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A segmental paver is a construction and home renovation specialist who installs flat segments of brick, concrete, or other stone-like building materials. Segmental pavers work in a variety of settings, but the majority of them work in the home improvement or construction industry. They are responsible for the planning, cutting, and laying of paving materials used to create walkways, patios, and even driveways.
The first part of a segmental paver's job duties is preparing and framing the work area. All topsoil shifts and settles with changes in weather and climate. Regional climate differences force segmental pavers to deploy different techniques in order to perform their job duties properly. Regions with a large number of rainfalls, for instance, would be better served by using a gravel base instead of a sand base.
Segmental pavers inspect the ground for instability and, when applicable, drain weak, soaked soils. Water and moisture are the biggest threats to the stability of a paving project, which is why many pavers consider the first steps in the process the most crucial of them all. It is far more expensive and time-consuming to repair shoddy craftsmanship than to do the job properly the first time.
The next part of a paver's job involves the cutting and setting of the segments. Correct spacing and alignment is absolutely critical at this point in the project. Filling the spaces between the stones is the final step in the paving process which involves the use of more sand or gravel in order to hold the pavers in place over the entire lifespan of the project. Aesthetics is something to consider when choosing a filler to use. Often, regional climates dictate which filler segmental pavers are able to use, despite a client's wishes.
The day-to-day activities briefly listed above represent only the most basic job description of segmental pavers. Designing and planning a project properly involves creating complex blueprints in order to consistently deliver the best craftsmanship possible. This facet of the job consists of the use of special software applications in addition to old-fashioned drafting strategies similar to the work of an architect. Many of the most successful pavers have a strong background in architecture and computer-aided design software.
Segmental paving involves working outdoors the majority of the time. As such, prospective pavers must have the physical fitness necessary to remain outdoors in the elements for many hours at a time. Likewise, the construction materials of paving projects can be quite heavy, thus requiring pavers to have the agility and strength necessary to handle these materials safely.
Some work may take place indoors as well. In an office setting, segmental pavers coordinate their projects and handle all of the paperwork involved in the construction industry such as applying for building permit and looking at blueprints.
Similar to other specialized trades, segmental pavers learn their craft on-site by assisting a master paver on many different projects. The level of work responsibility dictates the amount of hands-on training necessary to perform the job. For instance, an entry-level segmental paver may only focus on the cutting and laying of pavers, relegating the planning and supervising to a project manager.
The educational path to becoming a segmental paver involves studying construction technology. In addition to vocational training programs and on-site job experience, prospective segmental pavers must be highly self-motivated individuals with a passion for construction and home renovation. Segmental pavers are artisans who apply their creativity on a daily basis.