Brick pavers make driveways and patios look magnificent. The clay brick look is timeless, and the smooth surfaces of the pavers make the driveway or patio look clean and inviting — think of warm spring mornings taking care of plants along the side of the brick driveway, or sitting on that brick patio, reading on a calm day.
These pavers, along with most other driveway and patio materials, can chip, break or end up moving due to things like frost heave. If you're having brick pavers installed, it's essential that you do what you can to keep those pavers in place. Much of that relies on proper installation, of course, but you can help prolong the driveway or patio's life by contacting the paver company when you see something out of the ordinary.
Have Them Sealed After Installation
First, have them sealed after installation. If the company that installed the pavers doesn't seal them (unusual, but possible), you should be able to find a company that will do it. The sealant will prevent water from soaking into the brick. If there's too much moisture in the brick paver, and the temperature drops below freezing, then that moisture can freeze. Remember that ice expands, which means the paver will crack. It's possible that one paver will end up sticking up above the rest of the pavers once that happens; it depends on where the crack is.
Be Careful What Lands on the Pavers
Pavers are installed with a sand and gravel base that provides a really solid foundation that holds the pavers where they should be. However, if you drop something excessively heavy on the pavers, you could break them or force a section of them out of alignment. You have to be careful what lands on the pavers. If you're holding heavy pruning shears, for example, those could chip some of the pavers. Dropping a very heavy piece of furniture could smash the pavers and push some of them out of their places.
Look out for Signs of Excess Moisture
In addition to sealing the pavers so that they can't absorb moisture that might freeze, you want to look out for excessive moisture around the pavers as well. If moisture gets into the sand base, for example, that too can freeze and expand on cold nights or during freezing days, causing the pavers above it to shift. This is known as frost heave. If the installers create a base that drains well, frost heave will be less of an issue, but you must make sure that any moisture around the pavers drains away and that the area can dry thoroughly.
Contact the brick paver installation company to report any issues that may require replacing a paver or repositioning some of them. The company can take steps then to address the cause of the shifting and cracking, too.