Paving Jointing

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Paving Jointing – History & Background

Since pre-history, whenever stone paving was first used and developed as a durable system and solution for hard surfacing in, around, and between urban populations, other than in the selection of the best types, sizes and build-up of stone, the first major advancement was in paving joint technology. This development was made not by the Romans, as often claimed, but much earlier and by the Minoans about 6,000 years ago, specifically it is believed, to ensure level surfaces for their pathways, roads, and hard standings, without trip hazards, and with ease of water run-off. The suitably filled joints ensured a smooth transition for the early wheeled and rolled traffic, etc., so the requirements in this respect were not unlike they are today.

This first huge technological step was made with the Minoan engineers development of a uniquely adaptable stone bedding and joint filling material that was a basic pozzolanic mortar.

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The raw materials for this were widely available to them because of the island’s volcanic past, as this type of mortar and this paving jointing application was originally invented on what is now modern Crete. This is also seen as the first and original creation of the pozzolanic building materials now collectively known as cementitious materials - concretes and other cement mortars (‘Con-Crete’ – You see the connection!).

Since this time the technology spread and their have been many developments in the types and sizes of stone used as paving elements, as well as in the mortars used for bedding and jointing them. The areas of use and the exposure in these paved areas has also continually developed and become more aggressive and severe, especially in terms of weathering in harsher climates than around the Mediterranean, plus far heavier loadings from vehicular traffic and chemical exposure from spillages including de-icing salts for example.

Paving Jointing – in the UK Today

Today, all around the UK and the rest of the modern world, cementitious (cement-based) materials are still the most widely used paving bedding and jointing materials, now usually including polymer modified cement mortars and prebagged materials on many sites to reduce site batching errors etc., for almost all types of paving. However, nowadays and in the modern context of time and cost pressures, skills shortages, and as always in the UK, the wonderful, and very un-Mediterranean British Weather, whilst still the best solution for bedding, ALL cement based mortars for paving jointing have some advantages for paving jointing, BUT also some serious disadvantages that we review in the following pages.

During the last 30 years there have also been many variations, mostly private label products that are pre-packed, pre-batched and ready-to-use Paving Jointing Compounds that have been introduced onto the market, originally these were called ‘Wide Jointing Compounds’ or ‘Brush-in Resin Compounds’ - and to be honest they are all very similar (as mostly private label products from just a few manufacturers), which are more correctly called ‘1-Part, Vacuum-packed, Polymeric Sand Jointing Compounds’. They consist of sharp sand win an acrylic polymer dispersion, vacuum-packed to prevent premature evaporation and hardening, basically the snd and acrylic polymer mix is provided in a sealed bag, in a protective pail, and to apply the bag is taken out, cut and then brushed over the paving into the joints, with some level of water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These are all very easy to use, and can work very well, on un-trafficked domestic paving – BUT they have important limitations and they can also have serious disadvantages.

Check the Exposure of Your Paving
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‘Buyer Beware’ with paving joint mortars - As always – the cheapest is not always the best, or the most durable product for sure – paving jointing requires horses for course! Therefore at NCc Streetscape, we try and clarify these things for you on this website.

NCC is totally independent and our business is very much focussed on Paving Jointing, plus a few ancillary products for Paving Cleaning and Paving Sealing – We have access to ALL global paving joint materials technologies, but it is very much horses for courses and in our professional opinion, the GftK range from Germany is undoubtedly the clear technology leader and provides the best solutions for application in difficult situations such as cold and wet weather, for joints with variable dimensions, and for subsequent exposure to weathering, traffic and/or frequent mechanical cleaning by jet-washing or even mechanical street cleaners.

In order to determine the best joint solutions for your paving project, we have prepared a summary of all the different materials available for paving jointing in the UK, please review the information here and on the following pages of this website, including the multiple Case Studies and references for the unique GftK products from all around the UK.

In the UK, the most widely used paving joint materials today include the following different paving jointing technologies. We have given a short introduction and description of each type below, together with a summary of their key advantages, limitations, and disadvantages. Unfortunately, and as mentioned elsewhere throughout this website, it is important to realise that there is no universal ‘one-size-fits-all’ paving joint mortar, and the many different types of paving elements, the variable service requirements and the resulting loadings and exposure, means that there cannot ever be just one. The specific requirements must be established for each project and the most appropriate jointing technology and products selected.

For more advice or assistance with your specific paving project, please call 01257 266696 for FREE Expert Advice during normal office hours, or you can email us at any time to: sales@nccstreetscape.co.uk and we will get back to you just as soon as we can. Thank you.