a backyard waterfall is one of the most beautiful ways to utilize landscape design.

You can take that a step farther by adding gorgeous lighting to these areas. Place lights inside your pond or as a decorative border around it to really enhance your outdoor living space.

A common trend among homeowners is incorporating beautiful landscape lighting ideas into the garden.

For instance, if you have some flowering plants in a distinctive pattern along your property, whether in your garden or front yard, you can use lighting fixtures inside of stakes to hold the plants in place in the soil. This type of landscape lighting serves a dual purpose of lighting a path along the area as well as keeping the plants affixed so that they can thrive and blossom.

It may seem odd, but an uneven and irregular setup with your landscape lighting can really work well in some settings.

Instead of following a regular pattern of lighting up a path on your property, consider placing lights in a more irregular manner so that random areas are lit up.

Landscape Lighting: LED vs. Halogen

It will probably surprise you that they will look even more beautiful than if they were arranged in any particular way. Moon lighting is an absolutely gorgeous way to play with lights in your landscape.

You can light up a good deal of your property by placing lights very high up in the trees. As a result, you will find that your home will have more of a woodsy feel and will appear to be spotlighted. One thing to keep in mind with this type of landscape lighting, however, is that you will have to get the lights at least a good 30 to 40 feet up in the trees. It’s best to hire a landscape lighting company to help. Consider this design method to create a dreamy effect. It works well if you have a body of water on your property or simply a stone walkway.

If you have a patio or terrace, you can light it up beautifully by placing your landscape lighting high up in surrounding trees. This is an excellent way to light up the area at night and sit with family or friends without having to be bothered by harsh lighting. You can even use bulbs that are of a different color for an even cooler effect.

This method will make it seem as though the lighting is more indirect, which makes for a more soothing experience while out on the patio or terrace. It is referred to as “indirect lighting.”

Once you’ve decided the landscape lighting design you would like to use in your yard, be sure come by any of our stores and see our display by Corona Lighting!

 

 

3 Types of Landscape Edging

 

If your garden needs a boost, perhaps it’s time to rethink your edges. Installing new edging is one of the easiest, fastest ways to improve the overall appearance of your garden. Whether you want to dress up a swath of perennials, draw attention to a bench in the distance, or simply keep gravel contained, freshening up your edges often does the trick.

You can install some materials, such as metal or composite bender board, in an afternoon. Others, such as poured in place concrete and boulders, require a weekend or longer to complete and may challenge you to learn some new skills.

Edging materials provide a stable framework for walkways and patios, while creating a contrast between two distinct areas. Visually it provides a crisp, clean manicured look, while physically creating a functional separation. Landscape edging can be applied to the lawn perimeter, bed edges and borders — anywhere hardscape materials, plants and grass spill over where they shouldn’t.

  

Here are 3 common types of edging:

1. Masonry

Concrete, brick and stone provide a solid edging in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Upright soldiers, a common name for bricks that are stood on end, rest on a porous base for proper draining. When bricks are tilted, the design is called tilted soldiers. The bricks are tilted against each other, then back-filled with sand and tamped down. Another long-lasting edging material is concrete, which provides a neat, clean and durable edge, particularly for high-traffic areas. If the edging is made wide enough, it can double as a mow strip.

Brick edging

Concrete Paver Edging

Stone edging

Concrete edging

2. Strip Edging

Strip edging made of steel, aluminum or plastic is held in place with metal or plastic stakes and works well for curves and shapes. This type of edging is less work intensive than most other materials, as the edging can be hammered into place, no trenching required. Plastic edging is generally the weakest and may crack and lose its shape over time. It has a tendency to wiggle under pressure or when the ground is wet and the hardscape beside it is unstable, such as gravel or river rock.

Aluminum edging

Rubber edging

Composite Bender Board

3. Wood Edging

Wood edging includes railroad and landscaping timbers, pressure-treated and composite products that provide a strong, long-lasting edging, but require a little ground work for installation. For added strength, wood edging is often braced with 16-inch spikes which hold up even under the toughest weather conditions; it won’t crack, break or wiggle if properly installed. Cedar, cypress and redwood naturally resist rot, while other types of wood need to be chemically treated.

Railroad Ties

Treated Timbers

Wood Bender Board

Design Trends: Indoor-Outdoor tiles

With the line between indoors and outdoors so fuzzy, the demand for high-design tile that can go outside is more than ever before. That’s because tile delivers unmatched durability. It’s resistant to moisture, mold, lichen, and moss. The bugs leave it alone for the most part. And it’s resistant to UV damage.

