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Buyer Beware! Is Your Arizona Landscape Contractor An ICPI Certified Paver Installer?

With the current recession that plagues us; there is growing concern of the number of unqualified landscapers that are working within the landscape contracting industry.  Concern of unqualified landscape contractors is growing within many Homeowner Association Communities who are trying to uphold standards regarding landscapes within their communities to aid in maintaining home values in an already challenging housing industry.  HOA’s aren’t the only segment that this concern is growing among, many licensed, experienced landscape contractors and manufacturers of building materials are also being affected by unqualified “landscapers.” Professional landscape contractors are being undercut in bidding wars with these so called landscapers along with manufacturers are being affected by the bad name their product is getting because these “landscapers” will almost always blame the product not the installation when their work begins to turn bad.

There are numerous unlicensed, unqualified, uninsured landscape contractors within the Phoenix area that many homeowners are hiring to provide landscaping services especially in the area of concrete thin overlay landscape paver installations for new driveways, patio’s, sidewalks and pool decks.

Dream Retreats landscape paver pool deck

Landscape pavers are an alternate to poured concrete surfaces that provide brilliant color, shapes and sizes that can provide “curb appeal” and value to homeowners.  There are currently several different manufacturers here in the Phoenix area that produce superior products at reduced prices due to the collapse of the building industry.

The success of any landscape paver project depends on the willingness of the installer to install landcape pavers correctly.  This often seems to be  the big problem!  Almost all paver installations should be installed over 2″ of base material (referred to as ABC) that needs to be compacted with 1/2″ to 1″of finish sand over the ABC to provide a proper bedding platform on which the pavers rest.  To do otherwise results in project failure (heaving and shifting movements that look like ocean waves) that often gets blamed on the paver itself, when in fact it is the installation process.  If paver projects are installed correctly by a licensed, experienced contractor, they will provide a lifetime of beauty and functional service.

There are a flood of purported contractors that leave business cards on homeowner doors.  Many of these are people that have no business being in business.  The only attraction they present to the unsuspecting homeowner is the cheap price.  Many of the prices we see out there are below the cost of what a legitimate installer can charge, let along the idea of making a profit to enable them to stay in business.  Usually it takes a year or so for paver project failures to present themselves- by then the cheap-guy in long gone.  Try calling him to stop by to correct the problem – more than likely he is long gone and you are stuck with a mess.  The blame for these failures are then unfairly placed on the pavers themselves.

Dream Retreats landscape paver patio

Thankfully, there is an organization named “I.C.P.I. of Arizona” short for “Interconnecting Concrete Paver Institute” that can provide homeowners with certified and licensed contractors to call for bids.  Dream Retreats is a landscape contractor that serves the Phoenix  area that is ICPI Certified.  At Dream Retreats we have gone through the professional training and certification through the ICPI Institute.  We will provide to homeowners the professional proper installation of landscape pavers.

Landscape Pavers: Great Hardscape for Pool Decks & Patios

Are you tired of looking at your ugly gray concrete patio? Or how about your cracking and peeling pool deck coating?  Are you worried about the cost and mess involved in removing all that concrete in order to update your pool deck or landscape?  Well I have a great solution for you to beautify your front or backyard landscape or redo your pool deck without having to go through all the cost and hassle.  The latest products in the market are the new thin overlay paverslandscape pavers.  These pool deck landscape thin overlay pavers can be placed right over the top of your concrete patio or pool deck.  They can also be used to extend any patio or pool deck!

The best choices for pool decks are the new white cement thin overlay pavers from Arizona Block or the travertine pavers.  Both are cool on your feet, look great, and have coping pieces that finish around the pool without having to remove the pool deck or damage the tile or pool interior.

If you’re considering extending your current patio to create a larger outdoor living space, thin overlay landscape pavers are a great. The paver can be placed on the existing concrete and then extended out into the yard on a prepared crushed granite sub-base. This is a great way to beautify your current patio as well as achieve the appearance of a larger overall space since it’s all one type of material.

In either case, using thin overlay landscape pavers is a great way to improve your landscape patio, or pool deck without the hassle of removing the existing concrete.  Check out these jobs we did in Scottsdale and Chandler.

