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09-13-21 | Department

A Conversation With Unilock

Brad Swanson, PLA, ASLA, CDT, LEED AP

Why would a designer choose concrete pavers over other paving types?
Design flexibility. Concrete pavers offer a much broader range in styles, meaning sizes, finishes and colors, than other paving types and Unilock has an excellent stock selection. They can be used in a wide variety of spaces ranging from backyard patios to commercial streetscapes and plazas. For larger, commercial projects there are additional special-order options with more paver shapes/sizes, finishes and colors available for every budget. This selection allows us to manufacture products suitable for all applications where durability and longevity bring unmatched value to projects.

What are some new innovative technologies or products currently in the market?

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There has definitely been an evolution in technology over the last couple of decades. The original pavers from the '70s and '80s used one aggregate mix from top to bottom. Today, a face mix paver provides superior wearing over classic thru-mix pavers. Unilock currently manufactures eight different EnduraColora,,? face mix products. Some of these have additional EasyCleana,,? integral protection that makes dirt and stains easier to clean. Unilock strives to bring great new products to market, and one of the most innovative has been the U-CaraA(R) multi-face segmental retaining wall system. It has been a true game-changer in design flexibility for walls.

What market trends are happening in hardscape?
Since the start of Covid, the residential market has had a significant increase in demand for many building materials, including hardscape products. In the commercial marketplace, we are seeing increased demand for outdoor spaces including rooftop amenity spaces with slab and pedestal systems, as well as the advancement in permeable pavers systems. The link between those two is significant because it signifies users are driving the desire for those to be incorporated into their spaces. People want better, more aesthetically pleasing, functional outdoor spaces. Unilock has a unique footprint in that we can manufacture matching aesthetics for rooftop slabs and permeable pavers for a fully integrated site, delivering the design flexibility to mix and match sizes, finishes and colors.

Where and how are permeable pavers being utilized and what is their impact on projects?
The popularity of permeable pavers has increased steadily in both the residential and commercial markets. There are many well-documented advantages over traditional sand set systems. The most significant is the ability to capture and detain rainwater, and hopefully subsoil infiltration. For residential projects, communities are really stepping up on restricting increasing imperious surfaces to better manage lot runoff. Similarly, commercial projects significantly benefit from the volume control the permeable paver base offers. Permeable pavers are being used on various commercial projects ranging from large acres of parking lots to streetscapes, schools and offices for a variety of reasons including, reducing stormwater runoff, volume control, improving groundwater quality, supporting plant life, and creating aesthetic impact. Unilock offers more than a dozen permeable shapes with multiple finishes and colors.

How have concrete pavers impacted designs for projects such as streetscapes?
Concrete pavers play a more important role beyond just being a design element. Using concrete pavers not only offers a specific, desired aesthetic, but they also help define the limits for key business districts and become economic drivers for communities. Streetscape design is in a different place than it was 20 years ago. Modern streetscapes are more about creating a sense of place, a complete street, stretching from building face to building face. They include concrete pavers in the sidewalks, carriage walks and streets, offering affordability, durability and modern uniqueness. Streetscape redesign was already underway but the pandemic exposed the necessity for adaptable, functional outdoor spaces essential for economic and physical health.
Contact us to explore the possibilities.

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