Jan 26, 2014

Brick Pavers Repair, Restoration, Cleaning & Sealing, and Maintenance Programs for 2014

Canton, Plymouth, Northville, and Ann Arbor lead the way in requests for brick paver repairs & restorations 

This past 2013 year, brick pavers and retaining wall repairs, restorations, cleanings, sealings, and maintenance programs gained a lot of ground in the industry.  A growing area for overall brick paver restorations is the Canton, Plymouth, Northville, and Ann Arbor areas.

Due to the booming growth in the 90's for these communities, they experienced the unprecedented installation of brick pavers and retaining walls in there landscape projects.  Now 20 yrs later, the life of these brick paver installations have come full circle.  Lack of maintenance and neglect will greatly reduce the shelf life of any pavement in Michigan.

Poor installations by unqualified landscapers and lack of educating the homeowner of seasonal maintenance requirements greatly contributed to the failure of many paver patios, walks, steps, and driveway installations. The great home foreclosure period we experienced also contributed to the added neglect of paver installations that basically where left for dead.


As the economy slowly improves and job security is more prevalent in these once booming communities, homeowners have focused their attention on restoring their brick pavers.  Whether it is due to appearance or safety issues, homeowners are contacting an experienced and specialized brick paver company. Homeowners want to resurrect their once functional and desirable outdoor living space.


 
Canton, Plymouth, Northville, and Ann Arbor are regaining ground lost from the past 10 yrs. The increased requests for repair and restoration for a homeowners brick pavers has mirrored this stable growth in 2013.  Re-creating that beautiful paver installation you once enjoyed is a feasible possibility if you hire the right  brick pavers contractor for the job! 



Apr 29, 2013

Simple Repair & Cleaning of Brick Pavers Patio and Walk in Plymouth, MI

Repairs, Cleaning, Sealing, and Maintenance of Brick Pavers is on fire!


This past week we performed a simple restoration of a brick paver patio and walkway in Plymouth, MI.  This is our most common brick paver service: simple touch-up repairs of sunken or lifted pavers, cleaning of the paving stones and paver joints, re-sanding of the paver joints, and re-gluing or loose block wall or step caps .  Some customers will elect to have sealing of their paver installations but this is completely optional.

This paver patio and walkway was installed about 12 years ago and this was the first attention it received.  The cost for our service on this particular raised paver patio and walk was $1,150.  This price did NOT include sealing with an approved brick paver sealant. Had this customer elected to seal this paver patio & walk, it would have been an additional $400.

All paver restoration jobs are priced custom and require different services and costs.  Repairs are the biggest variable when pricing restoration projects. Paver Step repair or patio wall blocks & caps are usually the most expensive repair to perform.

Cleaning & Sanding is very reasonable when performed during repairs.  The current condition of the paver surface & joints determines the overall cleaning cost.  Sealing is always optional and our costs includes using the "right" paver sealants that run approx. $175/ 5 gallon drum.  Many pseudo contractors are using imitation or the wrong sealers for high density concrete pavers.  I can not tell you how many times customers call me when things go wrong with sealing from other contractors or themselves.

Simple paver patio restorations can bring back the life of your outdoor living space.  Hiring a qualified brick paver contractor, not a landscaper or handy man service, is the first step in getting a quality job done.  The next step is being diligent and not neglecting your brick pavers.

Apr 25, 2013

Brick Paver Patio Repair & Redesign in Canton, MI

One of our biggest request this year from homeowners who seek repairs to their brick pavers patios is to redesign the patio to be more functional.  In the past, multi-level raised paver patios were designed with aesthetics in mind but not always functionality.

This brick paver patio in Canton, MI needed some extensive repair to it's settling wall block & cap retaining wall and sunken brick pavers.  The homeowner was also frustrated with the design because it functioned like 2 small patios instead of one large one.  After placing their patio furniture and outdoor accents, they found flow of traffic very difficult.  When entertaining friends & family, most people had to
co-mingle in the yard.

