At some point, you might consider changing the layout of your patio, driveway, or porch but are hesitant due to the amount of work removing the pavers and resurfacing the area. Can you simply cement or pour concrete over pavers? We have researched this question and here is what we've found.
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Technically, you can cement over pavers only if you add aggregates and water into the mix. The resulting compound is referred to as concrete, and it becomes a structurally durable material once it dries, sets, and cures.
It is important to understand the difference between cement and concrete before you begin your project. Additionally, you have to consider several factors before applying cement over patio or driveway pavers. Read on and find out the guidelines for overlaying concrete on paving stones.
What Is The Difference Between Cement And Concrete?
These terms are often used interchangeably and thought to mean the same thing. Technically, however, concrete has two main components: a binding agent and an aggregate material.
Cement and water act as the matrix which binds sand and gravel into a solid, durable structure used in construction. Cement is an ingredient in concrete, which, generally, may not be used by itself.
General Considerations For Concrete Over Pavers
There are certain factors to consider before pouring concrete over existing pavers to ensure you create a structurally sound surface. These include the material of your pavers, their location and function as well as the increased elevation the overlay will result in.
The paver material determines the amount of concrete that can be poured. To illustrate, natural stone, concrete, and granite paving stones are more solid and durable. As such, concrete and cement can easily be overlaid on these surfaces.
Whereas tiles, marble, and bricks are fragile and easily damaged and might not be able to handle the weight of the substance.
It is necessary to install wire netting or mesh over these pavers to act as the base foundation before setting the concrete into place. You should pour a thin layer of concrete over the stones to prevent weight stress on the medium.
Applying sand between the paver surface and the layer of concrete would create a semi-movable platform that could accommodate the expansion and shrinkage of the overlaid material.
Pavers are versatile surface materials that could be used for landscape edging, walkways, patios, porches, and driveways.
Depending on the actual function, foot traffic, and weight the material has to endure, the concrete overlay must be compatible with the purpose.
It is recommended to pour a thick layer of concrete on areas with heavy foot and vehicle traffic, such as driveways and walkways, as opposed to surfaces that are not usually passed through by people.
The added elevation should be considered because if the height is at or exceeds the level of your home, water could flow and pool toward the area.
During installation, ensure that the incline's surface is directed toward the street. This way, proper drainage is maintained.
Additionally, the new surface height could cause misalignment with stairs, doorways, and footpaths, which can be a trip hazard. Gradual inclines may be installed between transition areas to prevent mishaps or accidents.
Steps In Resurfacing Pavers With Concrete
Following the guidelines is important in order to establish a leveled, durable surface, and allow the concrete to adhere properly to the paving stones.
Prepare The Surface
Preparing the surface of your pavers may be the toughest part of the whole process, especially if the area is relatively old. However, it is a necessary step to ensure that the concrete adheres to the material and sets properly.
Scrub the pavers to remove dirt, grime, moss, and all forms of debris on the surface. You can apply weed killer at least a week before undergoing the project to make it easier to eliminate unwanted growth along the gaps or joints.
Spray the entire area with a pressure washer, then vacuum or sweep off all the excess sand displaced between the crevices.
Install Wooden Or Metal Concrete Forms
Installing a concrete form around the area to be treated is necessary to contain the poured mix to set within the desired boundaries. The wooden or metal form should overlap the edges by a height equal to the depth of the concrete overlay.
Secure the forms with braces and reinforcements to avoid shifting or movement when the concrete mixture is applied.
Prepare The Mixture
Pour the bag of concrete mix into a large metal receptacle like a wheelbarrow and gradually add the specified amount of water as indicated in the instructions. Mix the components thoroughly until a uniform consistency is achieved.
If you are working on a large surface like a driveway, it might be necessary to divide it into sectors and prepare an adequate mixture for each area. Attempting to cover it all in one go causes the concrete to set prematurely before you can apply it.
Applying The Concrete
You have the option to apply a thin layer of sand and gravel over the surface to increase the adhesion before pouring the concrete mix.
Shovel in the preparation over the area, then, use a leveling tool to spread the concrete evenly. Before it begins to set, you can check the level with strings anchored from one end to the other.
Remove any material that overflows the form level immediately before it hardens. You can cover the fresh concrete with a tarp to avoid mishaps with pedestrians, children, and pets.
Setting And Curing Time
Concrete hardens within a day and fully sets after 48 hours. The actual curing time can take up to a month.
With warm to hot weather, you need to sprinkle water over the surface several times a day during the first week of curing. This will prevent the concrete from cracking while strengthening the structure at the same time.
To be on the safe side, you may tread over the surface after 10 days for walkways or patios, but it is best to wait a month before using the driveway for vehicles.
Specialized Concrete For Use Over Your Pavers
If you feel that ordinary concrete is not suitable or strong enough for your project, there are specialized products that can be used to address the need.
You might plan to build a gazebo, a garage, or some other structure over the area after applying a concrete layer but are unsure if the surface can support it. Use fiber-reinforced material instead of the ordinary variety.
The base mixture is composed of cement and aggregates reinforced with fibers made from steel, glass, and plastic compounds. Once the specialized concrete sets, it creates a structurally durable, long-lasting surface.
It would be ideal for driveways if you have several vehicles, own a heavy truck, or have high-traffic areas.
The long curing time may also be an issue if the facility has to be used sooner, like a driveway or a footpath leading to the house.
A two-week to a month curing period can be a huge inconvenience, especially if the surface needs to be accessible. You would want your vehicle over the driveway or in the garage sooner or need to be able to use the patio or walkway to gain access to other areas of the property.
Fast-track concrete is formulated with hardeners that accelerate the curing process. They are commonly applied in repairing highways, airports, and other traffic-heavy areas that need to be accessible in a short period. The specialized concrete reaches maximum strength in less than 12 hours.
Fast-track concrete is your best option if time and earlier use are an issue.
Can I Pour Concrete Over Stones?
It is advisable to place stones before pouring concrete to increase adhesion between the surface and the mixture. The layer of gravel also creates better drainage and acts as a solid base foundation.
Applying concrete over pavers is a convenient, practical, and less complicated task to change or remodel any area around your home. The project will be more successful if you consider the material of the pavers, the purpose the concrete has to serve, and the proper way to apply it. We hope the article has been informative.
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