Patio Pavers - Conflicting Advice on Final Step

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Old 05-18-14, 06:12 PM
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Patio Pavers - Conflicting Advice on Final Step

Hi -
I am installing a patio in the backyard, never done anything like this before, and will be using a combination of circle kit and regular-sized pavers, all 2-3/8 inches thick. I have received some conflicting advice concerning the final step, which is laying the pavers onto a 1-inch deep, screeded layer of sand.

Both are professionals who install patios all the time. One tells me to put down the sand, screed it, lay down the pavers, and use a plate compactor to set them. The other person tells me to put down the sand, plate compact the sand, then add more sand which is then screeded. The pavers are then put down on the sand and NOT plate compacted.

Can someone please chime in on this? I'm now at the point where the crusher run is coming, and I'm coordinating that with a compactor rental and, oh yes, the Boston-area weather.

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 05-18-14, 08:17 PM
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It is almost uniformly reccomended that the pavers be set on a 1" coarse (conrete) sand that is screeded. Trying to compact sand is a fruitless waste of time since sand does not compact (quite uniform is size with no fines).

Running a tamper over the set pavers after a very light dusting of sand is spread around serves many purposes since it evens out the surface, and MORE importantly, it draws the sand into the tight joints to create an interlock that stabilizes the paver surface and allows loads to be transmitted through the joints. Of course the there should be an edge restraint around the paver to prevent any lateral movement.

A good resource is the ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute) that has many technical and installation notes.

Dick
 
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Old 05-19-14, 06:10 AM
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Thanks, Dick. I have also heard a rubber pad or some sort of protector should be used between the plate compactor and the pavers. I've never used a plate compactor, but how does the pad stay on and not vibrate away? Are there pad especially made for this, and are they "usually" available with the rental?
 
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Old 05-19-14, 04:15 PM
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I have never used a pad and only very rarely had a paver break during compaction.
 
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Old 05-20-14, 06:10 AM
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Hi, Pilot Dane - I thought using a pad had more to do with scratching or marring a paver than cracking a stone? As I wrote earlier, I have zero experience with any step involved in this project.

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 05-20-14, 07:59 AM
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When you use the compactor you'll notice some "chalking" on the pavers but don't freak out. Most will disappear when you broom in the sand and the rest will be unnoticeable after the first rain.
 
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Old 05-20-14, 08:47 AM
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The pad also decreases the effectiveness of the vibration which doing the job to ensure the joints are filled and interlocked. - Polymeric sand (if used) could cause stains to be worked into the surface and take longer to wear off.

Dick
 
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Old 05-24-14, 08:56 AM
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More Conflicting Advice on Final Step

Hi - The same guy who told me to use a plate compactor on the layer of sand has also told me to use a 1/2-inch of stone dust, compacted on top of the compacted crusher run, and then ONLY a 1/2-inch layer of sand. Of the couple of videos, and the "How-To" reading I've done, I've never seen stone dust used. I also was under the impression stone dust has fallen out of favor with installers. Can anyone give me little help with what to use?

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 05-24-14, 10:00 AM
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The guy that wants a plate compactor on stone dust is just in a different world that most contractors if you want stability and strength. I have seen heavy duty pavements of 20 to 30 acres or more set on 1" of uncompacted sand setting bed that supported heavy straddle loaders with up to 50,000# loads while making tight turns.

"Stone dust" is a very vague term and it may be just a waste product, but it is usually angular and does not get into the joints to give the stability.

Dick
 
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Old 05-27-14, 06:32 AM
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Hi, Dick - I just rented a plate compactor, used it on the dirt, now waiting for my first load of crusher run. The way the bottom of the plate compactor looks, I can't imagine running this thing on the top of $1000+ worth of pavers (3 circle kits) without scratching/marring/destroying them. Really? People run these things on pavers without some protection between the plate and the stone? Worried about this.

