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How Thick Should Driveway Pavers Be? [And Should You Seal Them?]

A driveway is the first thing you see when pulling into your home. While concrete poured driveways are a common choice, pavers can significantly improve your curb appeal. If you're looking into converting your driveway to pavers, the thickness of the pavers will be on the list of your questions. Whether hiring or doing it yourself, we've looked into how thick driveway pavers should be, plus if you should seal them or not. 

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Driveway pavers are typically in the range of 2-3 inches thick. The paver base, a mixture of sand and soil, lies underneath the pavers at a 4-6 inch thickness. Before buying pavers based on looks, determine how much space you need to fill to reach the surrounding area. Pavers can and should be sealed after installation to ensure their longevity. 

Pavers are becoming a popular upgrade on homes, especially for driveways and patios. The endless options of color, material, and patterns you can choose from allow no two to be alike. Then, to round off the project, you'll want to seal your new pavers to protect them. Below we've taken a deeper look into the traditional construction of paved driveways. Keep reading to find out about sealing benefits, and even which pavers will work best for your driveway!

The footpath in the park is paved with diamond shaped concrete tiles, How Thick Should Driveway Pavers Be? [And Should You Seal Them?]

Paver Thickness For A Driveway

Pavers are exterior flooring made of either stone or brick. Unlike concrete, pavers are individual brick-like pieces that can be arranged in different patterns. The standard thickness of pavers themselves is between 2-3 inches. However, thinner pavers have started to be produced for overlaying. All in all, a start from scratch paved driveway will be up being anywhere from 6-9 inches, including the pavers and paver base. A paver base is the concrete and soil mix used to secure the pavers into place. Without a strong base, your pavers could end up shifting.

The benefits of sealing pavers

Sealing your new pavers will be beneficial not only for them but you as well. Since pavers are more expensive, you'll save money in the long run by avoiding mildew damage and cracking. The process of applying sealer is straightforward and can be completed yourself over a weekend.

Luxury Living in this Beautiful Estate Home with Brick Pavers

Extended life

While sealed concrete can last up to 25 years, sealed pavers can last anywhere between 50-75 years. A simple recoating every 4-5 years will keep your pavers looking brand new! With excellent maintenance and effort, you could extend your pavers to last generations. 

Brightness

One of the options for sealers is finish types. You can decide if you'd like the natural look of stone, have more of a satin finish or even a matte finish to it. Any sealer is going to lock in the freshness of your new pavers and keep that first-day pop of color alive. 

Stain and water repellant

Pavers are subject to cars, weather, and daily wear and tear. To help with easier cleanup, the sealer will prevent oil and water from soaking into the pavers' porous surface. You can pressure wash off accidental spills quickly without having to worry about deep stains. 

Reinforces joints (less cracking)

No matter how much sand is packed in the joints of pavers, there can always be the occurrence of cracking. The addition of the sealer will further support the joints and reduce the overall likeliness of cracking. It also aids in keeping moisture out, which will, in turn, prevent shifting due to expansion. 

Discourages weed growth

Decrease the amount of weed growth between the joints with sealer. One of the main additives in paver sealant is a polymer. This polymer seeps into the joint's sand and causes it to harden. The now thick, mortar-like sealant will make it extremely difficult for weeds to find their way through.

How long should you wait to seal pavers?

As you're looking at sealers, you will come across a non-film-forming sealer and a film-forming. Depending on which you choose will vary your timeline. The gloss and semi-gloss finishes will be your film-forming sealants and can be applied 30 days after pavers are set. Non-film-forming with be the matte finishes and can be used after seven days from when your pavers were laid. 

Check out this paver sealer on Amazon.

Can you put thin pavers over a concrete driveway?

In short, no, it is not recommended to paver over existing concrete driveways. Pavers installed from scratch are held in place by a blend of sand, soil, and concrete. The sand and soil give allowance for natural shifting and settling to occur. If you lay pavers over a concrete driveway, even with a sand mortar first, there will be no wiggle room for added pressure. So when you drive over pavers, in particular thin pavers, they have no back bounce and will crack under the weight. 

However, you can place thin pavers over concrete in lighter traffic areas such as a patio or walkway. You will need to check these points before starting: drainage, slope, and height to avoid tripping.

If there isn't a deep enough slope, water will get stuck underneath the pavers, causing them to mold and crack. Poor drainage can lead to water pooling, damaging not only the pavers but the concrete underneath. Also, pavers will add height to your former patio or walkway, so if the pavers are too thick, they will not be flush to the connecting areas and create walking hazards. 

Laying gray concrete paving slabs in house courtyard driveway patio

What are the best pavers for a driveway?

Pavers come in three popular choices: stone, clay, and concrete. Each has its pros and cons and can work with your particular needs. From least to most expensive, these are the three most favored pavers due to their durability. Even if you plan on installing yourself, having a contractor come out for an estimate can give you a better idea of what you're working with.

Concrete

The most cost-effective option, concrete pavers, are formed from sand, gravel, cement and can have pigment added. The classic grey look gives you a clean, minimalistic look with any desired pattern. The interlocking design also allows for a stronger surface compared to just straight poured concrete slabs. Concrete is easy to install but does have the possibility to crack under intense weather conditions. 

Brick 

Beautiful colonial style home with a brick paver driveway.

The most eco-friendly and mid-priced brick pavers are clay mixtures molded into shape and baked to harden. Brick can be challenging to install, and to avoid water retention, they should be allowed small gaps in between. However, bricks have a distinct color and aesthetic attached to them and add a bright pop of warmth to any home. The one drawback to brick is that it can flake over time without proper upkeep. 

Natural stone

It may be the most expensive, but it is also the most alluring. Natural stone pavers can include flagstone, bluestone, and cobblestone. They have a timeless look to them and can add equity to your home. Due to their natural density, they are incredibly weather-resistant and stain repellant. Their one downside is that under extreme pressure, they can crack, but as long as your paver base is strong, it won't be likely.

In closing

Your pavers should be in the general range of 2-3 inches with a 4-6 inch paver base. Pavers give you a wider selection of color, pattern, and style versus the usual concrete driveway. To ensure that this upgrade will be protected for years to come, they should be sealed after installation. After waiting seven days for matte finishes and 30 days for glossy finishes, your driveway will be able to repel water easier, hold stronger, and discourage weed growth. A driveway can be made from pavers and are often stronger than concrete slabs, but it is not recommended to overlay pavers on an existing driveway. 

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