What an Introduction - Beacon Hill Flagstone from Unilock

I've been following Unilock since the mid 1980's and I've seen a lot of new products come and go. Some have stood the test of time, and stayed in the product portfolio while others have seen, Barrie's second sale and are seen no more. In the past, a new product would be released in two or three colours for the first year than additional colours would be added depending on market conditions and demand.

Things all changed though when Thornbury was introduced. For Thornbury's introduction we saw that interlocking paving stone released in 6, that's right, 6 colours in the first year. I like the colour choices, unfortunately the dealers aren't huge fans of more sku's. That means, more storage requirements, fortunately Thornbury comes with all three sizes in one bundle so it's not too bad. This is known as a layered product, all 3 sizes are included in the bundle as layers, you can not purchase just one size. Unlike Northshore or Brussels block, which are bundled individually. You could use a single size in these 2 products but not so with a layered product like Beacon Hill Flagstone and Thornbury.

This limits laying patters slightly so it's something to keep in mind when choosing the right materials for your particular project. Obviously if you get creative with the pattern with multi sized products, you can run into problems. This will result in having too many or too few stones of a certain size. The installer has to keep an eye on the pattern and use an equal amount of sizes.

Here is a driveway and walkway that I took a look at. The homeowner wanted to increase the size of the walkway. Upon discussing the project I had to point out the pattern. The homeowner thought their project looked just fine until they took a really close look at the pattern. I pointed out that this pattern would be described as, crazy? The paving stones do not fit properly and look randomly placed, without rime or reason. Than small pieces were cut in to fill up all the gaps. If you look at the pictures below, I would call this installation just plain wrong.

DSC00746 DSC00747 DSC00748 DSC00749 DSC00750

So maybe a layered product is better because all three sizes are included and situations like the one above  could be avoided? Perhaps, but they have patterns in the catalogues for a reason. They are very accurate when ordering materials and should be used at all times. But, for now, the trend at Unilock is layered products, meaning all three sizes come within the bundle. 

Beacon Hill Flagstone from Unilock for 2013 is being released in .. wait .. 8 colours. That's right 8. There are 6 standard colours and what they are calling 2 premium colours. The 2 premium colours will be manufactured with white cement. Of course I've talked about white cement many times and in my EnduraColor article. But for those that haven't read that article. White cement, as compared to the traditional grey cement, makes pastel and more vibrant colours possible in concrete products. Grey cement tends to dull colours in concrete. The only way to achieve really vibrant colours is with white cement. The six standard colour are , Almond Grove, Desert Sand, Granite Blend, Java, Sierra, Sycamore. The two premium, white cement colours are cameo and sunrise.

From what I have seen the two new colours, Java and Sycamore look really good. I can't wait to use these colours installed. We do have a Java, Beacon Hill Flagstone project, in java,  to do, so stay tuned. Three sizes are available but there is only one word of caution. Currently Beacon Hill Flagstone is not suitable for driveway or vehicular traffic applications. This is because the paver is only 6cm thick. The large rectangle could snap under vehicular load, so no driveways. For a driveway stone, Northshore could be a consideration. The trend is towards larger format pavers, why not consider Beacon Hill Flagstone for your patio and walkway applications.

Unilock Thornbury, Small Update For 2013

As a follow up to my Thornbury Article, Unilock is making a slight change for 2013 to the Thornbury paver. All six colours will still be made, no change there. What they are changing is the joint size. What they introduced last year was a paving stone that could be used normally for your driveway, walkway, patio and pool decks, but could also be used as a permeable pavement. A permeable pavement has larger joints, usually, for it to be permeable the void space on the surface should be around 8%. More is, of course better but the joint size can't bet too large, and anything lower may make the performance for water infiltration suffer.

What you can see from the 2 pictures below Thornbury had small joints in these pictures. I took these pictures at Canada Blooms 2012. These pavers were brought in from New York. At this point last year, Thornbury was not being manufactured locally, hence the New York product. Fast forward a few months and Thornbury was in full production, being produced in Pickering but they made it in the larger joint size variation. Great for permeable installations but not as good as the thin joint for regular installs. After many installations and feedback from customers, one of the complaints heard over and over was that the stone eats Polymeric sand like crazy. I can certainly echo these complaints. A bag wouldn't go very far and Polymeric sand can get expensive. As usual Unilock listens to their valued customers and adjusts accordingly. Pemeable/Large joint Thornbury will still be around if you want it, most likely special order. Dealers will be stocking the thinner joint variant this year which makes me happy because many homeowners want a paving stone with a smaller joint.

Old Thornbury - Large Joints NEW Thornbury - Tight Joints NEW Thornbury - Tight Joints

Techniseal, Unilock Seminar - It's All About Training

I recently attended the Certified Applicator seminar sponsored by TechniSeal and Unilock and I must say it was excellent. The seminar focused on proper installation of techniseal polymeric sands and their line cleaner/sealers. All of the Unilock sealer/cleaners and polymeric sands are rebadged techniseal products. It was techniseal that invented polymeric sand so why not partner with the best. Although I"m not a full time applicator of sealers it's something we do, usually after a repair, and it increases every year. One of the biggest things I got out of this event is to always and I mean, always test a small area to see what the finished product will look like. 

One product that techniseal has is a sealer but it has a tint in it so it can bring back or change the colour of old paving stones and retaining walls. I would like to try this product on some old stones to see how much it changes the colour but I can also see some potential dangers in using it on some old pavers too. Remember that testing I mentioned earlier. This is a prime candidate for testing a small area and making sure the customer is happy with the end product before the whole project is done and there are potential issues. This product is called NuLook and there are four available colours, cognak, charcoal, honey and brick red. I would like to try it on a small area before going crazy on a large paver project.

Here is the video on NuLook from techniseal.

Random thoughts

Just last week this has been the second time a guy pulls up to the job we're working on and says. "Hey guy's I have a Hilti tool, come check it out" Ok so I'm a tool guy so I walk out to the guy's car and see what he has. As I said this has been the second time a guy has had a Hilti concrete demolition hammer. I'm not sure what model but it's interesting that it was a Hilti. Obviously a stolen tool. I told the guy I wasn't interested and he went on his way. I don't know where they come up with these tools but this thing was brand new, Never been used. Like I said.. random thoughts. Just some of the things that happen when we're working in the field.

Unilock - Town Hall Paving Stone - Endura Color Plus Goodness

Part of Unilock's 2012 new product launches is Town Hall. At first glance Town Hall looks very similar to Copthorne. I guess you chould say it's the big brother to Copthorne or perhaps you could say they're more like cousins. They're related but are slightly separated.

Town Hall is

  • 7cm. No more adjusting your bedding sand for different heights on soldier course applications.
  • It can installed normally, or it can be installed as a permeable pavement. Town Hall has 8% surface void space.
  • The size of a Chicago street paver.
  • Won't deteriorate like a clay paver.
  • Euduracolor Plus.
  • Reala surface textures.

Where should you use Town Hal?. My answer, Everywhere! Driveway, walkway, patios, it's all good. Now we have a fantastic looking old world paving stone that can be permeable. This is the perfect stone for downtown Toronto. I'm looking forward to doing some jobs with this one. Do you need a permeable paver parking pad. Contact me! Town hall patio/walkways too.

Town Hall 3 Colour Blend Town Hall 3 Colour Blend Town Hall Burgundy Red Burnt Clay Old Oak 3 Colour Blend