Dave
 
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Old 05-27-14, 07:04 AM
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It's a steel plate vibrating and sliding over concrete. The plate on the compactor will not look pretty. I would make sure that it's free of dirt stuck to the bottom though. Just so you don't think we're messing with you here are some photos of the small patio I did behind my house a few years ago. The compactor went from dirt to rock to pavers then to pavers with sand. After sweeping and hosing off when you are done the pavers look like... pavers.



 
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Old 05-27-14, 08:48 AM
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Thanks Dane. I've never done this before, and I know you guys are not messing with me. I just don't want to mess up a boatload of pavers.

Dave
 
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Old 05-27-14, 09:18 AM
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dbruno -

We just act on the situation presented and hope it is complete and accurate.

You must be near the water if the pavers are delivered by boats.
 
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Old 05-28-14, 08:23 AM
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Patio Pavers - Looking for Screeding Advice/Tricks

Hi - From previous postings, my patio will be an 18-foot diameter circle. I have dug out and prepared about 19-1/2 feet. 6 yards of crusher run is down and compacted.
Just purchased 1-inch OD PVC pipe to be used for screed rails. 10-foot lengths to be joined together and cut down to necessary lengths.

So, what tricks can anyone pass on to me for this next step, which is pretty crucial? IF I am successful in in putting down a nice, level bed of sand which I am NOT supposed to walk on, how do you fill in and screed off the tunnels in the sand where the rails were embedded? Assuming of course I can get 18-feet of pipe (in some places) out of the sand without really messing things up? Then, of course, there is the matter of getting to the center of the circle to start laying pavers without walking on the sand. How do you do this?

Thanks to all - Dave
 
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Old 05-28-14, 10:03 AM
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Doing a circle can be fun. Is your patio out in the center of the yard somewhere and you want the water to drain from the center outward all around the circle or do you want it to all drain in one direction? You don't want your patio perfectly flat. I don't like to do 1/8" per foot or less as some puddles may still remain. 1/4" per foot works pretty well and most people won't notice. At 1/2" per foot slope engineers and other technical or observant people will notice the slope.

While you can walk on the base I carefully measure and locate where the center of the circle will be. Drive a piece of re-bar, gutter nail or some other pin in the center. This is so you can find your center point after screeding out the sand.

If you want to screed a really large area taking a aluminum extension ladder apart can make a very long, light and straight screed. Use it lying flat so the side rails of the ladder section are vertical (it's bendy in the other direction).

After you've spread your sand. Lift out your guide pipes. I carry a bucket of sand and use my hand to scoop out sand and put in the trench left by the pipe. I gently tamp it down with my fingers to approximate the compaction the other sand got by having the screed work it over. A masons trowel can help spread, move and remove sand without disturbing the surrounding sand. Yes, you want all the sand to be as uniform as possible but don't drive yourself crazy. The pavers are big enough to span the troughs left by the pipes and the plate compactor at the end will naturally pound down the high spots while going easier on the low areas.

Do you have walk boards, long sturdy planks like 2x12's or an extension ladder? I have walk boards up to 24' so I would do sand over your entire area. Place wood blocks on either side of the work area then have a helper place a walk board across the center. From the walk board you can walk over the sand, pull the center pin and place your center block and start building the pattern. If you don't have a board long enough you can put down the sand just in the center 6 or 8'. Once you get pavers in the center you can then do the rest of your sand and use your walk board as a bridge to the center. You can walk on the pavers once they are set. Just be mindful that they do move a bit so no dancing.

If you think you'll be the least bit scatter brained... The blocks will be mixed throughout the pallet. Separate them out into their respective shapes (A, B, C, D...). Enlarge a copy of the circle pattern so you can easily & clearly see each shape and where it goes. Lay the pattern sheet down right next to your work area and set the stones in the same orientation as your cheat sheet. Cross off the blocks on your sheet as you place them. This way you can go get more blocks and not worry about forgetting where you were. Pay attention. At first the pattern is real easy but further out some blocks get turned 180 degrees in varying patterns.