Thin Overlay Pavers for a patio & patio extension

Thin Overlay Pavers for a patio & patio extension

Thin Overlay Pavers used for a pool deck

Thin Overlay Pavers used for a pool deck

Artistic Landscape Pavers: Backyard Landscaping in Arizona

There is a new trend that is quickly becoming a well established alternative for Valley homeowners who are looking have pool remodeling done for their pool decks, patios and landscaping. Homeowners doing Gilbert landscaping to Scottsdale, Ahwatukee to Mesa and all towns in between are realizing what a great alternative specialized landscape pavers are when considering what materials to use to renovate their old worn out pool deck. If you’re not familiar with the term specialized artistic landscape pavers read on and learn how they are different from traditional pavers as well as traditional cool deck or acrylic deck coatings and why they are a better choice for people looking for pool remodeling for their pool deck or their patio; or even their entire landscape.  Or you can go to our Pavers Designs page for more detailed info.

Pool Remodeling with Landscape Pavers in Arizona

Poured concrete with either cool deck or the newer acrylic deck coating has long been the standard throughout the Phoenix Arizona area.  As these decks age, they crack and de-laminate (this is a fancy term for peeling off).  Go look at your own or your neighbors pool deck and you won’t have to look hard to see the evidence of this.  In the past, Phoenix area homeowners choices have been limited to either removing the entire pool deck, a very costly option since not only does the concrete need to be broken up and hauled off but most of the times the pool tile is damaged in the process and has to be repaired,  or grinding off the existing deck coating and replacing it with one of the  acrylic deck coating products on the market.  Although, these newer deck coating products, usually called “acrylic deck coating” are superior to the traditional “cool deck” they too will eventually crack and de-laminate leaving you back in the same spot only a few years from now.   Well enough of the bad news about the old pool deck options, let’s look at why specialized pavers are such a great option for your pool remodeling, patio and landscape.

Top Reasons to Use Landscape Pavers for Your Pool Remodeling or Landscape Renovation

There are 5 main reasons for using thin overlay landscape pavers for your pool, patio and landscape renovation. First, you don’t need to go to all the hassle and cost of removing the old pool deck when you are remodeling or resurfacing your pool. Second, you can correct any standing water or run off problems. Third, you can easily extend the pool deck or patio past its current layout and even join up two separate areas to create a great new outdoor living space. Fourth thin overlay pavers won’t crack or delaminate like traditional concrete decks.  Fifth and maybe the most important of the five reasons, the new style that can be created with pavers.

Pool Remodeling or Landscaping with Pavers: Installation

Let’s take a look at the installation process.  First, a bull nose coping paver is thin set in place at the water’s edge and then a matching tile is applied to the cantilever face of the deck. This not only gives a really nice look at the water edge but it also covers up the face of the pool deck so no old deck will show. Next a thin layer of mortar sand is laid down over the old concrete deck and the pavers are set on the sand. Finally all the outer perimeter of the deck area is thin set to hold it all in place.  It’s during this process that any grading or drainage problem that you had on your old pool deck or patio can be corrected. By applying more or less sand to the concrete, the new paver can be pitched so water will run off as needed.   You can also decide to extend the pool deck or patio beyond its current layout without pouring new concrete.  By preparing the new area to be extended with crushed granite to the same grade as the existing concrete you simply extend the pavers past the old layout.  Then the new perimeter is set in mortar. Finally the pavers are “sanded” which means brooming sand over the entire surface of the new deck. The sand will fill the very small lines between the pavers and lock all the pavers in place.

As mentioned above, one of the greatest benefit of installing pavers over old concrete or for a new patio is they won’t heave, crack or de-laminate. The overlay pavers are “floating” on top of the old deck and any movement underneath won’t result in cracks. At worst if the movement from expansive soils is bad enough the section affected will only have to be lifted up re-graded and reset.

Styles of Pavers for Pool Remodeling and Landscape Design

Finally and maybe most importantly is the great new style that can be achieved by using any of the popular choices of the specialized landscape pavers.  The three most popular choices are Travertine, Marbella, and Artistic pavers. Travertine, a natural stone is available in many colors and can be set in a variety of patterns such as Herringbone or Versailles.  Marbella, the coolest of the three choices and also a natural stone is also available in a variety of patterns.  Artistic Pavers are a manufactured product made in Casa Grande that were primarily introduced to the Phoenix area because of the growing demand for an alternative to the traditional concrete pool decks.  All three choices are also as cool or cooler on your feet as the traditional cool deck product.