Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions: Paver Installation Questions: Wall Questions: Paver Care Questions:


General Questions

Why do Nicolock pavers make the best pavement?

Not only are Nicolock pavers beautiful, but they provide the best pavement solution in freeze/thaw conditions, when installed over a compacted aggregate base. Installation over a compacted aggregate base results in a pavement that is strong, yet flexible enough to move as the ground shifts without breaking apart, rutting or heaving. In addition, they can be "unzipped" to allow for repairs or access to utility lines. Unlike asphalt and other surfaces, pavers are virtually maintenance-free. And, by definition, concrete pavers are about 3 times stronger than regular poured concrete.

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What makes Paver-Shield™ better than the competition?

Paver-Shield is not a thin veneer of color coating. Paver-Shield pavers are guaranteed to look great year after year, retaining their vibrant color and smooth texture. Products without Paver-Shield may look worn and faded over time with exposed aggregate on the surface.
 

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Does the color go all the way through Nicolock pavers?

All Nicolock pavers have color throughout. Those manufactured with our exclusive Paver-Shield™ process have an extra concentration of cement and pigment on the wear layer providing deep rich colors and a smooth, dense wear layer.

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How do pavers compare with patterned concrete?

Patterned concrete pavements are slabs of concrete that are embossed with a pattern. Therefore, they are prone to the same problems with freeze/thaw cycles, namely cracking and spalling. Also, unlike Nicolock pavers, patterned concrete pavements don't allow access to underground utilities or the ability to make repairs. At virtually the same price installed per square foot, Nicolock Pavers are clearly a superior choice.

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What is efflorescence?

Efflorescence is a whitish, powder-like deposit that may sometimes appear on the surface of the paving stones. It may appear immediately or within a short time after installation. Efflorescence occurs when natural salts come to the surface and leave behind a white deposit that can normally be brushed off. Left alone, normal wear and exposure to the elements will dissipate the efflorescence. This is not a product defect or harmful to pavers and walls and Nicolock accepts no liability for its occurrence. If there is a need to remove the efflorescence before it naturally wears away, best results are obtained by using an efflorescence remover which is available from most mason supply dealers. Do not use muriatic acid.


If a sealer is to be applied to the paving stones, it is recommended that any presence of efflorescence be removed prior to sealer being applied. Precautions for proper drainage of the paving stone system should be taken to minimize the occurrence of efflorescence. Follow proper installation methods.

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Paver Installation Questions

Can pavers be installed over a poured concrete base?

Absolutely, provided certain steps are taken. Care must be taken so that water does not pool underneath the pavers. Drainage holes should be drilled in large slabs and filled with pea gravel and covered with landscape fabric. Edge pavers must be restrained to keep joints from opening up.

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How much stone base material and sand setting bed material will I need?

One half ton of modified stone or sand will cover about 100 square feet at 1" thick. Using a 10' x 10' (100 square feet) patio as an example, you would need 1/2 ton of sand for the setting bed (1" thick) and 3 tons of modified stone for the base (6" thick). You'll need about 5% more sand for the joints between the pavers. The thickness of the base material depends on the application and subgrade soil conditions (use a thicker base for poorly drained soils). As a rule of thumb, you'll need 4" to 8" of base material for walkways and patios, and 8" to 12" for driveways and parking areas.

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What is polymeric sand and what are its advantages?

Polymeric sand is a high-tech mix of graded sand and binder, specially formulated for filling joints between pavers. When installed properly, polymeric sand will remain in the paver joints and inhibit weed growth and insect infestation.

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Can Nicolock Pavers be used for my driveway?

Absolutely! For residential driveways, 8" to 12"of compacted base material is recommended. A standard 2-3/8" thick paver can be used for light vehicular (cars and pickup trucks) applications. A herringbone pattern is most suitable in these situations.

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Can I apply Nicolock Pavers as a pool deck?

Not only do Nicolock Pavers make an attractive pool deck, but they also provide a slip-resistant walking surface. Pavers actually are better than poured concrete around pools from the standpoint that the joints will take on moisture and leave the pavement cooler under foot. Like all products that are used outdoors, lighter colors will tend to stay cooler as they reflect the sunlight. Furthermore, our Fullnose and Pool Coping Pavers are ideal for the pool's edge. Make sure the base material around the pool is well compacted before installing pavers. Safety covers can also be installed over pavers with the use of special anchors.

