Everything You Need to Know About Supported Pavers
Elevated, pedestal, and supported pavers are all terms used to describe an assembly method for pavers which creates space, commonly called the plenum, between the bottom of the paver and whatever surface is below. This assembly is most often used for rooftop terraces, decks, and pools to properly manage water and protect the roof while creating an aesthetically pleasing and usable space.
A typical supported paver assembly with and integrated ThermaPANEL system
There are many different methods and systems available to support elevated pavers. Perhaps the most versatile and widely adopted support system is the adjustable screwjack pedestal. Screwjack pedestals support the corners or edges of a paver creating an elevated and stable base. They also have built in spacer tabs that provide uniform joint spacing and act as a locking mechanism to prevent the pavers from moving. These pedestal supports can range in height from less than an inch to a few feet, and can be fixed or adjustable within certain ranges. There are dozens of manufacturers that each sell their own versions of the screwjack support and some even have unique leveling or pitch compensation systems.
With all the benefits of supported pavers, they do come with some drawbacks. Trying to heat and cool elevated pavers can be a challenge. Because the pavers are decoupled from the roof, they capture and hold heat from the sun. A terrace or patio constructed of elevated supported pavers may seem like a nice place to be in the summer, but these spaces are often untenable because the surface of the pavers are so hot. We have talk about this phenomenon and how to prevent it in How Hot is Too Hot.
Pedestal supported paver rooftop patio in Brooklyn, NY which requires cooling
For heating and snow melting, traditional radiant systems lack the proper design to accommodate for elevated supported pavers. A proper radiant system should provide even energy transfer for optimal efficiency. It also needs standalone insulation to prevent back loss and ensure that the energy is sent to the paver and not to the air space below. Furthermore, some modularity is required to allow access to the space below for maintenance, cleaning, etc. For reasons as to why you should consider heating or snow melting supported pavers, check out these two posts: Building Codes: Snowmelt and Egress, Adding New Dimensions to Architectural Design.
Supported paver deck at the summit of Snowbird Resort
Rooftop decks, plazas, and terraces are fantastic ways to maximize usable space. If you are considering heating or cooling options for your supported paver project, contact us to discuss the options. Download our brochure for more detailed information on our product and systems, as well as installation instructions and finished project examples.