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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the different paver types that I can use?
A: Among the most commonly used pavers are brick, concrete, rubber, and natural stones, such as sandstone, granite, slate, limestone, and travertine.

Q: How do I ensure that my paved surfaces won’t move or shift over time?
A: One effective way of keeping your pavers firmly in place is to install a good edging material (called “edge restraint”), such as concrete or metal.

Q: What’s the easiest way of installing pavers?
A: The ideal process includes the following:

  • clear the area of debris and other hazard
  • prepare the base material and the sand bedding
  • lay the pavers carefully according to your desired pattern or theme
  • sweep sand over the paver joints
  • apply sealant

Paving Stones FAQs

Q: If I’m on a budget, should I choose brick or concrete paving stones?
A: Cost-wise, concrete paving stones should be your choice. Brick pavers generally cost twice what you’ll pay for concrete pavers.

Q: I have finished laying down the paving stones and my driveway is complete. Do I have to wait before I can use it?
A: Not at all. Paving stone driveways can be used right after you’ve finished installation.

Q: What kind of projects are suitable for paving stone materials?
A: Paving stones (both natural stones and concrete paving stones) are highly versatile and can be used on your driveway, pool deck, garden steps, jogging paths, patio, walkways, and many other areas. Pavers can even be used to build beautiful garden walls, outdoor fireplaces and kitchen surrounds.

Interlocking Pavers FAQs

Q: What benefits will I get by using interlocking pavers?
A: Interlocking pavers are strong and durable materials that can withstand heavy loads and prolonged exposure to changing weather. They are also versatile and extremely decorative.

Q: What should I do if one or two interlocking pavers broke?
A: Simply remove the damaged pavers and install new ones. It’s that easy.

Q: Am I required to use mortar when installing interlocking pavers?
A: No.

Paver Maintenance FAQs

Q: How do I remove efflorescence?
A: There are special cleaning solutions that you can easily apply over your paved surfaces to remove the whitish haze (efflorescence).

Q: How do I prevent weeds from growing between the paver joints?
A: First, ensure that you completely filled up the joints with sand. Next, apply a sealant over the entire paved surface.

Q: My pavers are stained, how do I clean them?
A: There are some excellent cleaning solutions that you can buy and apply yourself. Some products can effectively remove stubborn dust, grime, oil, rust, moss, algae, and skid marks.

Q: What is the difference between ceramic tile and porcelain tile?

A: The major difference between porcelain tile and ceramic tile is how it’s made. Both tiles are made from a clay mixture that’s fired in a kiln, but porcelain tile is made from more refined clay and it’s fired at higher temperatures. This makes it denser and more durable than ceramic tile. That’s why porcelain tile is more expensive than ceramic tile and generally considered to be higher quality as well. If you’re looking for the best tile flooring options, porcelain tiles are likely the best option for you.

Q: What mortar do I use to set my tile?

A: Thin set and the new large and heavy tile (LHT) mortars serve several functions within a tile assembly:

  • They bond to the substrate
  • They support the tile
  • They bond to the back of the tile

When these three key elements are in place, the tile installation will provide many trouble-free years.

The way you trowel mortar for setting tile makes a big difference. Porcelain tiles, in particular, can withstand extra heavy service conditions by taking a lot of impact or point load (think of high heel shoes, pianos, refrigerators or pallet jacks) when installed correctly over a sound substrate. When the mortar isn’t properly troweled, it creates unsupported space under the tiles which become weak spots that can be easily damaged by the same impact or heavy loads.

Q: Does it matter if I use gray or white mortar?

A: Only when setting stone. Stones are porous and the color of the mortar will influence the tile. Black or green stones should use gray mortar. All others should use white. When installing tile, some installers prefer white mortar when they are going to use a light colored grout.

Q: Can I use mastic to set my floor tile?

A: Mastic is meant mainly for wall tile. The rule of thumb is to mortar the floors and mastic the wall. Mortar can be used to set wall tile; however, it is not very sticky and holding the tiles in place until they dry can be challenging unless you use a light weight flexible thinset.

Q: Can I butt my tiles close together on the floor?

A: In a word, no. Stones that are mud set can be butted. Tiles, because they are fired, will have some size variation depending upon the amount of moisture in the clay at the time of firing. 3/16” grout joint is the smallest we would recommend.

Tiles that are truly rectified can be set closer, however some of the larger tiles will naturally have a slight warp. Rectified tiles are tiles that have been cut after firing to insure uniformity in size.

Q: What is the difference between sanded and un-sanded grout?

A: What determines whether you use sanded or non-sanded is dependent on the size of the grout space. 1/8” or larger use must use sanded grout. Under a 1/8”, usually 1/16 or smaller, you have to use non-sanded in order for the grout to properly pack into the joint. Non-sanded grout is also recommended for installation of glass, metals, or other materials that can easily scratch.

Q: What size trowel should I use to set my tile?

A: Trowel size is dependent on the size of the tile.

Up to a 14” tile, a ¼ by ¼ square notch is recommended.
Above 14” but smaller than a 20” a ½ by ½ square notch is recommended.
About 20”, a ¾” by ¾” is the trowel of choice.

Wall tile set with mastic is usually set with a 3/16” v-notch trowel.

Q: Can stone be set the same as ceramic on the floor?

A: Stones set on the floor require “mud-setting”. There are different methods to doing a “mud-set”. The most common is to use a ¾” square notch to trowel the floor, then trowel the back of the stone or butter the back with mortar.

Q: Can I go over vinyl flooring with my tile?

A: Using a multi-purpose mortar, tile can be bonded to vinyl flooring. Two things to be careful of:

1. Is the vinyl coming loose?

2. Is the vinyl flooring spongy?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then going over the vinyl is not recommended. It is always better to adhere the tile directly to the substrate. The multipurpose mortar will bond the tile to the vinyl, but it will not prevent the vinyl from coming loose. In essence you are putting good money over bad. Direct bonding to the substrate is best.

Q: When do I need to use crack suppression?

A: Crack suppression is used to minimize the tile’s exposure to stress from the slab.

Before setting the tile, you should walk the slab and look for cracks. If you only have a few cracks then you can use a crack suppression kit. If the slab is new or under three years old then crack suppression should be used on the entire area to be tiled.

Brick Pavers & Tile Installation on The Emerald Coast