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Permeable Pavers

Permeable pavers are interlocking pavers that have joints between them that are filled with small stones. Because of the space in the joints between the interlocking pavers, water enters this space and flows through to a base of crushed stone layers and then into the soil below. As a result the stones in the joints, this provides 100% surface permeability and reduces storm water and filters out pollutants.

The Future of Interlocking Pavers

Last year on July 8th, 2014, we all felt the after effects of one of the biggest rain storms to hit the Greater Toronto Area. With reports of major streets completely underwater and even a major rescue operation on the GO train, storm water has become an issue as a result of all the impervious surfaces that have been created to handle ever increasing volume of vehicular traffic. As a result, this has impacted stream bank erosion, flooding and polluting of streams, lakes and rivers which also affects our source of drinking water. It should come as no surprise that cities are now looking for cost effective storm water management solutions. Permeable pavements are what cities around the world are looking at now and beyond to help combat storm water runoff. It is also something that homeowners should be considering as well to help contribute to the reduction of harmful and potentially devastating effects of storm water on our environment.

It’s “Green” = More $$$?

The cost of installing permeable pavers is comparable to the installation of standard interlocking pavers. At Toemar, we have a product called Moderna and it can be configured in a specific pattern so that it is permeable while creating the high end look of regular square-cut flagstone. In addition, the base created for permeable pavers is essentially identical with the exception of using more pervious base such as ¾ clear stone and high performance bedding (HPB) which will allow a flow through of the water into the soil base.

Check out this video on Moderna’s permeable capabilities starting at 1:48.

How does it look?

Depending on what your needs are and your taste, you can setup your permeable pavers in many different configurations for your driveway and/or walkway. You can set it up so that it looks just like a standard interlocking paver driveway or you can “green it up” as part of the natural look. Check out some samples of what people have done:

permeable-paver-designs

Other Benefits of Permeable Pavers

In addition to diverting water from storm sewers which goes into stream, permeable pavers can also reduce something called “heat island effect”. This effect is caused by the buildup of heat in and around cities, towns, and structures. Asphalt and concrete absorb sunlight and convert it to heat and that is why when you walk on your driveway or a mall parking lot it feels that much warmer.
Lastly, by retaining water on your property you not only water the plants but also return water to the water table on your property.

Feel free to reach out to us should you have any more questions by commenting below or contacting us phone or email.

Flagstone – How to Buy for Patios, Walkways and Driveways

Buying flagstone may seem like a daunting task to the everyday homeowner, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need to understand some basics and you can have a good grasp of what your potential dream flagstone patio, walkways or driveway may cost you.

Here are some things you should know:

How is it sold?

Flagstone is typically sold by the weight, specifically either in lbs or tonnes. The reason it is sold by weight is because of how it is sold by the quarries and because of the irregular shape of each piece of flagstone.

How do I measure or figure out how much I need?

There is an industry standard that everyone goes by to determine the amount of flagstone one needs to purchase. For every 100 square feet of coverage, you will need approximately 1 tonne or 2000 pounds of flagstone that is between 1″ to 1.5″ thickness with spacing between each flagstone around 1/2″ to 1″ wide gap.

What varieties are available of flagstone?

Slate, limestone, and sandstone are just a few varieties of flagstone that are available in the market today. In Ontario, the most common type of flagstone available is called Wiarton since the quarries are located in Southern Ontario. Wiarton is a form of limestone that comes in various colors. However, the most common color range is from light grey to charcoal grey.

What thickness should I use?

Flagstone thickness ranges from 3/4″ up to 3″ and possibly even more. The most common thickness from 1″ to 1.5″ thickness. This flagstone thickness is good for paved concrete surfaces. The reason for a thinner flagstone is because of there little chance the flagstone would be affected by winter on a concrete pad. For surfaces where the base is gravel, you would want to purchase flagstone that is at least 2″ to 3″ thick. The reason for this thickness is that the weight and the thickness of the flagstone will to help counteract heaving during the freeze thaw cycle that happens each year and minimize any potential for cracking that may occur.

What are the jointing materials that I need to finish the flagstone project?

As it was mentioned earlier, there are different types of jointing materials that can be used. If your flagstone base is a concrete platform/pad, then you should use cement or other types of mortar. If you have a gravel base, then you should use sand (fine or coarse), pea gravel, or even polymeric sand (wide joint variety) as a mortar. The sand or pea gravel is a more forgiving and will not show cracks should the flagstone have movement after the freeze-thaw cycle of winter.

