Sawn Top vs Hand Split Top Curbing
Granite has been used as curbing for over a 100 years, as you might imagine the technology to make curb has changed during that time period. The tools and techniques first used, consisted of different ways to split blocks of stone into long rectangular shapes and then hand work it so that you ended up with a piece of curbing. On some of the oldest pieces one side was left very rough because it was to be buried and would not be exposed, this obviously was a money saver. What makes an old piece of curb look "antique" is the wearing of the edges and face of the stones from cars and people as well as the hand splitting process used when the curb was produced. In the last 50 years sawing technology has been employed and all “new” curb has a very smooth or sawn top look. This type of curbstone is great for paving applications when a tight joint is desired.
Dark vs. Light
Like so many different granite products, reclaimed and salvaged curbing comes from many different quarries, hence the many color variations. In and around Boston where we get a lot of our paving material, some of the old quarries had a darker color than the newer curb you see today on city streets. The character of these stones is just incredible.
Curbing as Steps
One of the best repurposed uses of reclaimed standard curb is as steps. Standard curb, when laid flat, has a height of 7-8" and a tread depth of 16-18" which really makes a perfect step.
Curbing as Pavement
Reclaimed curb can be used in unique ways as an inlay. In the adjacent pictures the architect and contractor took pieces of slope curb (6”x12”x3-4’) and ripped it down the middle with a saw. The contractor then distressed the sawn edge and used it to frame this brick car park.
Slope curb generally is 4-6" x 12" x 1-6’ and length and is used in modern days in shopping plazas and other commercial parking areas. Because it is easier to handle and generally cheaper per square foot than standard curb, it makes a great material to repurpose as a paving material.
Standard curb generally is 16-18" x 7-8" x 3-10’ making it a very dramatic stone when used as a driveway apron or even as a patio.
Antique Granite Paving Blocks
When driving through New England, have you noticed the materials used to hold the soil back under an overpass? Take a look and you will see roughly square and roughly rectangular granite blocks. These make a great path, patio or driveway.