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Stepstone’s Most Frequently Asked Questions

For over 50 years Stepstone has been a leading manufacturer of hard rock precast concrete products. During our company’s history our product line has expanded to include Pavers, Stairtreads, Wall and Pilaster Caps, and Pool Coping – all in an assortment of sizes, finishes, and colors. Over the years we’ve been able to address our customers’ questions through experience, research, and empirical testing. Stepstone has compiled the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for your convenience, interest, and review. We hope you find this information helpful; for additional assistance please feel free to call us or use the website’s contact form.

Q. How do I install:
  • Pavers?
  • Pavers for vehicular use – commercial and residential?
A. Pavers can be either mortar set or sand set. Mortar set pavers follow the guidelines set forth in The CTMA Handbook, found on our website. Sand set pavers follow ICPI guidelines; here is a link to the ICPI Resource Library. For Stepstone Pavers, , and Pavers for vehicular purposes please refer to the Three Part Specifications Installation section for each of the products. You will find these in the Brochures and Resources Section of our website here or in the individual products' sections of

Q. How is your manufacturing process different than other paver companies?
A. Most pavers are made with a machine (dry cast); Stepstone pavers are handmade (wet cast). Customers appreciate the beauty and unique artisanal quality of our handmade, hand finished product.

Q. Do you offer custom colors?
A. Yes, our handmade, wet cast manufacturing process enables us to offer integral custom color options in addition to our versatile and popular 12-Standard colors.

Q. Are your pavers vehicular rated or H-20 rated?
A. Let's first clarify that the H-20 designation does not pertain to on grade pavers.
Yes. We do have paver sizes that meet ICPI's aspect and plan ratios for vehicular use. These are Stepstone Narrow Modular Pavers in the 9" and 12" sizes.

Q. Are Stepstone Pavers Fire truck rated?
A. Our research indicates there is no specific fire truck rating or emergency vehicular requirements for an on grade paver. We do know the following: Section 40 of the DOT/CALTRANS specifications for concrete pavement say that “Modulus of rupture used to determine the minimum cementitious content or maximum water to cementitious materials ratio must be at least 570 PSI at 28 days age and at least 650 PSI at 42 days age.” In plain English that translates to about 4000 PSI; Stepstone pavers exceed this compressive strength. The ICPI recognizes aspect and plan ratios in their vehicular requirements; Stepstone’s Narrow Modular Pavers in the 9” and 12” sizes comply. Requirements for PSI and other attributes are determined on a project by project basis.

Designers are sometimes concerned about H-20 or HS-20 ratings with regard to fire trucks and emergency vehicles. The H-20 or HS-20 from AASHTO refers to axle configurations used to express the extreme load effect created by heavy vehicles such as transports, buses, and fire trucks. Those calculations are then used to determine the bending and shear acting on a bridge or other suspended segment as the vehicle passes over. To our knowledge, paver systems installed on a fully supportive base do not span nor are they suspended, therefore the application of H-20 or HS-20 loading does not apply.

Q. Are your pavers suitable for areas with freeze thaw conditions?
A. Yes. Please refer to our Sealing Your Product document for more information.

Q. What are the best practices for Stepstone Pavers used in freeze thaw conditions with heating beneath them?
A. Please review our article called Use of Heating Under Paver Installation for concerns, restrictions, and limitations with this type of installation.

Q. Can de-icing agents be used on Stepstone Pavers?
A. Yes. Of the three chloride based de-icing agents calcium chloride and sodium chloride are typically less severe than magnesium chloride. CMA's (calcium magnesium acetates) are also popular de-icing agents however it is our understanding that CMA's are probably just as detrimental in terms of chemical attack of the concrete. Calcium chloride and sodium chloride can both contribute to scaling, especially when the concrete cycles between wet and dry, but the damage is generally less. Of these de-icing agents, scaling is usually less for sodium chloride than it is for calcium chloride, but this depends to some extent on the amount of deicing salt used and the quality and composition of the concrete. Chloride-based deicing chemicals can also exacerbate other types of deterioration (like corrosion or ASR -Alkali Silica Reactivity).

Q. How do I clean my pavers?
A. Use a mild powder detergent, a scrub brush, and water. You may want to read our piece on Cleaning Stepstone's Precast Concrete Products.

Q. How do I remove efflorescence?
A. The white powdery residue on the surface of concrete or other masonry after it comes in contact with moisture is called efflorescence. This is a very common occurrence and can be removed by following the steps outlined in our paper called Efflorescence Happens.

Q. What kind of sealer should be used on Stepstone’s Products?
A. Sealers will vary from region to region across the US as a result of climate, environmental regulations, and other factors. Therefore we do not recommend any particular products. You can feel free to call us and we would be able to confirm whether or not we are familiar with a manufacture or brand name you may have found for use in your local area. For more information on sealing your precast concrete please refer to our write-up on Sealing Your Product.

Q. Are your pavers permeable?
A. Stepstone offers a number of solutions for water reclamation. Our standard paver is not permeable however when used with a 1/8" T-spacer the wider joint line allows for permeability between standard pavers.
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