I'm often pestering my Unilock territory manager with various questions about their product line. I will often ask, how did this colour come about? Who came up with this colour? Where is this product made? and many more. One afternoon, we were discussing various topics and the subject of new products came up. My territory manager explained to me that they have quite a bit of influence when it comes to new products and colours. The next question I had for him was about Northshore. I asked, "Who came up with Northshore at Unilock?" He went on to say that it came out of their many sales meetings. The territory managers were meeting and talking about new products, many ideas were bandied about but in the end they wanted a stone with a slight texture on the surface, tight joints, have 3 sizes. The edges would have a slight distressed look, no where near the level of Brussels Block, closer to Antara's edge profile. The paving stone would be 80mm/3 1/8" thick and was first marketed as, The Ultimate driveway stone. Oh, and did I mention it's EnduraColor?
With that being said, Northshore is a great paver for driveways but it's used for a lot of patios and walkways. The 2012 hardscaping season was a banner year for Northshore, a large percentage of those installations were patios and walkways, so don't think this it's just for driveways, because it's definitely not. Because of the popularity, Unilock is adding 2 colours for 2013, Granite Blend and Java, Sunset Beach is being deleted. The salmons and red's have definitely been going the way of the dodo in the Unilock catalogue, being replaced by more sophisticated colours. Three colour mixes such as Almond Grove and Valley Grey, my personal favorites, are here to stay. The addition of Granite blend is a good addition and this this new Java colour looks very interesting, it will be a ton fun doing Northshore in 2013, that's for sure.
With that little history lesson now behind us, the homeowner on this project wanted to update their driveway. Another item on their wish list was to increase the patio size in the back. The existing deck in the back would be reduced in half and the remaining area filled in with paving stones. Another small change was to straighten the edge of the front walkway, removing a curve. The homeowners did the dance, as everyone does, should we go with this stone or another, decisions, decisions! The two choices came down to, Brussels Block or Northshore. Upon meeting at my local stone dealer the decision was made, Northshore, in Almond Grove colour would be their choice. This is a fairly common situation with the homeowners we deal with. The cheapest product does not always win out. Many decisions are weighed when the final decision is made but the value of EnduraColor and EnduraColor Plus pavers is a significant deciding factor. I have a full article with my thoughts on EnduraColor, All about EnduraColor.
The old driveway stones were 60mm thick. The new stones are 80mm thick. A significant upgrade. Many homeowners across the Greater Toronto area are facing this current situation. Driveway's installed during the late 1980's and early 1990's are starting to need some tlc. What do they do? Is it a total redo, partial repair, complete lift and relay. After working on hundreds of driveways the best answer I can say is, it all depends. Sorry if that's a cop out but it really does. It depends on the condition of the paving stones and the condition of the granular base. The cost of repair vs new has to be weighed. For this particular project the old stones were removed and sent off for recycling. Granular material was added as needed. Some regrading was done and the new stones were installed. After compacting, cutting and adding polymeric sand the final driveway looks fantastic. I have to say the colour mix on this project, Almond Grove, is one of my personal favorites. I like to describe Almond Grove as soft , subtle and sophisticated. So in the end is Northshore the ultimate driveway stone? The answer is, No. If you're looking for a paving stone with light embossed surface, edge texture, tight joints, multiple sizes with multiple patterns, 4 colours, EnduraColor, Northshore hits it out of the park.
Materials used on this project:
Paving Stones: Unilock, Northshore, Almond Grove
Edging: Unilock, Brussels Block, Sandstone
Polymeric Sand: Unilock, Tan