Cement Bead versus Plastic Edge Restraint for Brick Pavers
About this time I had built a new home in Ann Arbor with a paver driveway, walkways, and multi level patios and I used all plastic edge restraints for my paver borders. Within 3 years, I completely removed ALL plastic edge restraints and replaced with cement bead.
The plastic edge restraint was properly installed per manufacturer's specifications, but winter frost in Michigan had eventually heaved this edge restraint above the height of the paving stones. This caused an unsightly appearance and was damming water back and from flowing off the brick pavers. Also, I had to pound down most of the spikes that had raised after the thaw each Spring. This appearance is much like black landscape edging you see raised above the grass and flops around and gets cut by lawnmowers. It becomes unsightly and nonfunctional.
When properly installed by a brick paver contractor, the cement bead wedge method of a brick pavers edge restraint will perform admirably. See the guidelines below to insure edge restraint success:
- The cement bead needs to be installed on top of the paver base material so it is crucial to remove the 1" bedding course outside of the paving stones. Remember this is why you prep for your pavers patios, walkways, driveways, etc.. a minimum of 4" outside the finished paver edges. This will insure the cement bead wedge grabs below the bottom of the paving stone and has the same drainage below as the brick pavers.
- The cement bead wedge needs to be @4" wide and come withing 1-1.5" of the top of the paving stones. This allows enough room to cover the cement bead with sod, mulch, or stone mulch.
- Properly trowel a good consistent and quality mix of concrete. Your concrete bead should not be runny and have a mud consistency. Trowel your cement bead wedge with a 4" spatula and make smooth.
- Install your cement bead wedge prior to final plate compactor compaction. This will allow for final adhesion to outside paving stones & paver joints.
- Finish covering your cement bead with surrounding landscaping (i.e. sod, mulch, or stone mulch). Preventing erosion around borders is crucial for all paver edge restraints.
After 12 years since the introduction of plastic and aluminum brick paver edge restraints, I have concluded that the cement bead is the better performing of the 2 methods based on appearance, repair & replacement.