My recommendation was for us to raise the lower ground level area of the paver patio to the raised or elevated portion.  We re-used most of the current paver products and obtained additional wall blocks, caps, and some more paving stones to complete this redesign.

Repairs and releveling was performed to the elevated portion of this paver patio and the new raised patio area was made flush to create one larger and functional outdoor living space.  The homeowner was very happy with the final product and immediately ordered some new patio furniture so they could entertain and enjoy Summer sunsets.

One of the major advantages of brick pavers is it's versatility and opportunity to make changes or repairs without any obvious signs or flaws.

Apr 11, 2013

Elevated Brick Pavers Patio & Steps are Rebuilt

This week we performed a total rebuild of a highly elevated brick pavers patio and steps that had severely settled.  The landscape contractor that installed this pavers patio 3 years ago would not address their original warranty period.  After 2 years of frustration & safety issues, the customer contacted us to help them.



The outside paver block retaining walls had drastically settled and pitched back to the home.  The paver
steps coming out the doorwall and leading down to the yard off the paver patio were crumbling and loose.  The brick pavers on top had sunk almost 3 inches below the height
of the retaining wall caps.  This paver structure was eroding fast and after this years winter frost, it was in threat of collapsing.


The only solution in this paver repair situation was to totally rebuild the structure.  There was no feasible way
to "band aid" this poorly installed brick paver patio.  I assured the homeowner that we will re-install this raised paver patio & steps in a stronger and better appearance than the original installation.



We completely tore down the outside paver block & cap walls to the ground.  We re-installed the retaining walls with a slight pitch from the house on recompacted base.  The wall caps where re-cut and adhered with the proper adhesion.  The paver steps were more of a challenge but we completely rebuilt them too.  The final step was to remove the brick pavers (surface).  The existing base was recompacted, additional base was added, and the existing brick pavers were reinstalled properly and at the right height.

When the customer returned the last day to see their paver patio and steps repaired, it ended 2 years of disappointment and frustration.  They commented that it looked better and cleaner than the original installation and they looked forward to entertaining this coming Summer.  Another successful Brick Doctor Bill brick paver restoration!


Mar 16, 2013

3, 2, 1, ...Let's GO! Brick Paver Repairs

As Michigan flutters between Winter & Spring this week, the rush by homeowners to begin there Spring projects is ready to explode.  The anticipation of Winter ground frost exiting the earth is teasing and slow this March in Southeast Michigan.  Once it is clear, the seasonal madness of brick paver repair, installation, cleaning & sealing, and maintenance will begin!

Each day the weather is warm or sunny, my phone line is busy.  Each day the weather is snowy & gray, my leads come to a halt!  The reality is that Spring is coming soon and to wait will only delay a homeowner's time frame for having their brick paver restoration project completed.

Many proactive homeowners have contacted or contracted with us since late January to insure an April or May completion of work.  The position on the calendar is more important than the current weather outside.  Spring will come fast! 

From 0 to 60 we will be in full brick paver production in a few weeks.  As always, if you require some type of brick paver repair or installation services, hire a qualified and reputable brick paver contractor over an inexperienced landscape contractor or handy man service.  See you soon!

Feb 8, 2013

Brick Paver Manufacturers I use in Southeast Michigan

Using a high quality Paving Stone or Paver Block is essential to maximum results

For over 30 years now, I have been using and recommending two major brick paver manufacturers in Southeast Michigan.  The first is FENDT Builders Supply which is headquartered in Farmington Hills, MI.  The second is North America's largest brick paver manufacturer - UNILOCK.  UNILOCK has a manufacturer plant in Brighton, MI.

FENDT Builders Supply is a local Michigan company that has over 80 years of experience & knowledge. Offering a wide spectrum of concrete paver products, tools, accessories, and support, FENDT has positioned themselves as a supplier of affordable, quality & attractive paving stones and modular retaining wall systems.


UNILOCK is an international brick paving manufacturer that has lead the innovation & production of brick pavers and modular retaining wall systems in North America.  UNILOCK has positioned themselves to offer a full pricing range of low cost to high end products.