When you have your full circle laid you'll notice that not everything is spaced perfectly. Before compacting and before putting sand in the joints walk the patio adjusting the block's positions to your liking. A flat blade screwdriver can get into the cracks to scoot blocks over a bit.
 
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Old 05-28-14, 11:58 AM
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Thanks, Dane. So, if I understand you correctly, after you pull your screed rails, you walk on the screeded sand to replace the sand where the rails were? If so, great. But I may actually do the extension-ladder trick as a walkway when replacing that sand, moving it next to each rail trough. Someone suggested that I make a pair of "sand shoes" - square pieces of plywood attached to the bottom of my shoes.

I do have a nice big tent spike in the middle. It's been there since I first marked the circle outline with mason string and spray paint. Right not, the crusher run is at 1/8'' slope away from the house. Maybe, with some leftover base I can adjust the screed rails to 1/4".

We will require three circle kits to get out to 18 feet diameter. two of the kits are large stones (~10 inches length) and the other kit is small stones of a different color, which will be used as a central ring.

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 05-28-14, 02:43 PM
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No, do not walk on the screeded sand. Place walk boards to get to the center and start your project. Then once you have some pavers set you can gently stand on them and reach out to fill in the trenches as you advance.

I would not try sand shoes (tried it) as it's really easy to dig an edge and gouge or scrape the sand. Better would be to just lay sheets of scrap plywood down and walk on them.
 
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Old 05-28-14, 04:13 PM
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Here's a photo I found during the construction. You can see where I did not bother screeding out sand over the entire area. Only the section on which I was working. Another benefit of this method is you can stop your proejct in the middle and there is less to cover and protect from heavy rains and cats thinking it's a litter box.

 
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Old 06-20-14, 03:37 PM
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Efflorescence on Patio Pavers

Hi - I just unpacked one of the circle kits I will be using to construct my 18-foot diameter patio. The pavers have a lot of efflorescence on them, more than I was imagining. Actually, I wasn't thinking there would be any.
So, do I lay the pavers and let nature take its hopeful course of returning them to the color they are supposed to be, or should I give them a quick scrub with a wet brush (or some solution on the brush) before putting them in?

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 06-21-14, 06:30 AM
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Yea, the pavers can look a bit funkey coming out of the pallet bundle. Rainwater washes cement dust & dirt down into the bundle making some look chalky or even like efflorescence, then there is varying moisture content which can make some look dark in odd patterns. The pavers should be more uniform after they're out of the bundle and their moisture can become more uniform and a few rains can wash them off.

---

One thing to think about is if you will want to seal your patio when your're finished. If you do want to seal it it is best to do is soon after it's finished and before you spill grease or Daiquiri on it. There is a whole range of sealers to choose from. Some really seal the pavers giving them an always wet look to ones that allow the pavers to look normal but still provide some protection against stains.
 
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Old 06-21-14, 06:37 AM
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Thanks, Dane. So I'm assuming your advice is to just lay them in there without any pre-wash or anything? Getting all set to start this morning.

Dave
 
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Old 06-21-14, 10:02 AM
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I would not bother washing them unless there are sticks or other big debris that will get in the way in which case I'd just brush them off. Compacting and spreading the sand will do a good job of scrubbing the top face clean.
 
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Old 06-21-14, 02:17 PM
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Possibly some helpful info in the links below:

Putting Down Patio Pavers | DoItYourself.com

Laying Pavers for a Walkway | DoItYourself.com

Decks and Patios: What's the Difference? | DoItYourself.com

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/br...tone-base.html

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/br...r-walkway.html

Found some of them in similar threads to the right side of thread and some at the bottom of the thread. Was surfing through this forum and some on site links for what would look best and might like at my own house....

Now all I need to find is the $$$$$.....
 
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Old 06-22-14, 02:47 PM
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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Hi, All -

Thanks so very much for all your help and advice you have given me during the job of putting in my first patio, which is 18 feet in diameter. I hope the pictures come through of what I started with - a pool collapsing, a 3-inch layer of sand that HAD to come out, along with 75+ boulders each the size of my head under that - to the "almost" finished job - still needs the edging, plate compacting, and poly sand. I know a lot of you can do this stuff in your sleep, but every step on the way was all new to me. This website and the forums are the first place I go when I'm stumped/in over my head/skeptical/etc.