On top of that, you can get it in wood and stone looks that invite the luxury of the indoor space to your outdoor party!  Wood-look plank tile suitable for the outdoors are especially trendy. It stands up to extreme temperatures and won’t crack in dry climates or rot in wet climates like wood decking might.

New age porcelain pavers are large, stylish, and durable—you could even put them on the driveway if you wanted to. The beauty of these pavers is that they can be used in so many ways. They can be placed in gravel, grass, or sand like traditional pavers.

At Patagonia Building Supplies we have partnered with Belgard Hardscapes to introduce a beautiful and affordable line of Porcelain Pavers.  To see their unique selection visit: http://www.belgard.com/products/porcelain_pavers

These pavers come in authentic stone looks for an upscale element in your design. Watch for more design options available in pavers very soon, such as wood-look and upscale concrete looks.

The biggest trend in indoor/outdoor tile products in 2017 will be 2cm pavers. This is about twice the thickness of regular tile. These large, thick pavers already come in several stone-looks and keep your eyes open for more option coming on the market soon. Wood, stone, and sophisticated cement interpretations will be popular in the kitchen and moving out onto the patio. This can be installed directly on gravel, sand, or dirt.

A big advantage of these 20mm thick porcelain stoneware is driving another new trend within the outdoor market. These thick tiles can be laid on grass, gravel and sand using either dry installation (no mortar) or in the traditional way with mortar.

These gorgeous ceramic tiles are designed with ‘warm’ wood like patterns and ‘colder’ modern stone motifs, which is great for decorating. But their technical performance is what’s really amazing. They are non-absorbent so they won’t stain, and when exposed to sunlight, they won’t alter in color over time. They are resistant to frost and thermal shock, mold, stains and salt. They are very easy to clean and are non-slip, even when wet. In addition, special trims are available for pool edges and drainage grids.

All of the above makes these super strong and decorative tiles perfect for garden paths, walkways, summer terraces, driveways, patios, poolside, and any exterior floor application in general and for outdoor spaces with heavy traffic in particular.

 

Landscaping Trends: Permeable Pavers

An excellent option for homeowners concerned with sustainability and water conservation are permeable pavers.  Permeable pavers allow water to pass through small openings and re-enter the ground water. There are a variety of permeable materials that offer the best of both worlds: a porous patio or driveway surface that is also very attractive.

Permeable Paver Benefits:

  • Manage storm-water
  • Prevent runoff and pollution
  • Replenish the groundwater supply
  • Many unique permeable design options

Permeable paving is not a new concept – hundreds, possibly even thousands of years ago, people were making roads and paths by setting stones in sand. Many of these ancient creations have survived to present day, proving that permeable pavements are strong and durable. However, during the 20th Century’s rapid development impervious pavements became the norm.

With the recent push towards sustainability and the concern over the water supply eco-minded people have begun to challenge this norm. Many homeowners are looking to create sustainable landscapes and permeable paving helps achieve that goal. In fact as an incentive, many cities, especially here in California, are offering sustainable landscaping rebates. As we hear about water shortages and increased levels of pollution, the benefits of installing a patio, path or driveway that allows rainwater to filter through to the earth below are very appealing.

Paving stones are very popular landscaping elements. They are versatile and can be used in almost any outdoor setting. You can choose between stone, brick and concrete pavers and they all are strong and durable too.

Today, people are becoming very environment conscious and when they get any home improvement or landscaping work done; they look for environment friendly solutions that will also benefit their landscaping. In this respect permeable pavers are an excellent option.

What Are They?

  • They are made from a mix of sustainable building materials
  • They have a base & a sub-base, both of which allow runoff water to seep through into the ground underneath
  • When you use only normal pavers or have concrete outdoor flooring, the water is unable to seep through and it just gets diverted towards the storm water drains which is nothing but a waste of water
  • Contrastingly, this porous paving permits rain water and the water that you hose onto it, into the ground
  • This helps replenish the levels of ground water
  • These paving stones also filter the dust and pollutants from the water and there is no contamination of the groundwater
  • Today, these installations are becoming popular on residential and commercial properties

Who do we sell?

Every major paver manufacturer makes a line of permeable pavers.  We work with:

 

7 Uses for Gravel and River Rock

 

Not only does gravel have many shades, but it has many uses. It’s a budget-friendly and versatile paving material that will meet many of your landscaping, drainage or pathway needs. More often than not, the main decision isn’t what color of gravel to choose – it’s what size to use. That’s because not all gravel is created equal. The size that you would use for a walkway isn’t necessarily the best option for a rock garden. When you consider how much foot traffic the area will receive, then selecting the right size of gravel doesn’t have to be challenging.