My commitment to these two quality manufactures arises from their wide range of products, colors, shapes, textures, warranties, and availability offered.  Unlike paving stones offered at big box home improvement stores, FENDT & UNILOCK offer many outlets for obtaining their products.  They also maintain an adequate inventory of products and allow for purchase directly at their manufacturing plants.

There are other good brick paver manufacturers that produce here in Michigan or ship into the State, but their availability and sufficient stock of inventory usually is lacking. All my bidding & design utilizes FENDT or UNILOCK products. My crew and myself are very familiar with the possibilities and limitations of these products.

My 30 years experience with these companies has allowed me to witness their commitment to guaranteeing their respective products.  If it is not right, they will replace their products.  Both manufacturers have a Sales & Service representative structure that will advise & train contractor or homeowner alike.

When bidding a paver project, I usually do not favor any one manufacturer over the other.  I evaluate the homeowner's need and budget before recommending which products, colors, textures, etc..  should be proposed.  I am confident in the quality & performance of both paver manufacturer's products so the overall project design, color, and paver shape will determine which manufacturer will be recommended.




Jan 26, 2013

How Deep Freeze effects Brick Pavers

Brick Pavers are designed to withstand the effects of Winter Freeze Thaw Cycles


As a deep freeze comes over Ann Arbor, it reminds me of the advantages that Interlocking Brick Pavers offer.  All pavements are tested this time of year.  The expansion of the subgrade and actual paverment materials will test the strength of concrete, asphalt, and pavers.

When we are talking about Winter Frost, we are not talking about frost on your car windshields or frost on the lawn. We are referring to the actually freezing of the ground or soil below.  In Ann Arbor, MI, it is typical for the ground or soil below to freeze on average of 3ft deep in a normal Winter. 

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) defines "Winter Frost" or "Frost Action" as the "freezing and thawing of moisture in pavement materials and resultant effects on them".  Northern United States, Canada, and most of Northern Europe experience the devastating effects of Winter freeze thaw cycles.

The ICPI defines "Frost Heave" as the "raising of a pavement surface due to the accumulation and expansion of ice in the underlying soil or rock".  Heaving or "humping up" of pavement or pavement slabs is a common occurrence.  I see slabs of concrete lift making lips or toe catchers at cracks or relief cuts.  Asphalt or brick pavers will stretch or hump up creating a pimple like bump or pot hole.

Brick pavers have always offered the best performance to the effects of Winter Frost.  First, brick pavers offer the best Freeze Thaw durability testing.  Pavers have the least absorption rate of moisture when totally immersed in water.  Second, the installation of brick pavers requires the most stringent use of base materials below.  Normal poured concrete and asphalt installations require only a fraction of the use of base materials that brick pavers specify.



The biggest advantage of interlocking brick pavers is the low cost of repairs compared to the other pavements. By properly designing, installing, and maintaining a brick paver project, an experienced brick paver contractor can increase your long-term success and performance of your pavers.

Winter Frost or Mother Nature can NOT be totally defeated.  There is no thing as a "permanent" solution.  Every pavement has a life cycle and brick pavers is your best option. Brick pavers can easily be restored at a nominal cost.  The advantage of re-using the paving stones offers the unique advantage that poured concrete, stamped concrete, or asphalt can't offer.


Jan 5, 2013

Snow Removal for Brick Pavers

Brick Paver Driveways, Walkways, Front Entrances, Parking areas, and Porches

As snow begins to fall here this Winter in Ann Arbor, it reminds me of one of the popular questions asked by homeowners..."can I use my snow blower or have my brick pavers driveway plowed?"  The answer is Yes.  Brick Pavers can be treated like any other pavement.

Most brick pavers have beveled or angled edges that help create a continuance smooth surface.  Any pavers that are lifted or sticking up prior to Winter should be repaired.  You want to avoid any "lippage" which is the occurrence of paver edges sticking up from another paver.  This "lip" can be caught by shovels, snow blowers, and snow plows.  Lippage also occurs with cement slab cracks & relief joints and cracks & large ruts in asphalt.  Due to Winter ground frost, the occurrence of any lifting can not be avoided.

