This new idea comes from two recent blog posts. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read the blog post about How They Built the Pyramids. Geopolymer is a subject I’ll be returning to again and again because it makes so much sense on so many levels. In addition, the blog post last week on CEB floors was a bit hit. (See Cheap and Easy Brick Floors.) The fabulous look, simplicity and durability of CEB pavers make them a top choice for flooring.
With these two ideas fresh in my mind, it just occurred to me that you could use geopolymer to cast pavers for floors and garden paths any size and shape you want. This would eliminate the need for a CEB press, use no cement and utilize 100% natural local materials. And the clincher for me? The material (loose limestone) turns to actual stone. Your floor would last indefinitely. You could remove pavers if necessary to access your radiant heat flooring. Old pavers could be recycled over and over again just like stone… because it is stone. All you’re doing is adding the binder to ‘glue’ the material back together. Brilliant, no? It’s certainly a step or two above ugly concrete.
Okay, so no system is perfect. Let’s briefly discuss some of the drawbacks and challenges involved with making your own geopolymer pavers. For one, you’d have to experiment a bit. Materials would vary – primarily the limestone and kaolin clay – and so you’d have to make a few samples to find out what works best. There are very few resources that describe in detail how to do this. You’d have to read what’s available from the Geopolymer Institute and work things out. So this is not an out of the box solution. Plus, you’d have to grind and polish the pavers if you wanted a refined look like in the image above. This isn’t necessary because the natural look of limestone is quite beautiful, but rough surface would be difficult to clean. I would try casting the pavers with extra moisture (like the lower blocks in the video mentioned above) and try for a smooth finish that doesn’t need grinding/polishing.
Image credit: White Hall