Pathway Full Range clay pavers bring continuity to a scenic seaport, and it looks like it’s becoming the look to have, up and down the New England coast. Above image: Brick Market, Portsmouth, NH. All photos: Ben Cyr.

The Brick Kid figures he’s installed about a million square feet of Pine Hall Brick clay pavers. Most of that is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, just across the state line where the grown up “kid” runs Hard Tech Construction, in Berwick, Maine.

“I’m 38, but they still call me the Brick Kid, for whatever reason,” said Ben Cyr who started his career a while back winning job after job installing paver brick. “It is what it is, and we embrace it!”

You can see a lot of Brick Kid jobs in Portland, Maine, too, but the smaller port city to the south is using thousands of square feet per year of Pine Hall Brick pavers. Cyr’s Hard Tech Construction is a primary installer.

Portsmouth changed its preferred paver specs to Pine Hall Brick because it has a lot more grip to it in the winter around here. We had done a couple of test runs for this and Pine Hall Brick Pathway Full Range is where we landed.

Ben Cyr

Owner, Hard Tech Construction

Cyr cites three reasons for the demand in Portsmouth. First, Pine Hall Brick clay pavers have just the right grit for better traction in winter precipitation. Second, the consistent quality of the product assures few returns and helps Hard Tech Construction get its jobs done without product delays. And third, the performance of the pavers over time in a northern climate – they withstand freezing and thawing with little adverse effects.

“Portsmouth changed its preferred paver specs to Pine Hall Brick because it has a lot more grip to it in the winter around here,” says Cyr. “We had done a couple of test runs for this and Pine Hall Brick Pathway Full Range is where we landed.”

For taxpayer funded projects, Hard Tech Construction must meet strict budgets. An installer can lose a lot of profit margin if it must return defective product. Using some pavers, Cyr was spending too much time rejecting defective bricks.

“We’d spend all this time picking through them – time is money, and you know, we bid these pretty competitively,” said Cyr. “We typically get eight or nine eighteen-wheeler loads of pavers and we’d be sending loads back because some of the pallets were just not usable.”

That’s not happening anymore.

“Pine Hall has been way more consistent,” said Cyr. “There’s much less waste per cube and that’s a big thing for us.”

As to the performance benefit, Pine Hall Brick has invested heavily in testing and quality control to assure durability through the harshest winters.

“In freeze and thaw conditions, the pore has to be greater than 22% of the pore-plus-capillary area in order to allow for the expansion of freezing water,” said Pine Hall Brick Vice President, Sales, and Marketing Ted Corvey. “Think about what happens when you put a warm can of soda in freezer to cool it down and forget about it. It bloats and explodes! The same thing can happen in a brick, if our brick didn’t have ample pore and capillary structure.” (For more information on this, check out, Clay Paver Durability in Harsh Freeze & Thaw Conditions.)

Then there’s the beauty. Cyr takes pride in seeing his work in Portsmouth’s most photographed locations. The city has a consistent look with Pathway Full Range and, you’ll notice it even sticks with a running bond pattern in most cases.

“We did a nice herringbone layout a little bit fancier and that’s in the number-one most photographed area in the city of Portsmouth,” said Cyr. “And we have the second most photographed area and the even the third most photographed area – all Pine Hall installs.”

So, the Brick Kid has helped set the standard for Portsmouth.

“The city standard is typically running bonds soldier course outer border by the curb and then sailor course on the inside,” said Cyr. “It been what they’ve done over the years and that’s just what it sticks to.”

Even the commercial jobs in Portsmouth call for Pine Hall Brick for consistency, since the city requires commercial properties to provide sidewalks.

As mentioned earlier, Hard Tech Construction does more municipal work in New Hampshire and Maine. The Pine Hall Brick standard is being considered up the Piscataqua River in Dover.

“We’re not a large company,” said Cyr. “Our crews are seven or eight people, so we take a lot of pride in how our work looks.”

To that end, Cyr says he’s getting requests to “make it like Portsmouth.”