Below are some key items to help you avoid any damage or scarring to your brick pavers, stamped or textured concrete and stamped asphalt. 

Home snow blowers usually do not damage any pavement surfaces.  The smaller ones usually have rubber paddles to avoid scarring or scratches.  The larger snow blowers with "auger like" rotating blades are usually design to avoid any scarring or gouging. Make sure you consult with the dealer that you purchase these snow blowers from to insure they do not damage surfaces. So, snow blowing or shoveling brick pavers is usually of no concern.

Snow plowing of brick paver driveways, lots, street scapes,or parking areas may require some more special attention.  Snow plowing blades that are metal can scratch, gouge, chip, or damage brick pavers. A common issue is leaving some rust stains too. This is no different that what these blades can do to cement, stamped concrete, asphalt, etc.. . No plowing contractor can guarantee that signs of plowing will not occur.

There are a couple of solutions that can minimize if not avoid any signs of damage or scratching to your brick pavers. Keep in mind that these options are not always readily available from snow plowing contractors.  In most cases, these options will cost you alittle more in expense.

The first solution is to hire a plowing contractor that will use a rubber or polyurethane blade on their plow.  Rubber blades easily adjust to irregular road surfaces & pavement without scarring, gouging, or leaving rust stains.  Polyurethane blades which are commonly used at airports is resilient, and therefore absorbs impacts and conforms to the surface being plowed rather than damaging the plowing surface, making it the ideal choice for use on concrete, brick, pavers, cobblestone, or any other uneven surface.


The second solution is to hire a plowing contractor that will use a skidsteer (tractor) or truck with a large rotating broom or brush.  Though this practice is more common in commercial or municipal applications, most plowing contractors do have this type of equipment.  The one negative to this option is that the plowing process must be done with less inches of snow fall.  So in turn, you may have to pay for more "plowings" than the standard truck snow plowing.  Also, in residential applications, the skidsteer or tractor will need to be trailed over each time adding to the cost.

In conclusion, brick pavers can be treated much like other pavement surfaces.  If you are concerned with any unnecessary damages or scars, then pursue the options above.  Keep in mind that one of the biggest advantages of brick pavers over concrete, stamped concrete, and asphalt is that any individual pavers that are damaged can easily be replaced with no signs of repair or replacement. 




Dec 11, 2012

The "Interlock" in Interlocking Brick Pavers

High Density Concrete Paving Stones were developed to achieve proper Interlock

Brick pavers made from high density concrete have been a popular paving option for almost 35 years in the United States.  Pavers were first widely used as walkways or paths.  They quickly evolved into functional and aesthetically pleasing patios.  As pavers have matured in the market place, the use of residential driveways and municipal city scapes & parks have grown exponentially.

Today, I am still amazed how many homeowners and even contractors, do not understand how interlocking brick pavers work.  Often I go on estimates where homeowners do not believe they actually have interlocking brick pavers, when in fact they do.

 Most homeowners believe that the only interlocking brick paver is the one that are key shaped or has several angled sides.  They believe that they lock together like a jig saw puzzle piece. The most popular shape for brick paver installations is the traditional 4" by 8" rectangle shape.  Laid in a herringbone pattern offers the best performing interlock or lock-up.

The simple truth is that the "Interlocking"of brick pavers is achieved by the method they are installed.  Below is a definition of "Interlock" described by the Intelocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI):
"Frictional forces between paving units that prevent them from rotating, or moving horizontally or vertically in relation to each other, also defined as the inability of a concrete paver to move independently of it neighbors.  The friction forces enable load transfer among the paving units." 
 "The three kinds of load transfer are vertical interlock, horizontal interlock, and rotational interlock.  Vertical interlock is achieved by shear transfer of loads to surrounding units through sand in the joints. Horizontal interlock is primarily achieved through the use of laying patterns that disperse forces from braking and accelerating vehicles.  Rotational interlock  is maintained by the pavers being of sufficient thickness & density, placed closely together, and being restrained by a stationary edge restraint on the borders."
  To achieve the above  interlock or lock-up needed for a high performing paving stone pavement, the method of installing brick pavers is essential. It is the installation process that achieves interlock. Without boring you with all the minor installation details, below explains how we accomplish the three "Interlock" load transfers with brick pavers.

