No element in the hardscape industry can beat the popularity of pavers. Their versatility and durability have made them the number one choice for the most varied projects. Today, we want to talk about a specific category of pavers and present a quick guide on a tumbled paver patio.
We want to tackle what are the pros and cons of it, the projects they are recommended for, and how you can start thinking about incorporating them into your own.
So let’s get right into it, beginning by discussing what exactly tumbled pavers consist of.
Tumbled Paver Patio: What are Tumbled Pavers?
It is easier to explain what tumbled pavers are in comparison to smooth pavers.
Pavers, quite simply put, are blocks of a specific material (concrete, brick, porcelain, or natural stone) that undergo a specific manufacturing process.
Most of them come out of this manufacturing process with a very smooth surface, what we call a honed finish. And they have their own applications when in that form.
However, you can make them go through an extra step, where they are left inside a machine that tumbles them around (that’s where the name comes from) and grind them against each other.
Alongside the pavers is added water and abrasive git to avoid any serious damage, but the idea is that you actually damage the surface of the pavers a little, creating a warned-out, old-style look on their corners.
Advantages of Tumbled Pavers
It might sound strange to actually damage the pavers, but there are many benefits in doing so. Think of it as “testing them in battle”. Once they are left, they are ready to withstand even the most severe scenarios.
- Easy maintenance, easy installation
To be fair, that can be said of any paver. Pavers are wonderful hardscape elements that fit almost any project and are simple to clean.
- Old-style look
This might sound simply like an aesthetic aspect, but in truth, there’s a longevity argument to it. By going with honed pavers, you’ll eventually lose the shiny appearance they come with. Just to be clear, that might take decades, but it is a fact.
Conversely, tumbled pavers come “old” from fabric, so they are not going to lose their appearance as time goes by. This gives them the potential to last for generations before having to be replaced.
This can be a big deal, especially for poolside installations or paver patios that are going to be frequented by kids or elderly people.
What does being weather-resistant even mean when it comes to pavers? Well, all weather effects have the potential to damage pavers. Rain, extreme heat, extreme cold, humidity – all of these can be a big problem for some pavers.
But tumbled pavers are prepared to resist extreme conditions much better. With the help of a good sealer, they can resist floods and even the most severe freeze-thaw cycles.
Again, that can be said for all pavers but tumbled pavers are even better at that. They can fit in virtually any hardscape project imaginable with ease.
Tumbled Paver Patio Installation
The installation of tumbled pavers goes exactly like any other.
First, you’re going to dig a hole with a depth equal to the height of your pavers of choice, plus 6 inches – for pedestrian walkways – or 12 inches – for driveways.
Be mindful of the slope during your excavation. To every 8 feet of distance, you need to lower your depth by 1 inch.
Once you’re done, cover the hole with geotextile fabric. Now, if you’re doing a pedestrian installation, you’ll want to add 5 inches of road base and a 1-inch layer of sand base. For a driveway, 11 inches of road base and the same 1-inch layer of sand.
Compact the road base very well before adding the sand layer – preferably with the help of a plate compactor. After that, you can add the sand.
To do that, you’re going to need two 1-inch pipes and a 2×4. The pipes are going to serve as a “rail” that you’ll use to screed the sand. Place them parallel to each other with enough distance so you can place the 2×4 on top of them.
Divide the installation into small sections, pour the sand on top and around the pipes, and slide the 2×4 on top of the pipes, leveling the sand as you go.
Once your sand layer is done, you can start placing your tumbled pavers using the click-and-drop method. Simply lower them as close as possible to the sand, until they click on the other pavers, and drop them. Never shift them around once they are settled.
Once you have placed all your pavers, the installation of your tumbled paver patio will be complete.
Tumbled Paver Patio Maintenance
Pavers are really easy to clean and maintain. A simple sweep every now and then to keep them free from debris is more than enough. If you start having problems with weeds or mildew, a simple wash with a pressure washer can clean it up nicely – but be mindful, considering that enough force can damage their surface.
The only thing you need to pay more attention to is the sealing part. There are two types of sealers on the market: topic and penetrating.
Topic sealers are the ones who create a protective film on top of the pavers, whereas the penetrating ones act on the inside, leaving no film on top.
Usually, the ones you want for your tumbled pavers are the penetrating ones. The reason for it is that they don’t alter the texture of the pavers, which is one of the reasons you go for tumbled pavers in the first place.
Professional Help With Tumbled Pavers
Both installation and sealing may seem simple – but can get really tricky. Each installation is unique and some adaptations need to be done on the fly. That’s why we always recommend asking for professional help before reaching any decision.
In that regard, professional hardscape contractors can help you decide what are the best pavers for your project and go over the installation and maintenance of it, including sealing and pressure washing.
We here at SS Pavers have been offering this kind of service around the Sarasota and Manatee counties, in Florida, for the past 12 years, so we know how important it is to have a professional at your side.
Find a contractor in your area whom you can trust to help you with your project! And if you happen to be around our area, why not give us a call?