Building and maintaining any type of pavement can be difficult in a climate that has extreme temperature swings from winter to summer. In the climate of much of Canada including Winnipeg, MB (where my company is located) there are major temperature swings any where from -40°C to +40°C and everywhere in between along with the freeze and thaw cycles can wreak havoc on all of our pavements. But there are a few ways to make sure that your paving project lasts a life time. Lets get into the main types of pavement that you would be considering for your project all have pros and cons.
We will start with the least expensive option, asphalt, and as you may have guessed with being the least expensive it is also the lowest quality. Asphalt is a mixture of dark bituminous pitch with sand or gravel which makes it rigid and flexible. when the ground heaves and contracts due to the changes in temperature asphalt does the same and begins to warp and crack.
The next is poured in place concrete. Concrete is middle of the road in terms of cost and durability. most concrete poured in residential applications has a rating of 3000 to 4000 PSI compressive strength. The problem with concrete though is in its tension strength. As the ground heaves and contracts it can leave voids under the slab as well as push on certain areas, this in turn causes the slab to crack and shift. As well the conditions under which the concrete is installed is very unpredictable and may not be ideal for the concrete to cure properly causing uncertain strength in the slab. Contractors try to limit the amount of cracking by cutting control joints in the slab but you can never be certain that the concrete will crack in these places. Another con to concrete is that it is very heavy as most driveways are poured at a minimum of 5 inches there is alot of weight being put on the ground. and thus causes the slab to sink as you can see in the picture above.
We will now look at pavingstone. Pavingstone can range in price from the price of concrete to double that of concrete . Depending on the style of the stone and your contractor. The pros far out way the cons of pavingstone. Quality, strength, and looks are all far beyond plain grey concrete. Pavingstone is manufactured under controlled conditions and then delivered to the construction site. This manufacturing process is important to the strength and durability of the pavers. The engineering involved in pavingstone has continued to develop stronger and stronger products over the years. Not only do precast concrete products have lifespans in excess of 100 years, precast concrete actually increases in strength over time, instead of deteriorating overtime, like most building materials. As well pavingstone comes in a variety of styles and colours. So although pavingstone may be more expensive at the onset it will end up lasting way longer than the alternatives and thus saving you money in the long run.
We will now look at into who to hire. The one big thing to keep in mind when hiring a contractor is that the most expensive price does not always guarantee the best quality job, but seeking the lowest price option will most certainly give you the lowest quality. When hiring a contractor look for references. With all the information that is online and at our fingertips finding a contractor with good references and reviews shouldn’t be a problem. If your contractor doesn’t have reviews online you could ask when they come to the estimate any contractor should be able to use their suppliers as a reference. Another good practice is too ask questions during the estimating process. Find out whats important to you in a contractor and ask questions accordingly.