First you install a compacted crushed stone base to the proper specifications recommended  for the particular paver installation  (patio, walk, driveway, etc..).  A strong base will aid in Vertical interlock by transfering "load" back to the paver units.  A strong base will keep the paver units from settling or sinking into the ground and allow the paver units to spread the load between them.

Second you install a sand bedding or leveling course by spreading it over the compacted base approx. 1-1.5" thick.  You will then "screed" (level) the bedding course with the proper heights & pitch that is needed for the final product. You will then lay the paver units over the bedding course in the design & laying pattern determined. After all cut ins are complete and the edge restraint is installed, joint sand will be swept into the joints.

Then the most important step in installing brick pavers will be performed.  You will run the power plate compactor over the paver units in several passes and angles.  Here is where Horizontal interlock occurs.  As the power plate compactor runs over the pavers units, if vibrates several pavers down at the same time.  As the paver units are pushed down into the bedding course..."Jet up" or lock-up of the pavers will occur.  This locks the brick pavers horizontally keeping them from shifting side-to-side.


The final step is to finish sweep all the paver joints with more joint sand.  Rotational interlock is accomplished by butting pavers up to each other, not leaving an excessive gap between each paver units.  This will avoid any "rocking" back and forth of an individual paver unit.  It is also accomplished in the planning stage of selecting the proper thickness, laying pattern, and density of pavers. Specifying the proper paver unit , design, & laying pattern for the particular application is essential.

In summary, the shape of your brick paver unit does not exclude it from the interlocking brick paver application.  The methods of installation will allow any shape or composition (clay, concrete, rubber, asphalt) of pavers to "interlock" into place.


Nov 27, 2012

New Brick Paver Step Replaces Old Concrete Step at Porch

Paver steps are becoming the best replacement option of old concrete steps

The most popular request asked of me is an estimate to replace old & deteriorated concrete steps with paver steps Paver steps have become the most requested option for new patio or front porch steps.  The trend for this application is growing rapidly each year and many feasible options are available.

The past week in Ann Arbor, I was asked to replace an old pre-fab concrete step that was cracking and did not offer a safe transfer from the top of the porch to the existing concrete walkway. Being that the existing front porch was small, this created an unsafe issue when the front door was opened.  Guests or visitors had to step back onto the unsafe pre-fab step to allow the door to completely open.  The homeowner had had enough when a trick-or-treated fell off the porch this past Halloween.

The first objective was to create the proper rise (step down) to the new step and create a safe landing to step onto. I designed the new brick paver step to be 2ft out from the porch and also across the total length of the porch to allow for a safe landing to stand on.  The rises (step downs) from the porch onto the step and from the step down to the walkway needed to be within code.

The second objective was to have a decorative and attractive appearance to enhance the curb appeal of the home.  With out sacrificing function, this objective was easily achieved with the advantages & flexibility of brick pavers and modular retaining wall blocks & caps.  Being a traditional home, we used traditional paver shapes & colors to match the home.

I discussed with the homeowner in the original estimate about replacing the front cement walkway with new brick pavers.  Due to their budget, the new paver step was their first priority.  The new paver walkway will be installed in 2013 so they can budget for the expense.

To install the new paver step, we needed to saw cut the first pad of the concrete walk to properly set the new size & heights.  The pre-fab concrete step easily slid away and we dispose of it properly.  We needed to make sure we removed enough of the first slab of concrete to allow for a buffer row of brick pavers to allow for a proper height transition to the old cement walk.  This is not always necessary to do if riser heights are not an issue but since we will be returning next year to install a new paver walkway, we decided this was the best option at this time.

