With the proliferation of interlocking paving stones across the Greater Toronto Area many of those older installations are starting to need some tlc. We are seeing many homeowners contacting us to repair their driveways, walkways and patios. We see a lot of this older paving stone, Unilock's old Unicobble/Uni-Decor. This stone saw a long production life, uni-cobble was introduced in 1973 and was phased out somewhere around 1995 or 1996. I can't remember the exact date but it was somewhere around this time, that means unicobble had a huge production life. There's millions of square feet of this stone in the ground that is not looking so good these days.

On this particular project the homeowner didn't want to replace their entire driveway just yet. As you can see from the pictures below, this is a big driveway and the bill to replace it would be equally as big. So what are the options? We could pick up and set back specific areas, unfortunately this driveway had so many areas with different settlement we decided to repair the whole thing.

The process is fairly straightforward, all the stones are lifted and set aside. Base work involves adding granular material as needed. We add our 1" sharp sand bedding layer and we're off to the races. The stones are cleaned and re-installed, sounds easy right? This is where things get interesting. Even with our best efforts the paving stones never go back in exactly the same way they came out. The issue always involves the edge and some oddities with the original installation involving the pattern. Will we have to re-cut the edge and if so, do we use old stones or new stones. Are there enough old stones so do the cuts. If new stones are needed is this size and colour still made and readily available. On this project how we handled this dilemma by replacing the complete border stone. The left over stones would be used for all the cutting.

It was close but in the end we were still short stones. Fortunately, this stone is still available so that wasn't an issue. There are always some things that make me scratch my head and this job was no different. The border stones or as we call it, the soldier course, was inconsistent. One side had a soldier course, the other, no soldier course and one edge had a triple soldier course. We remedied that by running a single row of Unilock, Series 3000 Black Granite around the whole edge, unifying the design.

Many contractors just don't want to do this type of work, it's not pretty enough for their portfolio, they only want to do new work, etc. I am seeing many a homeowner struggling with this dilemma. The new vs repair costs need to be weighed. What condition are the current paving stones in? Does the base need to be totally rehabilitated? We have embraced this type of work and do many repairs every season. Contact me if you need this type of work done.

Products used on this project:

Border paving stones: Unilock, Series 3000, Black Granite

Edge Restraints: Snapedge

Polymeric Sand: Evolution, Sable Marco

Driveway Ruts Lifting up all those stones Standing water, this is bad Standing water, this is bad Paving stones re-installed Series 3000 border going in Paving stones re-installed Paving stones re-installed Paving stones re-installed

About the Author

Garry Reisky

Garry Reisky is the owner of Terraform Contracting. A landscaping and hardscaping contractor located in Toronto, Ontario. Terraform designs and installs residential hardscape and landscapes. Garry is a hardscape expert with extensive installation and product knowledge. Garry is an unofficial Rock(et) Scientest and self proclaimed guru of everything Enduracolor. Find Garry on Google+. Tired of dealing with inexperienced contractors, Contact Garry for a free estimate.