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Tips from Milano Pavers

April 14th, 2009 · No Comments

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As we all ride along on that vast economic roller coaster in this country, every now and then we experience the occasional plunge. Our stomach shoots into our throat as the real-estate market grinds to a halt, investors lose confidence and stop spending, and it appears evident that we have hit hard times. But…in its efforts to preserve symmetry, the universe has presented us with a flipside. As recession begins to tighten its grip on everyone’s budgets, the entire construction industry has begun to slash margins translating into immediate savings for the end consumer (i.e. You). The opportunity for such a tangible investment has only recently been this close within reach.

This very opportunity comes with perfect timing as the stock market continues its stabilization without remorse or regret, causing both homeowners as well as sporadic market investors to look inward towards more visible and less risky investment venues. Investing in a tangible asset such as one’s home increases both the long-term value of the property and succeeds at creating one’s personal oasis in their back yard. Even if you have the intention to sell the house, a beautiful paved or flooring improvement will definitely increase the value and curb appeal of your home, guaranteeing a much faster sales turnaround.

As with nearly any investment, a proper understating of the variables within any industry where we want to deposit our hard-earned salaries is a must to achieve our goal. The outdoor remolding world, and specifically, the “pavering” industry, has been around since clay and concrete was discovered and has not stopped evolving since. For many years the paving industry was highly fractured and for the most part, dominated by small installers working from the back of their trucks. The majority of these installers were able to offer competitive pricing since obtaining the proper licensing, insurance or, more important than anything, commitment was not a primary concern. Many of these individuals tainted the industry by doing subpar work and, in several cases, taking the deposits and doing no work at all. At the opposite end of the paving spectrum, are large general contracting firms with no particular specialty. As the economy began to become more strained and in an effort to remain afloat, many of these large firms began to snatch up all the potential business that they could. However, without a specialty or expertise in the paving industry, many of the projects undertaken by these companies didn’t have the right ingredients and as a result, the structural as well as the artistic aspects of the final product were consistently off. As a result, the demand for specialized paving contractors was imminent.

On this basis, and when you are ready to undertake a paver’s project at home, do your homework. Remember that it is essential to research any potential installers in order to ensure quality, craftsmanship, and peace of mind. One method for ensuring quality of workmanship as well as professional courtesy is to choose an ICPI certified installer. The primary reasoning behind this is that the ICPI requires all members to attend continuing educational programs to keep up to date on industry standards, codes, and practices. Furthermore, all ICPI members have years of experience within their industry. Another way to objectively determine what installer to choose is by making sure that they are part of the “Better Business Bureau”. This agency will give each company a “rating” based on company credentials, history, claims and reputation. Ask for insurance agreements and general contractor licenses. It is in your best interest to avoid installers who are working from the back of their trucks. Additionally you can ask to visit a “showroom”, which is generally a tangible way to verify if indeed the installers are real and serious about conducting business. Choosing intelligently and safely can save you time and money, as well as ensure peace of mind that your project is in good hands and will stand the test of time.

It is also very important to be aware of the material options you have for your project. Because there are so many options that are available, choosing the appropriate materials for your project is essential to produce the desired effect or your improvement. Below you will find some of the more common classes of pavers:

· Concrete Pavers – Considered perhaps the most versatile paver surface, concrete pavers are an affordable alternative to any paved or solid surface. The Pavers are produced locally out of recycled aggregates, concrete and sand making them durable, sustainable, and nearly maintenance free. Interlocking concrete pavers are available in a myriad of shapes, colors and sizes, adding essential curb appeal to virtually any home.

· Clay Bricks – Although they can be produced from a variety of materials such as shale, soft slate and calcium silicate, Clay Brick imparts a timeless appeal to homes of nearly any style. Traditionally manufactured in 4×8 pavers, clay bricks are available in both 1” and 2 3/8” making them ideal for driveways, walkways and patios.

· Natural Stone – the Cadillac of the paver world, stone pavers add elegance and class to any home. Quarried from a variety of locations, many different forms of stone are available. Travertine, the most common natural stone paver, is formed in a plethora of colors and richness and will remain cool to the touch making it ideal for any pool deck or patio. Given its natural origins, natural stone pavers are considerably more durable than either clay or concrete pavers.

Now that you have the heads up as to the state of our industry, we are here to say that the time to act is now Remember, do your homework and look for reputation and peace of mind. You will be glad you did!

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