The end result of our design & installation was a very decorative, functional, and safe paver step that met all the objectives of the homeowner.  Once we install the new paver walkway to match this paver step, the curb appeal will be complete for this traditional home in Ann Arbor.  All brick paver step applications have unique & custom variables that determine the final design and installation.



Nov 2, 2012

Improvement to Brick Paver Porch Enhances Curb Appeal in Ann Arbor

Brick Paver Porches and Steps are becoming the new normal


Ahh..the dreaded traditional American Porch. The staple of most homes throughout the United States.  The most visible structure on homes that makes or breaks your overall home curb appeal.  In the last 15 years there has been a shift from the traditional mortared brick & concrete slab porches to the more popular flexible brick paver porch and steps.

Porches & Steps come in many different sizes, dimensions, heights, and materials.  But brick paver blocks, caps, & paving stone structures are offering the best long-term performance & maintenance cost.  Offering many different shapes, colors, textures, and cost options, brick paver porches and steps have been replacing the old traditional American staple. 

In an early post, I spelled out the different options for having a brick paver porch and steps installed at your home.  A qualified and experienced brick paver contractor will properly propose the best brick paver porch and step option that best meets your needs & budget.

This current porch project we did in Ann Arbor this past week not only improved the curb appeal appearance of this home, it drastically improved the overall performance of the porch.  The past installing contractor improperly mortared high density concrete pavers around the perimeter.  Not only was it unsightly, but the loose bricks had made it a trip hazard.  Over the last 5 years, the homeowner had to have these paving stones repaired twice.  It was now going to be the third time when they contacted me for a better option.


I had a very easy solution for them.  We would remove all of the top layer of brick pavers, install a paver block coping unit as the outside frame, and install new similar paving stones to replace the old weathered pavers.  This way the whole porch will have a new look at a reasonable price.

The homeowner was very pleased with the final restoration of their porch.  The new paver porch is structurally sound and safe.  It is important to hire an experienced contractor that considers the long-term ramifications of the products & design of their installations.  This homeowner had learned the hard way but now can relax and spend budgeted funds in other home improvement areas.

Oct 21, 2012

Brick Paver Patio Sealed in Ann Arbor

Sealing Brick Pavers should be performed by a Qualified & Experienced Contractor


We completed this Brick Paver Sealing of a paver patio in Ann Arbor this past week.  This paver patio was installed by another brick paver contractor only a year ago. The homeowner was frustrated with the original installing contractor because they had no interest in cleaning and sealing the patio they installed.

With a little prodding by the homeowner, the original installing contractor finally gave them a quote that was twice the cost of our quote.  The homeowner was fully aware that the contractor was not interested in performing this service and just tossed out a high quote.  We were here again to meet a homeowner's need at a very reasonable price!

 I see this all the time where a brick paver or landscape contractor is only interested in installing brick pavers and do not offer affordable & timely after services that homeowner's need.  Oh, they will do the job if you are willing to pay the high quote they throw out there! 

True brick paver contractors will not only give you a competitive quote, they will schedule your brick paver repairs, cleaning, sanding, sealing, etc.. like any other project.  They will also offer a seasonal maintenance program that will offer long-term performance and appearance of your brick pavers.  For homeowners on a tight budget, they will educate their clients on how to perform these paver maintenance services themselves.
 
This brick paver patio needed a general cleaning and the removal of one stained area in the middle.  The paver patio was re-sanded and we returned a day & half later when all was dry.  We carefully applied an approved brick paver sealant to this paver patio including the bordering sitting walls & pillars.

Fall is still a good time to clean & seal brick pavers.  Our pricing for these paver services are typically 15-20% cheaper than our Spring prices.  As long as temps are over 50 degrees, sealing pavers can be performed safely.  Other than budgeting for paver services, there is no advantage in waiting until Spring.


Oct 14, 2012

Severely Neglected Brick Paver Walkways are Restored

Homeowner was overwhelmed and gave up on Brick Pavers but we did not!


