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Common Paving Terms
For most of us, the world of skilled tradesmen and women is a completely foreign entity. And while we may, or may not, be able to fake our way through a conversation with a carpenter, paving professionals are another story altogether. Asphalt, cement and other paving materials are something most of us have worked with a lot. So when it's time for a new driveway or flagstone slab walkway, we call in the professionals. But before you call in a paving company or landscape firm to put in a garden path, patio or driveway, go ahead and familiarize yourself with some of these common paving terms.
Asphalt - We've all seen asphalt, but what is it really? Technically, it's a petroleum based binder that holds together small stones that make up pavement.
Bedding Sand - Before landscapers lay down materials like cobble stone or flagstone slabs, they first put down a layer of bedding sand to help keep it securely in place.
Cement - Is a binding agent that hardens and holds together materials known as aggregates. When cement is combined with aggregates such as sand or rock, it then becomes concrete.
Clay - Wet soil that hardens in sunlight or heat. Not to be confused with concrete or cement. It's usually a natural reddish color, but can be dyed or painted in a variety of shades.
Flagstone - This term doesn't refer to a type of rock, but rather to rock that comes in large, flat slabs. The rock itself could be anything, but is usually reddish sandstone.
In order to pave a driveway, roadway, patio, or parking lot, you need the right paving materials. These can vary from job to job, depending on the purposes and wishes of the client. Paving contractors are the professionals who can provide this service. Often boasting masonry and construction backgrounds, these contractors can provide paving using asphalt, cobblestone, concrete, and gravel.
They purchase a variety of paving materials such as cement, brick, and wood from wholesalers and home improvement retailers that specialize in these materials. Contractors can buy in bulk to save some money from a wholesale company, or homeowners can pick up just enough from a retailer to complete their project.
You can get really creative with pavement, such as decorative brickwork or stone for a patio. Landscapers are also skilled in this area, especially when it comes to smaller scale decorative projects, such as pavement around a garden or walkway area. Some paving materials are ideal for industrial or commercial use, such as blacktop pavement for parking lots, while other materials, such as cobblestone, are ideal for residential areas like patio pathways.
Costs of supplies and equipment vary by material. Gravel and crushed rock, for example, are much cheaper than natural stone or decorative bricks. The price also goes up for odd-shaped products, such as oval bricks or diamond shaped paving stones, as well as ornamental metals and ceramics.
Asphalt pavement is a popular choice for roads and driveways. This mixture of asphalt and crushed gravel offers a smooth driving surface that holds the weight well. Over time, of course, it can become warped and chipped, making way for potholes and other unsightly and dangerous conditions. In this case, repairs can be made without repaving, such as using concrete patching, blacktop, and asphalt crack filler.