Interlocking pavers are tiles made of concrete that simulate cobblestone paths. The individual interlocking pavers fit together to cover a deck, patio, walkway, driveway, or anywhere you might consider placing concrete or bricks. Since they use no mortar or grout, interlocking pavers are simple to install yourself and even easier to maintain.
Their beauty may initially attract a designer or homeowner to interlocking pavers, but this versatile building material has a lot more to offer. The pavers are constructed from poured concrete, so they are durable and resilient. The manufacturers add color to give the pavers the look of natural stone, like granite or slate. Yet concrete is far less expensive than shaped stone.
Interlocking pavers are available in a wide range of shapes, so you aren't bound to using different sized squares that mimic European cobblestone. For instance, a diagonal arrangement of rectangular tiles might create a herringbone pattern. Hexagons fit tightly together, as well. Some companies even customize pavers to whatever design you envision.
Laying interlocking pavers is so accessible to the homeowner that you can save on installation costs. First you dig the section you wish to pave to a depth of 2-4" (5-10 cm), depending on the tile's thickness. Then you place a thin layer of gravel and a thicker layer of sand to make the surface level. Set the pavers on top in the planned layout.
Instead of connecting the pavers, as you would tiles, by pouring grout between the joints, you merely tamp down fine sand particles. The sand stabilizes the interlocking pavers yet allows for some flexibility. In other words, this type of pavement will absorb stress such as small earthquakes, freezes and thaws, and slight ground erosion by shifting each tile a tad. Therefore, they will not crack or buckle like concrete.
The only special tool needed for installing interlocking pavers is a tamping machine called a vibrator. This actually vibrates the tiny spheres of sand until they are at their most compact. The sand doesn't easily wash out with rain or garden hose water. You can opt for an additional sealer, but many interlocking pavers come pre-sealed. A driveway would especially benefit from a sealer, as you won't want oil and tire marks to stain.