A plaza is a large open space that is available to the public. Plazas are often located in a public square or in urban areas, but they can also be integrated into a building’s rooftop or terrace as a space to gather. Since they are open to the public and see lots of traffic throughout their lifespan, the paver material must be durable and able to withstand lots of wear and tear from use and environmental conditions.
Plazas, especially those on rooftops and terraces, provide a beautiful and practical space to enjoy the outdoors, gather with friends, or just relax in the sunshine.
Plaza Paver Materials
There are a wide range of materials available for plaza pavers and each has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Concrete pavers are a popular material for plazas because they are an affordable and durable option. They require periodic maintenance — resealing every three to five years — and they can stain or crack. One disadvantage to concrete pavers is their weight. On a ground level plaza, this may not make much of a difference, but on a rooftop plaza, the weight may mean that the structure will need additional support to accommodate the weight.
One of the more expensive options, porcelain pavers work well in upscale applications. They are highly durable and stain resistant. However, because porcelain is shiny and slippery, it can be dangerous for rooftops, especially after it’s rained, though some porcelain tiles offer slip resistance. When installed over the existing material, porcelain pavers typically use a pedestal system for installation which can be complicated and time consuming.
Interlocking Wood Deck Tiles
Interlocking wood deck tiles provide a permanent or temporary solution for plaza flooring. For this type of flooring, pieces of wood are attached to a plastic backing and secured with screws. The plastic backing includes a place for the tiles to lock together, and they can be laid directly onto most existing flooring.
Depending on the type of wood you choose — teak, shorea, ipe, and eucalyptus are common — and the manufacturer, the tiles may come pre-stained and sealed and require little maintenance. The only tool necessary for installation is a jigsaw to cut the pieces to size.
Composite pavers are an extremely durable plaza paver material. Aspire pavers are lightweight and easy to carry, unlike concrete pavers that can weigh three times as much as composite pavers. They resist stains, scratches, and cracks that can cause other materials to look old and unkempt. The grid installation system makes creating patterns fast and easy, and composite pavers can be removed and repositioned easily.
Plaza Paver Installation Methods
Different plaza paver materials require different installation methods which are important to consider when making your final material choices.
On the Ground
Each of these paving materials can be installed directly on the ground, but the ground must be prepared in advance of installation. The area where the pavers are to be installed should first be cleared of grass and excavated to make room for the base material. Base material, usually gravel, is then laid in layers and compacted after each layer. Bedding sand is then laid on top of the gravel and is also compacted. Edge restraints can be installed before or after the pavers are laid.
Once the ground is prepared, the pavers can be installed directly onto the site or used with a grid system in the case of composite pavers, or plastic backing in the case of interlocking wood tiles.
On a Pedestal System
A pedestal system can be used overtop of the existing plaza decking material and can be used to create a level surface over an uneven or sloped base. Pedestal systems require the use of adjustable or fixed height pedestals that are placed at the four corners of each paver. If they are adjustable, the height should be set prior to placing the paver, but some pedestals can be adjusted even after the paver is placed.
On a Grid System
Using a grid system to install plaza pavers is a simple process that can be done by contractors and homeowners and doesn’t require as much effort as a pedestal system. It can be laid on the ground or over the plaza deck or existing material. Since it is laid directly on the base material, it will follow the slope of a rooftop or terrace plaza to facilitate drainage. If there are any undulations or irregularities on the surface, use shims to level the grid before placing the pavers
Choose Aspire for Peace of Mind
With a 10-year limited warranty and a lifetime no crack guarantee in residential applications, you can be sure that Aspire will create a long-lasting and beautiful plaza.
Aspire Pavers will transform your space into a plaza where people want to gather and linger, and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you’re designing a rooftop plaza or a street level plaza patio, Aspire can help you create the ideal design.
Contact the experts at Aspire today to begin designing your plaza.