1. Mulch substitute. 
Gravel is an effective mulch for plants because it helps prevent evaporation from the soil surface and, unlike wood mulch, isn’t prone to moving because of wind. Gravel that is 1/4 inch or smaller in diameter is moved more easily than larger gravel, so opt for medium-size gravel for flowerbeds and around trees.

An all-purpose gravel that is 3/8 inch in diameter works best for mulch around plants. Smooth gravel has a more decorative appearance than rough, angular gravel when used as mulch, but rough gravel may stay in place better.

Almost any size of gravel can be used in a rock garden because they don’t tend to have heavy foot traffic, and so the gravel merely serves as decoration. Large gravel is often the best choice because it stands well against boulders and other large rocks that may be in the rock garden. Try 1- to 1 ½-inch-diameter gravel as the top dressing in a rock garden. Smooth gravel made from river rock with rounded edges can give the area a more decorative appearance.

2. Drainage and Errosion Control. Use gravel in the bottom of flower pots to create a drainage foundation for flowers. In the absence of a gutter on the home, many people like to use a crushed stone drip edge to keep the storm water roof run-off from splashing dirt on their home siding.

Not to be confused with crushed base, crushed stone is a free-draining aggregate that is crushed down to three-quarter inch or 1 ½ inch. Crushed granite stone is processed from blasted granite ledge, so it is the most economical solution for drainage. Three-quarter inch is the most popular size used for drip edges along foundations or drainage behind retaining walls.

Shore up areas in the landscape at risk for soil erosion with gravel. Place beneath or around house drain pipes to prevent soil erosion in this location. Spread at the bottom of hills on your property as well as areas such as embankments.


3. Patio Base. 
The best gravel for using underneath a brick patio or concrete block retaining wall is often referred to as “processed gravel” “crushed base” or “bank run gravel.” This type of gravel has a mixture of fines that aid in compaction. It may look like sand with rocks in it. A crushed stone material like stone dust has too many fines. It’s not the “stone” in stone dust, but rather the “dust” that is a problem with frost. Fines hold water and expand when frost leaves the ground in spring time. Crushed base has fines in it, but any particles that are too fine had been removed with a sieve.


4. Walkways. 
Choosing the right gravel size for garden paths or walkways can make a significant difference in how comfortable they are to walk. The smaller or finer gravel is, the softer it is under foot, which is particularly important if you plan to walk on it in bare feet.

Opt for gravel that is 1/4 inch or smaller in diameter for the most comfortable walking surface. You’ll want to choose gravel that has a smooth texture, too, because rounded edges are less likely than sharp ones to hurt underfoot.


5. Driveways. 
Gravel can be used for driveway creation purposes regardless of size. It can be crushed and used in a concrete mixture, providing some traction to the drive. And it can be laid as is, regardless of size, onto a wide path of your property as a loose drive material. The many colors available in this drive paving substance (white, beige, brown, gray) provide ample variety choices when it comes to matching the drive with your home and landscaping colors.

A driveway requires a few layers of gravel to provide enough stability for vehicles. Start with a layer of stones that are about the size of baseballs or softballs, typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Next, install a layer of 2- to 3-inch-diameter stones. The driveway’s top dressing should consist of 3/8-inch-diameter gravel. Opt for crushed, man-made rock gravel because its pieces bind together well, increasing stability.

6. Landscaping Uses. Gravel can be used to make a flower garden border, used as filler on a path around large stepping stones, or as a pea or other gravel-sized walkway path between your home and your flower garden. With various sizes of gravel and colors available it can serve many uses in the landscape, including as a background for a rock garden containing boulders and other types and sizes of rocks.

Before you purchase gravel you will need to know how much you need for the area to be landscaped, and that means you need three dimensional measurements before you can do that. [See our Cubic Yards Calculator]

7.  Accents. Gravel can be a good substitute for bark mulch. It absorbs the heat of the sun keeps the soil cool and moist throughout the summer, while weeds pull up fairly easily through gravel. One disadvantage of an aggregate-type of stone, however, is the sharp edges. River stone is the best choice for garden pathways in planting beds. Sifted down to an inch and a half, this naturally rounded stone is heavy enough to stay put, but is easy underfoot and gentle to the stems of plants. If you are putting in a Koi pond or similar type of water feature, river stone is the natural choice.