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Old 04-26-2007, 10:52 PM
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While putting together an estimate for a clay paver sidewalk today I came to a startling realization. Clay pavers are just as durable and similarly priced to concrete pavers.

I have gone to seminars by many paver manufacturers and I bought the hype, concrete is the only way to go because of the high psi, color variations, ease of install. It turns out that there are a ton of color and texture options in clay brick, with the only limitation being they are all rectangular. The installation methods are exactly the same as with pavers.

Clay pavers they are coming in around the same price as a tumbled paver. I have been assured that you can run a compactor over clay pavers without cracking them. You should put a pad on the bottom of your plate. I will concede that Concrete pavers offer more uniform dimensions.

Why have concrete pavers taken over the market? I admit that the range of colors and textures is appealing. However, clay pavers don't seem to be as difficult to install as the paver companies make them out to be. I like the look and variation of the clay pavers.

Does anyone have experience with clay pavers? What do you think of them?
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Last edited by jwholden; 04-26-2007 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 04-26-2007, 11:45 PM
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I had never laid a clay paver when I lived near Detroit, but was introduced to them via the deman from clients when I moved to Wisconsin.

And I have news - you can get clay pavers in circle patterns! Now that I've said that, I can't recall the mfg that makes them, but they are made!

I see clay pavers like any other hardscape material - perfectly viable for most pavement applications, and the palette of colors and textures are ones that are not duplicated by anything made of concrete. So for me, it's a matter of the right paver for the project. Sometimes it's a Belden Polar White, or a 50 series Whitacre Greer, or a sand-molded Jamestown from Glen Gery, or Pine Hall's Olde Tavern. Yankee Hill has some drop-dead gorgeous colors, and Endicott is rumored to have a great reputation (though I've never had the pleasure of trying them). And those are just the ones I'm at least a little familiar with.

So yeah, I like clay pavers.
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Old 04-27-2007, 12:10 AM
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Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice
Clay pavers will be a little harder ( denser ) thus making your cuts per hour diminish slightly. We noticed on concrete pavers we avg. between 80 - 90 cuts per hour - marked, cut & put down.
Our last clay paver job was around 60 -65 cuts per hour pretty consistently.
We also noticed, as we went with a herringbone pattern on a walkway, that the clay pavers had fluctuating dimensions by 1/4" each way and made it a nightmare to install on these winding walkways at a church in town. Another job had an uneven soldier row just because some were longer than others. Of course we cut where we needed it just to make it look smooth but it was still that extra time that I didn't anticipate.

I like 'em but I think that after several installs, I have decided that clay pavers take a tad bit more time to install per sq. ft. and I will take the necessary steps in my estimating.

Stone, if you come across the manufacturer of the circle pattern in clay, let us know. I needed one last Dec. and had to improvise.

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Old 04-27-2007, 01:23 AM
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Hey fine edge I think the clay pavers around your are must be manufacture in a whole different way than around me, cause I have noticed the opposite, for us cutting clay takes 30-50% less time than unilock pavers.
also you are right about inconsistence in dimensions is the same around here I think the only pattern I like is running bond.
Yes you can use a pad under your compactor and achieve great results too.
I think they don't manufacture clay pavers the way they used to cause I have seen many jobs that have them from many years ago they still have some of those stamps on them (I hope you know what I'm talking about) and they still in fairly good shape vs some jobs where the homeowner claims they were installed couple of years ago.
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Old 04-27-2007, 06:24 AM
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Around here people have been using primarily clay pavers for ever. In the last five years concrete has started to take off. Clay pavers are slower to lay, and they take more finesse, but they have that character that concrete is always trying to manufacture into the pavers. I think clay pavers will be in style long after concrete looks dated. A dense water struck brick will last longer in the new england weather than anything made of concrete.
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Old 04-27-2007, 07:26 AM
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Aluminum siding vs. clapboard.

Some of it is regional as well. I see lots of colorful urban streetscapes done with concrete pavers in western cities from looking at magazines and other resources. Out there people think they look fresh, modern, and very high end. In New England, most people think they look tacky and commercial.

Everyone knows that aluminum or vinyl siding is cheaper, easier to install and maintain, but most see the wood clapboard as the quality higher end way to finish a house.

Like anything in the landscape business, it is all a balance of values. Some of that balance is from economics (regionally, or individually), some of it is aesthetics, and some of it is what people are used to.

I've mentioned the way the concrete paving industry has marketed themselves very well by training landscapers to sell their products. There is a certain amount of brain washing that goes on with that which I have also mentioned more than once.

Clay bricks have been around for centuries both in terms of their use and in terms of individual bricks set and being walked on. But try telling that to someone who has been to seven concrete paver seminars and has never set a clay brick in his life. He'll tell you that they can't take wear, the color will fade, they break with freeze/thaw, .... and any other bad thing that can happen.

I know this was a typo, but it is funy none the less ... quote frome Stonehenge:
"but was introduced to them via the deman"

I think most of us were introduced to pavers by de man. The concrete paver industry is "de man".

Don't get me wrong, concrete paver are great. It is just that clay pavers are great too.

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Old 04-27-2007, 09:41 AM
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I laid 2100 feet of clay last year for the first time on a memorial job were they are engraving the bricks . Three different colors of Belden paver. My only gripe was the tolerance of the brick varied on one color up to 3/16" and wwith 50' bond lines it was pure hell! That said, we used 4x8 and 8x8 brick in this job. I thought the colors were phenominal! Gotta watch compacting by putting in some sand first so the pavers don't knock together and chip. Also noticed that one Partner saw with a cheap a$$ed blade cut great while my good blade semed to want to grab. I have another scheduled for this year. Very refined look in my opinion.
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Old 04-27-2007, 12:33 PM
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I posted in another thread that my only experience with clay pavers has been bad. I've taken up pavers that are half rotten on the bottom and seen others crumble from the top down.

I've seen pictures here of jobs that have endured time well, in my area there just doesn't seem to be a supplier of these better quality pavers. Most bricks here are produced locally and are not very dense at all.
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Old 04-27-2007, 07:49 PM
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I am using clay pavers on a job. I am doing a bluestone walkway with a clay paver boarder. The clay pavers will match the brick on the house.

I think its going to be one of the nicest walkways i ever seen.
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Old 05-02-2007, 05:40 PM
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I think Cushwa makes a molded clay paver circle kit or wedge shape though I'm not able to find any reference to it on their website.

Clay pavers manufactured today have all of the characteristics mentioned, good and bad: fabulous color, durability, resistance to freeze-thaw and also wider dimensional tollerances and size/shape limitations. Some of the features of clay pavers that can create installation issues, i.e. size variations, are a result of manufacturing limitations and the methods used by clay manufacturers to attain different colors. Firing clay pavers or making any type of fired brick is as much an art as it is a science.
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Old 05-02-2007, 06:01 PM
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Hey Colby, glad to see you posting.
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