What is concrete paving?
Concrete paving is often referred to as paving stones and is a popular outdoor flooring option in modern times. They are similar to tiles and are manufactured in various shapes and sizes. They are also made in various colours; however, the most common is definitely grey. Concrete has been a popular material for centuries due to its strength, reliability and durability.
Concrete is produced when a paste of Portland cement and water is mixed with both small and large aggregates. After this, the paste covers the surface of the aggregates, which causes a chemical reaction called hydration. This results in the entire mix hardening and gaining strength. Concrete, therefore, has the ability to resist weathering processes such as abrasion and erosion. This is why you see concrete being used worldwide in a variety of construction projects, from roads to skyscrapers.
Of course, concrete is used in the form of paving for home projects, but the question is, are there other aesthetically pleasing and innovative building materials available today?
Why are people opting for composite decking over concrete paving?
Composite decking is available in a larger variety of designs, patterns and colours, meaning there is definitely a decking board that would be capable of enhancing your home. Concrete paving slabs are notorious for being a rather bland option for building materials with minimal colour options. If you are someone who wants to create the “wow factor” with your outdoor living space, you will struggle to do so with paving slabs.
Professional decking installers can build beautiful extended living spaces with composite decking. The options are endless. For example, you can build curved decking projects, raised decking projects and decking projects with multiple levels and stairs. These are designs that you cannot achieve with concrete due to the nature of the material.
Another clear drawback to paving slabs is that they can crack over time. In very dry conditions, it is possible that the ground under your paving can shrink, resulting in settling. The settling of the ground underneath is mostly uneven in its distribution which can cause some of the paving to become unstable, leading to the movement of slabs and then eventually cracking. When installing composite decking, this is something you will not experience as long as the installation guidelines are followed.
Composite decking is becoming more and more popular as material benefits become well-documented. One of the benefits is the material’s ability to withstand cracking, bending and splitting.
Please note: if expansion gaps are not factored in during the installation process, these issues may still occur. If you are unsure of the importance of expansion gaps and the requirements surrounding them, please click HERE.
Installing on paving vs. Installing on soil/grass
As mentioned previously, installing on a hard surface, such as paving, is called a ground-level installation. This is because the subframe can be built on the ground, whereas a general installation onto soil/grass would require the posts to be sunk into the ground. Generally speaking, decking projects on soil/grass require posts to be sunk 500mm into the ground. However, this will change depending on how high you want the decking to be off the ground. General installations of soil/grass also require the decking to be slightly raised to help prevent moisture absorption from the soft ground. Ground-level installations can also be completed with smaller joists. For example, you can use 50mm x 50mm joists rather than 50mm x 100mm, which you would see with general decking projects. To get a full breakdown of how to complete a ground-level installation, please click here.