Dear Angie: I'm interested in a paver-style driveway. What kind of company is typically the best to hire for this? — Thomas S., Seminole, Fla.
Dear Thomas: Paver driveways generally cost more than other types, but they can really boost your home's curb appeal. Your best bet is to hire a contractor that specializes in pavers, such as a paver design company.
Many landscape design, hardscaping and outdoor living companies install paver driveways. Focus on those with experience installing such driveways and have them provide pictures of recent projects.
Paver driveways offer many choices of paver shape, size, color and texture, including clay, brick, stone or cement. Also, pavers require little maintenance, aren't prone to cracking and are easier to repair than asphalt or concrete because an individual paver can simply be removed and replaced.
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Experts say concrete pavers have a strength rating of 9,000 pounds per square inch and are well-designed to handle the weight of vehicles. (The EPA says the average weight of model year 2012 vehicles is 3,977 pounds.) Paver driveways tend to be stronger than concrete counterparts and their expected life span is in the same range as asphalt and concrete, which is 20 to 30 years, respectively.
The price of a paver driveway can vary widely, from $1,800 to $14,000, depending on the size and scope of the project. That compares to a range of $2,300 to $10,300 for asphalt and $3,500 to $7,000 for concrete. A paver driveway can cost about $12 to $15 per square foot on average, while a concrete driveway runs about $5 per square foot. Paver driveways cost more because pavers are individually installed, which is labor-intensive.
Paver driveways are a viable option for homeowners throughout the country. In California, they're considered the best option for earthquakes because concrete slabs, less flexible, are more prone to cracking.
When considering who to hire to install a paver driveway, look for companies with positive consumer reviews on a trusted online site. In addition, find out which contractors belong to a trade association, such as the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, which offers a concrete paver installer certification. Such credentials indicate a dedication to industry best and latest practices. Also, be sure that your contractor provides proof of appropriate licensing, insurance and bonding, and that you get a written, detailed contract.
Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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