Upon my arrival to this bid, I really did not think the homeowner was serious in restoring these brick paver walkways since they had been severely neglected.  It is not the first time I have witnessed such disregard of maintaining brick pavers, but the extent of neglect was severe.



 The good news was that we can restore these paver walks to there original beauty & function.  The homeowner had doubts but I assured her that it may even look better than the day it was installed. Our goal is to bring back the homeowner's confidence for using brick pavers that they originally believed in.


The homeowner had maintained these walkways for many years, but over the past few years many personal situations became more priority.  The homeowner was unaware that any contractor offered a seasonal maintenance program for brick pavers.  Their past brick paver installer was not interested in addressing any paver repair or cleaning services. In fact, they never even got back with an estimate on restoring the current pavers.  This is where my crew and I stepped in and came to the rescue!


When brick pavers are in this condition, it is imperative that they be completely lifted up and re-installed.  The organic matter from the weeds, grass, and soils in the joints have to be completely removed.  We concluded that @60% of the brick paver walks on this job site needed complete re-installation.  The other stretches of pavers needed paver surface & joint cleaning, new joint sand, re-compaction, and touch-up repairs.

 We also removed all the raised plastic edge restraint and replaced with the tired-and-true hidden cement bead.  Michigan frost does a number on edge restraints and after 30 years, the hidden cement bead edge restraint has performed the best.  Also, it is the easiest & least costly to repair if needed .



The end result of this paver restoration project was total redemption for brick pavers!  The homeowner who has been strong through her challenging times, was very emotional about the results we achieved.  We will be returning next Spring to perform Phase 2 restoring a paver patio & additional paver walks.  At that time, we will perform our Spring maintenance service on the completed Phase 1.  The homeowner is pleased to know that we will be there to maintain for future years and she can avoid any costly restoration expenses.


Oct 7, 2012

Raised Paver Patio Repaired After Collapse

Elevated Brick Paver Patios need special attention to avoid expensive repairs


This Raised Brick Pavers Patio in Belleville, MI had a severe collapse of its outer retaining wall block & cap.  The brick pavers above sank and washed out making this patio virtually unusable and unsightly.  Finally, the wall blocks & caps fell over this Summer and this brick pavers patio was at a great risk of deteriorating further.

The homeowner noticed about a year after this pavers patio was installed by an inexperienced landscaper that the wall blocks & caps were leaning out.  The outer rows of brick pavers behind the wall caps had sunk lower than the height of the caps.  The homeowner ignored this sign of stress for the pavers patio and eventually he sits here today with a costly repair.

I pointed out to the homeowner that this particular wall block & cap system was not the proper retaining wall system for a raised pavers patio.  This particular wall block the landscaper used is for low height landscape or gardenwalls around the landscape to border beds or create accents.  When the correct modular retaining wall system is used and properly installed, raised pavers patios will give you the best economical performance over the years.

 For raised paver patios, a strong engineered modular retaining wall system must be implemented.   The cost to replace ALL the current wall blocks for a more sophisticated wall system was too cost inhibited for the homeowner so he elected to reconstruct the paver patio with the same products.   With low cost routine maintenance, he will save money then totally replacing the old wall blocks & caps.

My crew and I reconstructed the outside retaining wall for this patio from the ground up, compacting each layer as we go, and filling any voids.  The brick pavers above were pulled up a few feet into the patio and re-installed in the same shape & design.  The end result was a total revival of this homeowner's pavers patio!  We performed several other touch-up repairs to the patio, steps, and walk.  We also cleaned the pavers and re-sanded with new joint sand.

I took the time to explain to the homeowner that even though the landscaper made a huge miscalculation of  using this product, his own neglect to address the early signs of stress contributed to the severe condition and collapse of this pavers patio.  I explained that any time the outside row of pavings stones sink below the height of the wall cap, they must be reset to allow water to flow over the top of the caps, not behind and under them!

