For dedicated do-it-yourselfers, creating a patio, walkway, driveway, or other outdoor area with interlocking pavers can be a rewarding task. Doing the job right the first time, however, is essential.
Paver stones are stronger and last longer than poured concrete and any subsequent adjustments and repairs are far easier. Also, some paver systems are environmentally sustainable as they allow rainwater to pass into the ground without redirecting the flow unnaturally.
Belgard Hardscape’s interlocking pavers from ProCoat Systems in Denver are the premium quality materials and are available in a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing designs, colors, and styles.
Here are some procedures that should ensure a high-quality paving project:
Building the Base
The base is the most critical element of a well-constructed interlocking paver surface. Unevenness or variable stability can cause pavers to sink and separate to create an unstable and unattractive overall surface.
Steps for creating a stable base:
- Excavate and level the sub-grade to create a flat substrate. The depth of excavation is calculated by adding the paver height and the depth of the compacted bedding sand and stone base material.
- The depth of the base material depends on the eventual use. For a walkway, the depth need only be 3” to 4”. For a driveway, the depth should be 4” to 8”, depending on the weight of the vehicles.
- The base material can be decomposed granite, crushed stone, Class II Road Base or recycled concrete material.
- Using a vibrating plate compactor, make sure the entire surface is smooth and level for the next steps. Build in an approximate 1/4” drop per foot to facilitate drainage if the pavers are not permeable.
Applying the Sand Layer
Next, add a 1” layer of clean concrete sand. To ensure a level surface, professionals suggest laying two one-inch diameter “screeding” pipes spaced 6-feet apart in parallel. Fill the space with sand and pull a 2×4 across the pipes to level the sandy surface. Remove the pipes and fill the voids with sand.
Install the Edge Restraints
At this point, defining the exact shape and limits of the paver surface is important. While some limits may already be established, as with the edge of a building, the installer can use concrete or vinyl-molded restraint systems. Whether permanent restraints or temporary, these should be well secured to accurately define the desired perimeter.
Laying the Interlocking Pavers
Always moving forward, start at a 90° corner or the center of the starting line. Preset string will ensure you are heading in a straight line. Never step in the sand and place the pavers evenly without tilting. Continually recheck the straightness of your pattern. Leave a 1/8” joint between the pavers.
Shaping the Edges
As you approach the edges, spaces will need to be measured and cut to create a perfect border within the edge restraints. Cutting should be performed with precision using a masonry saw.
Vibrate in Place
With the vibrating plate compactor, run over the set pavers once to set the pieces evenly in the sand beneath. This step pushes sand up into the seams to begin the interlocking process.
Spreading Sand Over the Pavers
Spread a layer of sand over the entire surface. Run the compactor over the surface once more to push the pavers more firmly into the sand beneath and to create further interlocking.
Finally, sweep excess sand into the spaces between the pavers to finish the job, before removing away the excess.
Sealing the Surface
Once the surface is complete, spread a commercial sealer to enhance the appearance and protect the surface. Sealers come in many types and appearances that will highlight the color and patterns of the new surface.