Your guide to tactile pavers

What exactly are tactile pavers?

Navigating the world when you can’t see properly is obviously going to be confusing, scary and somewhat risky – and that’s where the job of tactile pavers begins. Tactile pavers are also known as “tactile ground surface indicators”, and just like they sound, they provide safe access and utilisation for the vision impaired. An essential component of any pavement, tactile pavers are used throughout the world to aid the visually impaired in navigating stairs, footpaths, open public spaces, shopping centres, airports, bus stops and train platforms.

They are designed to warn vision impaired people about potential hazards and to convey important information about the environment that sighted people take for granted. For instance, tactile pavers can give directional guidance, warn people about a nearby hazard, notify people of the presence of an amenity and help them distinguish the limits of the footpath. They are an effective and handy way to allow the vision impaired to maintain their independence and to be mobile and active.

The pavers are made tactile by the addition of raised dots or bars to the surface of the paver. This textured, tactile surface can be detected by visually impaired people via contact with their foot or a cane. As well, the colour contrast between the ordinary ground surface and the tactile paver also serves as an indicator to the vision impaired. Tactile pavers are a mandatory requirement in public buildings and access areas in Australia, as well as in places with potential collision or tripping hazards.

Tactile pavers can be made from a variety of materials, including concrete, polyurethane and stainless steel. Concrete is a great choice for tactile pavers in terms of durability, reliability and cost – although you should only use tactile pavers crafted by manufacturers with extensive experience, such as Stoneworks

What types of tactile pavers are there?

There are basically two types of tactile paver, each with a specially designed surface profile:

· Cautional pavers

· Directional pavers

Cautional pavers

Cautional, or warning tactile indicators, alert visually impaired pedestrians to the presence of hazards in their direct line of travel. While they can’t inform people about the specific nature of the hazard ahead, they indicate that a person should stop to determine the nature of the hazard before deciding to continue on, and prevent people from stumbling upon a hazard unawares.

Directional pavers

Directional, or leading tactile indicators, provide orientation or direction to the visually impaired. The textured surface of the paver features directional bars that designate the best route to take, and guides people to safely access locations, such as crossings, public facilities or public transport access.

What benefits do tactile pavers offer?

Tactile pavers obviously provide safety for the vision impaired, with safety features designed into the paver. They also provide independence for visually impaired people, allowing them to navigate public spaces solo and with confidence. They have great slip resistance and are designed to provide stable and secure footing for those who may be somewhat unstable due to low vision or failing sight.

They are necessary in many spheres of Australian public life, and allow facilities to meet their public safety requirements. As well, because they are surface mounted tiles, they can be installed easily without the need for much excavation or surface disruption.

Do tactile pavers need any special maintenance?

Tactile pavers are designed to be long-lasting, durable and sturdy, and should be able to withstand heavy foot traffic with ease. They won’t require any maintenance above and beyond what an ordinary paver of the same type would require. They will need to be regularly swept to reduce the build-up of dirt and grime that could reduce the effectiveness of the tactile element of the paver. An occasional wash with a pressure cleaner will also go a long way towards keeping them in good shape.

Dive deeper into the best way to maintain your pavers here

Where do I buy tactile pavers?

Look no further than Stoneworks, the leaders in tactile paving manufacture with the most technically advanced and automated paver manufacturing facility in Australia. For years Stoneworks has been delivering precision tactile pavers with superior quality that effectively protect some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.

Stoneworks tactile pavers are manufactured in Brisbane, and shipped nationally and worldwide, and offer a huge number of advantages over other pavers:

  • They exceed the requirements of the Australian Standard
  • They have superior dimensional consistency due to the advanced technology used
  • They are available in four standard colours (charcoal, linen, red and yellow), with custom colours also available
  • The pigments used provide outstanding colour longevity – an important part of the pavers’ safety qualities
  • They can be used in conjunction with other pavers, tiles, concrete and asphalt
  • They are manufactured using anti-efflorescence admixtures
  • Studs cast into the pavers help avoid the lift off that is common with ‘stick-on’ tactiles
  • They are manufactured in Australia by a 100% wholly Australian-owned company

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