Sep 30, 2012

Brick Pavers Maintenance Tips to do this Fall

Simple Paver Maintenance tasks will insure long term performance


 Fall has arrived and as you begin to do your lawn & landscape pre-winter maintenance tasks, do not forget about your brick paver patio, walkway, porch, steps, driveway, etc.. .  There are some simple paver maintenance tasks that need to be performed in the Midwest before Winter.  If your prior brick paver contractor or landscaper did not properly educate you on these needs, I am here to help you.

 Here is an earlier article I posted regarding Winter Maintenance for Brick Pavers that will help insure endless years of beauty & function of your paver patios, walkways, and driveways.  After 29 years of experience, analysis, & visual feedback, I have spent more time educating my clients on paver maintenance requirements that in turn leads to the reduced need for added future paver repair services



I would like to expand on a couple of my paver maintenance tips from the earlier post so we can keep up with the ever evolving feedback I witness and receive back from clients.

The first piece of advice is to remove ALL items from your paver patio, walkway, etc.. that will stay stationary over the Winter.  This includes your patio table.  Each Spring I witness patios with 4 sunken pavers where each leg of the table meets the paving stones.  Just place your patio table in your landscape beds or lawn for the Winter. Do Not forget to remove the umbrella base too!  I am often asked about the grill since most people still use there's during the Winter months.  Just try to relocate (roll) slightly a few times during the winter so the legs & wheels do not stay on the same paving stones all Winter.

Second, touch up sweep any brick paver joints that lack joint sand going into the Winter.  We want to make sure that water during any rains or melt-off this Winter will flow over and off the pavers, not down into the joints.   If you have a raised paver patio with a modular wall block & cap on the outside perimeter, pay special attention to the joint between the outside brick paver and the block cap. This is the same for pavers inside block caps of paver steps and porches.

I am very passionate about the brick paver industry and I never install, repair, or restore a brick paver project with the intent to have to come back and repair.  My goal is to functionally create or bring back to life a paver patio, walkway, driveway, etc.. , educate the customer on maintenance needs they can easily perform themselves, and then be there when the customer needs our brick paver services.

Sep 23, 2012

Small Elegant Paver Patio Installed in Ann Arbor

Brick Pavers replace Old Concrete Patio to improve Outdoor Living Space


This past week in Ann Arbor, we replaced an old cement patio with a small and elegant paver patio using Fendt's Old World Vintage.  There was limited space to work with but using some "paver quilting" ideas with patterns & color, we were able to improve this homeowner's Outdoor Living Space.

Brick Pavers has always been the most flexible pavement available for using colors, patterns, shapes, & textures, at a reasonable and affordable cost.  Brick paver patios also offer the best option in long term maintenance & replacement costs.  Performing simple seasonal maintenance requirements like sweeping joint sand each Spring, will give a lifetime of performance, function, and enjoyment.

This homeowner wanted to keep the overall theme of Ann Arbor and their neighborhood by using a tumbled old world paver laid in a simple and elegant style.  A good brick pavers contractor will exhibit their expertise with attention to detail and clean craftsmanship.  We were able to meet these expectations with great impact!

Sep 18, 2012

Brick Pavers Walkway and Steps Restored

Curb Appeal is restored for home in Ann Arbor


Paver Walk before
We improved the curb appeal of this home in Ann Arbor this week by repairing, cleaning, and re-sanding the joints of this paver walkway and paver steps.  For years these brick pavers were neglected.  We were able to restore these pavers in a short day's worth of restoration.

Paver Walk after

At a nominal cost, we were able to bring a smile to the homeowner's face!  They had considered total replacement of this walkway & steps but I assured them that the best option was to restore the existing paver installation.



Paver Steps before
  Their only regret was that they waited too many years to have this restoration service performed.  The cost to restore their paver installations was much cheaper and rewarding then having them replaced with another product.

Paver Steps after
Upon completion, we educated the homeowner on what simple seasonal requirements are needed to avoid this total restoration in the future. We signed them up for our Spring maintenance program so they can enjoy the beauty and performance that interlocking brick pavers can offer.