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DO-IT-YOURSELF : Smoothing Path for Paving

February 29, 1992

Some paving materials are natural, some are made by man. Here's a rundown of both types from Remodeling Ideas magazine, plus tips on estimating quantities for an outdoor paving project:

* Bricks. For walks and patios, they should be pavers or patio bricks. In some locations, owners of homes will need to purchase a severe-weather grade to withstand freezing and thawing. The following is a simple formula for determining the correct number of bricks to use: multiply the square footage of the surface to be covered by 4.5 if using mortar, and by 5.2 if not using it.

* Stone. Comes in several forms. Flagstone is split into thin slabs, rubble is uncut, and aslar is either rough- or square-cut. Each is available in a variety of colors, shapes and weights.

* Tile. Laid on a concrete base, it can make an elegant path or patio. Just make sure the tiles do not have a shiny surface that becomes slippery when wet. In cold climates, use only unglazed quarry tile with a water-absorption rate of less than 5%. Mosaic, paver and quarry tiles are suitable for outdoor use.

* Wood. It is versatile. Create an all-wood walkway or combine wood with other materials. It can also serve as an edging to contain loosely laid materials, such as bark or gravel. Redwood and other rot-resistant woods, such as cypress and cedar, are good choices. Pressure-treated woods also hold up well.

* Concrete. It is the workhorse of outdoor surface materials. It is nothing more than the right combination of aggregate (crushed rock or gravel), sand, cement and water. Concrete is durable but not necessarily dull--it can be colored, veneered with colorful aggregate, or used to break up uninteresting expanses by having rot-resistant lumber between sections.

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