Brick walkways and patios have a timeless appearance and can be installed in numerous patterns but they can often deteriorate quickly overtime in the harsh New England seasons if the wrong type of brick is selected. Most standard bricks are typically made from clay and are porous, allowing liquid and air to pass through, water can seep into the bricks and freeze. When the water freezes it starts expanding, pushing against the clay, which all too often leaves behind a trail of crumbling or cracked bricks.
But not all clay bricks are made the same. If you wish to use a clay brick for a walkway, patio, or driveway it is best to select a brick that is specifically made to be used as a paver or you can choose a brick otherwise known as a waterstruck brick. The difference between waterstruck bricks and traditional clay fired brick is in the manufacturing process; Clays are mixed to contain 20 to 30 percent water and then formed into brick in molds. To prevent clay from sticking, the molds are lubricated with water to produce “waterstruck” brick. These types of clay bricks are denser and less porous compared to a standard brick that you may see a building, house, or other structure made out of.
Below are test charts conducted by Clemson University to show the absorption percentage and the compressive strength of a standard clay brick compared to a brick specified for paver use. Notice that the average absorption rate is higher than that of the paver brick. The compressive strength of the standard brick is also much less than that of a paver brick.
To further compare, below is a test chart conducted by Thompson & Lichtner Engineering on a waterstruck brick. As mentioned above waterstruck bricks are an excellent choice due to their strength and durability which is evident in the chart. Compressive strength is high compared to standard brick and the absorption rate is lower.
The downstide of choosing denser clay brick pavers or waterstruck bricks is that they are not typically accompanied by a warranty. Owners end up having to replace them out-of-pocket.
These bricks also typically cost more per square foot than say a concrete brick paver alternative. Concrete brick pavers can provide a replicated aesthetic of clay bricks while providing more color options, high durability, and often come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
Two of the manufacturers we work with here at TLC Supply Inc. are Techo-Bloc and Genest, both of which offer a brick-sized paver option in a variety of colors. Techo-Bloc offers the Victorien Paver, while Genest offers the Holland Stone and Harborline which can be viewed in our patio installation, along with their permeable Stormwater paver. All four options can be used in patio, walkway, and even driveway applications. Genest and Techo-Bloc offer lifetime warranties on their products, ensuring a lifelong, quality aesthetic.
Below are a handful of patterns and layouts in which the brick pavers can be installed.
Another plus side to using concrete brick pavers like the ones above is that colors can be mixed to achieve a more unique look or add a pop of color to border your walkway, patio, or driveway. Clay Bricks tend to be limited in color range due to the clay content, but with a concrete paver the color range is much wider.
TLC Supply in Quincy, MA is your #1 place to purchase Genest and Techo Bloc paver products. Stop on by our patio to see these brick paver colors and your ideas come to life!
We are happy to answer any of your project questions, just leave a comment below!