Types of paving materials
There is no shortage of paving materials that suit different budgets, uses, and tastes, and that provide endless possibilities in terms of visual effects. In Jordan, the options for paving materials include the following:
Concrete paving surfaces are locally manufactured, readily available, and moderately priced. They provide highly durable surfaces that offer a wide range of shapes, textures, and colors. In Jordan, the following types of concrete pavers are available:
Pre-cast concrete tiles generally are inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. The roughly textured tiles are created through the addition of aggregates of different sizes to the concrete mix.
Interlocking concrete tiles are relatively small thick paving units that create interlocking geometric patterns when placed together. Because of their interlocking nature, which tightly bonds them together, they do not require mortar. Also, unlike most other paving systems, they do not require an under-bedding of reinforced concrete, but may be placed directly on a compacted layer of sand and a layer of gravel. A major advantage of this system is that it allows for the relatively easy removal and reuse of tiles.
Cast-in-place concrete may be used to pave areas of just about any shape or size, without the need to transport finished concrete tiles to the site. Cast-in-place concrete surfaces also may be made to resemble other paving materials such as stone or brick.
Stone is readily available in Jordan, which has quarries that produce very high-quality stones. Stone comes in a wide range of prices, and although initial costs for materials and installation are relatively high, it is a durable material for which maintenance costs are low. Moreover, the weathering of stone surfaces can produce attractive effects.
Stone may be cut into geometrically shaped paving pieces, or used as irregular pieces. Irregular stone paving tiles usually consist of leftover pieces from the cutting process, and therefore may be obtained at relatively low prices.
Ceramic tiles are produced locally and also are imported. They are relatively expensive in comparison to other paving systems. Ceramic tiles come in a wide variety of textures, colors, and sizes. When using ceramic tiles, buy extra quantities in case the need arises to replace any of the original tiles since the continuous availability of a given type is not guaranteed.
Brick tiles are produced locally and also are imported. The price difference between the locally produced and the imported is considerable, but both are relatively expensive. Brick tiles offer considerable flexibility in layout because of the small size of the individual units.
Mosaics are custom-made locally. They, however, are relatively expensive, and it therefore is advisable to limit their use to small areas. Since a mosaic surface consists of tiny cut-stone pieces, mosaics present infinite possibilities in terms of color, shape, size, and design. Jordan contains extremely impressive examples of historical floor mosaics from the Byzantine and early-Islamic periods that can provide sources of inspiration for contemporary patterns.
Inorganic loose materials provide a low-cost and simple-to-install alternative to the paving materials mentioned above. Inorganic loose materials come in a wide range of sizes. They may consist of decomposed granite, gravel, river run rocks, crushed terra cotta, or pumice stone (locally known as touf).
The life span for loose material surfaces differs according to frequency and type of use, but most surfaces generally require replenishment every now and then.
Keep in mind that although each of the paving materials mentioned above may be used separately, combinations of them also can create very attractive surfaces.