Sell your Home Faster: A Primer on Flagstone

Flagstone and Natural Stone Primer

Flagstone or Natural Stone can add character and charm to your landscaping that can be the envy of your neighbourhood. In fact, I’m 99.9% positive that you have at one time or another have seen or walked across a flagstone patio or walkway in Mississauga or any other place in Toronto.

In fact, some people may install flagstone for more selfish reasons. Re/max Agent Jennifer Lagtapon says that “if you want to sell your home faster, adding flagstone to your landscaping can only add to the curb appeal and make that first impression last”. She also told me that ‘curb appeal’ is something you need to focus in on, because buyers will form their strongest and most influential opinions before they even step out of the car.

Whether you want to sell your home or just make your house look great, here is a little primer on flagstone (aka natural stone).

Background on Flagstone or Natural Stone

Right now, the biggest trend in landscape design is the use of flagstone. It is a key component of nearly if not all luxury and/or upscale homes. In fact, increased competition and international trade has made flagstone an affordable product for all homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area. Flagstone in the GTA typically comes from Northern Ontario, but nowadays it could come as far away as India and China. Aside from new construction, using flagstone is also excellent way to face-lift any pre-existing concrete applications such as verandas, porches, walkways, entranceways, patios and steps.

Types

Although there are many types of flagstone in the marketplace, there typically two types that you will see in the Greater Toronto Area: Square Cut and Random Cut.

  • “Square Cut” flagstone is either composed of limestone, sandstone or granite. Sometimes, you will also find square cut flagstone imported from China and Turkey, but are still suitable to the Canadian climate. The stones are symmetrical in shape and produces a tile effect.
  • “Random Cut” flagstone has attributes that are associated with the area in which it was removed and as a result, the more specific or unique the stone is, the higher the cost of the flagstone. This is why most of “Random Cut” flagstone within the GTA is usually sourced out of Northern Ontario to help keep costs under control. The stones are asymmetrical shape and produces a natural and rustic look.
Square Cut Natural Stone
Random Cut Natural Stone

One other very important consideration is to look for the durability of the flagstone. Not all imported flagstone is meant to withstand the extremes of a Canadian weather and as a result, you may be disappointed by the time next season comes around.

Color

The various colors of flagstone is determined by the binding materials that are part of its natural formation and region. For example, if iron oxide is a dominant binding material, the flagstone will have a reddish tint. Some flagstone colors include black, white, brown, orange, red, gray and gold, and even lighter colors such as lavender and pink. To create a unique look, flagstone also gives you the option or choice to use uniformly colors or mix and match complementary colors.

Installation

Square Cut flagstone is meant to be installed onto an existing concrete structure such as a patio or stairs using mortar. The difficulty of the installation depends on a number of factors such as size of the flagstone, the pattern or design you want to create and even the number of stairs you need to build. It is similar to installing floor or wall tiles in your home. You will need spacers for joints, string lines and levels to create that perfect clean look. Square cut flagstone can also be installed on a gravel or limestone base in the same manner that you would install interlocking pavers. Unlike interlocking pavers, joint sizes can vary (1 cm, 2cm or 1/8 inch, ¼ inch, ½ inch) and will need to be filled in with a grout or mortar cement.
Random Cut flagstone with its ragged edges opens up the possibility of installing on nearly any surface such as pre-existing concrete, limestone or gravel base, and garden areas. Compared to square cut flagstone, installing random cut flagstone is a simpler task because absolute precision is not necessary. If you are installing on a gravel or limestone base, the base will need to be compacted just as if you were installing interlocking pavers. The space between the joints will be uneven and will have varying widths and these imperfections will give your space a rustic character. The joints for random cut flagstone can be not only be filled with mortar cement, but also with wide joint polymeric sand, soil, and decorative plants such as moss.

For even more information on flagstone, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you out.

Garden Landscaping Trends for 2012

Garden landscaping trends for 2012 are exciting and unique. We have selected three trends that we think are impactful and timeless. Read on below:

1. Interlocking Paver (Brick) borders and the usage of contrast:

 

Borders are a great way to liven up any Interlocking Paver (Brick) project – driveways, walkways or patios. Ultra Black is a popular colour as a border and can be found in our following lines: Adora, Strada, and Bellagio. The vivid tone of black provides a remarkable contrast against all colours.

 

2. Textured Pavers:

 

In recent years, Textured Pavers have become increasingly popular in providing a reasonable alternative to natural stone and impressed concrete. Moderna is an excellent example of a flagstone alternative due to its chiseled surface and irregular shape.

 

3. Incorporating Natural Stone with Concrete:

 

Natural Stone Tread Copings provide an excellent alternative to traditional concrete copings/caps for steps and retaining walls. Tread Copings come in 6ft lengths, which provides a complete look to most steps and retaining walls.