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Wall Questions

I have a rotting railroad tie wall that is falling down. What can I do?

Our segmental retaining wall systems provide an excellent solution to this problem. They are strong and will last a lifetime. Nicolock offers several different wall systems to meet your needs.

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What is geogrid and when should it be used?

As a rule of thumb, all walls over 3' high should be reinforced with geogrid. Geogrid is placed between the layers of block at different intervals to stabilize the soil behind the retaining wall and secure the wall face to the earth behind it. The height of the finished wall, soil characteristics, and the pressure on the wall caused by slopes, structures, and/or paved areas all affect the proper placement and lengths of geogrid.

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Paver Care Questions

I have white deposits on my pavers/walls, what is it?

You are probably referring to efflorescence, a natural and common occurrence in many concrete products. Efflorescence occurs when natural salts come to the surface and leave behind a white deposit that can normally be brushed off. This is not a product defect or harmful to pavers and walls and Nicolock accepts no liability for its occurrence. It will usually weather away with time. There are also cleaners available. Look through the cleaners listed in Hardscape Accessories.

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What are the benefits of sealing my pavers? How long do I need to wait before I apply a sealer?

Sealers help resist stain and may enhance the color. Some can also bind the sand in the joints to make it difficult for weeds to germinate. As a rule of thumb we generally want you to wait at least six months to allow any efflorescence to appear. Prior to the application of any sealers, the pavers must be cleaned with an appropriate product to remove dirt and efflorescence. Look for cleaners and sealers in Hardscape Accessories.

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What can I do if my pavers are stained or damaged?

Special products are available to clean stains from concrete products. Look for cleaners in Hardscape Accessories. If they are exceptionally stained or are damaged, individual units can be removed and replaced. Remove the sand around these pavers and use two flat head screwdrivers to lift the paver out. Rocking the paver gently in a back-and-forth motion will facilitate removal.

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Is there a way to remove gas or oil from my pavers?

If it's a small area, it's a good idea to just pull out the bad pavers and replace them. Otherwise mop up any excess oil with rags. Cover the area with oil absorbent talc, (kitty litter). Diatomaceaous earth can also be used. Leave it on the stain for a day and then sweep. If the stain is still visible, try the cleaning products listed under Hardscape Accessories.

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How do I do a basic cleaning of my pavers?

The best way to clean pavers is to use hot, soapy water and a stiff bristle scrub brush. We recommend that you use a liquid, acid-free soap. Simple Green, sold in many grocery, hardware, and home center stores, is also very effective and non-harmful to plant life and other vegetation. After scrubbing, wash the dirt and debris off with clean water. If you use a hose, be careful to not loosen or spray away your joint sand. Pressure washers are not recommended as they can remove the cement paste from the surface causing scarring and can also remove joint and bedding sand. Mechanical cleaners with rotating brushes have been found to be effective.

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How can I remove moss or mold from my pavers?

Try liquid bleach diluted in water (10 parts water to one part bleach). Be careful not to get it on plant material. Keep in mind that there is nothing that will keep moss and mold from reappearing in a shady, damp area.

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Will weeds grow between my pavers?

Weeds and grass between pavers occur when seeds or spores lodge in the joints between pavers. They will not grow from underneath. This can be minimized by using polymeric sand or mixing a pre-emergent granular weed killer into the joint sand. If weeds do appear, a spot vegetation killer (such as Round-Up™) can be used and will not damage the pavers.

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For snow removal, is it ok to use a shovel, a plow, or even a snow blower?

Pavers can be plowed and shoveled just like asphalt, concrete and other pavement materials. In fact, snow and ice will normally melt faster because of the joints around the pavers. A plow blade with a rubber edge is recommended when needed. Do not use sharp objects to chop ice as they can damage the pavers. Using a snow blower on your pavers is perfectly fine. Just be careful not to scrape the pavers with the steel housing of the snow blower. This can cause damage.

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What should I use to melt snow and ice on my pavers?

Nicolock recommends using rock salt to remove snow and ice from pavers. The use of magnesium chloride, or other chloride products are not recommended and will void the warranty as they may over time harm the structural integrity of your pavers.

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