Building a patio

Old 06-15-06, 12:55 PM
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Question Building a patio

Hello all,

My wife and I are going to be installing a paver patio soon. I have a few questions about the "right" way to do it. I live in the North East, where we see every type of weather (except tornado's).

I have read every article I can find online about building a paver patio, but they all differ slightly in the fine details. So hear is how I "think" it should be done:

1) Plan. Design the space, measure it out, consider usage.

2) Excavate. Dig down about 6 inches.

3) Level area, allowing 2 inches of drop for every 8 feet to allow water to flow away from abutting structure.

4) Back fill .. with what??? I've read crusher run, stone dust, crushed stone, paver base?? If I was odering this material from a sand and gravel yard, what would I ask for?? And how much base should there be? I've read from 2 to 6 inches?!

5) Compact base with tamper, or better, plate vibrator.

6) Install landscape fabric to help prevent future weed growth. (Is this neccessary? suggested? should it go here, or under the base?)

7) Pour a (1 or 2) inch layer of sand, screed and level.

8) Lay the pavers in desired pattern, checking occassionly that you are maintining good clean lines. Pavers should be placed tightly together, approx 1/8" gap. Strike the pavers with a rubber mallet to settle them in the sand.

9) Install a paver edging around any permiter that does not abut a solid object (wall, building, etc). The edging should be held in place with spikes.

10) Once all pavers are laid out, run over them with plate vibrator, to settle them into the sand. Expect them to sink about 1/4".

11) Using a broom brush sand over the pavers to fill in all cracks. Spray the patio with a garden hose, to allow sand in cracks to settle that much more. If cracks are not completley filled, repeat this step until they are.

Thats it. I guess the points I'm most unclear about are as follows:

- What is the base material?
- How much base material? (I've read from 2 to 6 inches!)
- Landscape fabric yes or no? and where?
- How much sand? (1 or 2 inches?)
- Anything special about the sand? (fine, course?)

Any comments would be immensly appreciated.
Old 06-15-06, 02:05 PM
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Building a patio

1. - Good

2. - Good. If you have poor soil, maybe a little more.

3. - Could be a little less.

4. - Most of what you hear are local terms for what is called "base". Tell your local supplier what you are putting in and that you want some granular material you can compact. With good natural soil 2"-6" should be adequate for a patio.

5. - Use a plate vibrator. You will also be using it for vibrating and leveling the pavers.

6. - Optional. Most of you weed seed will be airborne. There is always Roundup once or twice a year if you have a problem.

7. - Use 1" of sand for a setting bed. Any more can decrease the stability.

8. - Interlocking concrete pavers usually have spaces cast on the sides. A mallet is really not necessary since you should be leveling and vibrating them into place later.

9. - The edging can be installed either before or after the pavers. You may have to saw or split some pavers depending on your pattern or the exterior patio contour (curved, angled). Edging can be plastic, steel or aluminum. Spikes are inmportant. If you have sand in your yard, you may have to use more and longer spikes.

10. - Spread fine sand over the pavers and then vibrate to level the pavers and force the sand into the joints to get a strong interlock.

11. Just sweep off the excess sand. If you did a good job of vibrating and applied enough sand, the joints will be full.

For a patio, the requirements are not as strict as for more heavilyy loaded paver applications. As an example, for an airport taxiway or port freight unloading facility, the base could be more much more than 2 feet thick. Technically, the sand to be spread over the pavers and vibrated in should be slightly finer than the leveling sand, but for a patio it is O.K. to use the same sand.

You asked all the right questions. Good luck!!!

Old 06-15-06, 05:52 PM
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The only thing I would add is that you should not waste too much time assuring that each paver is properly aligned. Slap those puppies in! Run a string occasionally to make sure you are not getting far off square, and use a screwdriver to fine tune before you sand the pavers. The best design will have the paver pattern across the long run of the common viewing angle anyway.

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