To many people block paving manufacturing is about as exciting as looking at a brick wall.
But to us it is exciting! And we’re going to share a bit of that enthusiasm and excitement with you.
Don’t click away until you spot the offer!
Concrete blocks come in many shapes, sizes and colours.
For designers this is great!
Imagine a world where only grey concrete blocks existed and imagine further that they were all the same size.
Siberian Gulag spring to mind?
The range of shapes, size and colour enable a variety of patterns to be created. However, the modern driveway trend seems to be of slight contrasts between colours rather than drastic colour changes that were once popular. This may be attributable to block size or purely consumer choice of conformity of fitting in, rather than standing out.
Block Paving Manufacturing – How are they so durable? (Psst: It’s all in the mix)
Raw materials – Aggregate, Cement, Water, Colouring and Admixtures
The admixtures are chemicals that are used to increase concrete strength and reduce efflorescence (blocks turning whitish) after curing (more on curing below.)
Like any manufacturing process high quality controls ensure consistency.
What would be the point of having different strengths or colour blends of of blocks?
Consistency is key. Quality is the ultimate (or should be) objective and this can be effected by altering the mix or using cheaper raw materials. Take note manufacturers in pursuit of the £ as lowering quality will have more than an adverse PR effect in today’s modern digitally enabled consumer world!
Block Paving Manufacturing – How is consistency is achieved?
Modern computerised mixing systems ensure the right proportions of the raw materials are mixed at the right time. This mixtures are added to molds and the larger the end size block the lower the number of blocks produced from one mold. So depending on the size of the mold that the mixture is put into; will determine the size of the batch.
Block paving manufacturing – Strength and Durability
High strength is enhanced by vibrating molds. This has the effect of binding materials at almost a molecular level. To us, this is an amazing part of the manufacturing process. This ensures block paving will be able to withstand extreme compression, and this is important.
Think about it, for a moment.
Some block paving surfaces take extreme pressure on just a few blocks. Regardless of how blocks are layed each block must be able to take many thousands of pounds per square inche (PSI.)
Block paving Manufacturing – Curing
Curing is the process of drying out. Blocks can either be cured in a room which confines heat or blocks are simply cured in the open. The method used is relative to the type of production machine used. More on machinery another time.
Curing Key Objective: Retaining heat from hydration and ensuring minimal water loss. This makes stronger blocks.
Block Paving Manufacturing – What can effect the colour of concrete blocks?
Without getting chemical about it just think of high school or secondary school chemistry lessons. Remember organic and inorganic compounds?
Remember being a child?
Anyway, in terms of block paving organic compounds produce the brighter colours but, and it’s a big BUT…the organic nature of these compounds means that UV will penetrate. This leads to fading blocks (which is not good.) On the other hand, inorganic compounds are more resilient to fading (this is good.)
Increasingly, some block manufacturing processes use natural granite to create a sparkly effect – which is nice! Everybody likes sparkle don’t they?
Back to colour…
The intensity of colour is going to be affected by the colour of cement used and ratio of mixes and the curing process. So hats off to those engineering bods that manufacture block paving in such a variety of blends and to such levels of consistency! Pastel pink and lemon on the horizon?
Block Paving Manufacturing – High Traffic Area (no high visibility vest though!)
Have you ever noticed that some older block paving driveways have faded strips where vehicles have been parking year after year in the same spot? Thought so. This is down to the top layer of colour rubbing off the blocks.
There are of course concrete blocks available that are manufactured for high wear and if high traffic is anticipated, these are a must.
The manufacturing process can reduce the effect of wear by using different sizes of aggregate layered into each block. Logically a larger aggregate on the top layer will take longer to wear. So as long as adequate colour pigmentation is added at the point of manufacture the effects of wear can be reduced.
Exciting Block Paving Manufacturing Take Aways
- Block paving is great!
- Modern Block paving designs use less colour contrast and more subtle blends….and finer particle combinations of materials such as granite….for the extra sparkle
- Cheap scrimping on block manufacturing raw materials causes public relations headaches for block manufacturers and dissatisfaction amongst consumers
- ‘Avoid cheap block paving or pay twice‘, is a Driveway Wise Saying – One to remember
Submit you block paving story. Short or long, good or bad, funny or sad!
We’ll review it and publish it!
But we’re especially interested in those stories that have a happy ending! CLICK HERE to submit
Some popular Block Paving Manufacturers include:
There are many others…too many to add! What have your experiences been like with the manufacturers? Tell us!