Dave.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 03:20 PM
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Looks pretty good....but of course I have to be a wet blanket. It really looks like some of the pavers aren't installed correctly in the the 3rd and 2nd rows from the outside. The narrow end should always face inwards. The 4 rows of small ones look nice and tight, so how come?

Don't take me wrong, I know it was way more work than I ever would have been able to do.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 04:00 PM
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Hi, Vic -

Maybe it doesn't look that way, but all the wedge-shaped pavers are installed with the narrow end facing inwards. According to the circle-kit map, the outer rings of the kit are a mix of wedge and straight pavers.

The interior circle - the bigger stones - are a complete kit at 11-foot diameter. The smaller brown stones are a portion of a kit, with alternating wedge and straight. The outer two rings are from a third kit the same as the first kit. But, there is no map for these, and you have to count the stones in the bundle, and decide if you are going "wedge-wedge-straight" or "wedge-straight". It worked out, and we had no choice because of the stone count, that the first ring after the small stones was "wedge-wedge-straight", and the final ring before the soldier run was "wedge-straight". But, all wedge stones are installed with smaller end facing in. You CAN, and we tried it, having the wedges alternate between facing out/facing in, but we didn't like the look, and have to put up with slightly bigger gaps. But, the poly sand I'm told will fill things in.

Dave
 
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Old 06-22-14, 04:26 PM
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Ok....just never saw it like that, so had to ask.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 06:24 AM
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Plate Compactor on Stones - Pad or No Pad?

Hi - I know we've gone back and forth on this in previous postings, but the sales rep we bought our supplies from told me that because of the large stones we are using - ~10 in by 7 in - the manufacturer strongly recommends using some sort of pad between compactor and pavers, like an old thin rug. He's coming by this morning with our edging and spikes, and I will pick his brain more. I know from previous postings no one has had a problem with marring or breakage, but I feel compelled to go with the recommended way.

Dave
 
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Old 06-23-14, 01:22 PM
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Believe it or not but some circle patterns require some tapered blocks to be inserted backwards. They use varying patterns for each successive ring to accommodate the different radius's. With some pavers it can require you to really pay attention not only with placing the correct block in the right place but also in the correct orientation all while not forgetting which row you are on.

Breakage is always a possibility. It does not happen very often but once in a while one block will break. I think I have one break about every 6 pallets worth of pavers. I don't think it's so much the compaction as the vibration causes an already bad block to crack. I actually like it as I'd rather replace it when all the pavers are new and not after two winter's freeze thaw when a new block would stick out like a sore thumb.

By the way, the patio looks great!
 
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Old 06-23-14, 02:53 PM
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Thanks, Dane. We really did consider doing just that with the reversing of the pavers, but we didn't care for it.

Thanks for the compliment. The sales rep we dealt with came over with the edging, and didn't see any major guffaws, and told me it looked like the drainage would be good, most likely no pooling anywhere, Now, more stuff for me to be concerned about (again, first time for this stuff) - compacting the pavers and polysand.

Dave
 
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Old 06-23-14, 05:33 PM
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If you are using polymeric sand a leaf blower makes quick work of getting the last of the really fine powder off the surface after you're done sweeping and before wetting.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 07:57 AM
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Hi, Dane -

Thanks. I had heard that before about the leaf blower, but the person who told me said "use it on low speed". I know my leaf blower doesn't have two speeds, so I'll have to experiment.

Also, can I ask you your sequence of events: do you plate compact the pavers, sweep in the poly sand, and then plate compact again to shake/settle the sand, and plate compact again? The sales rep told me no need for the second compaction, but the instructions on the poly sand bag show this, along with hearing it from another source. What do you usually do? This is the finale coming, and after all this, I certainly don't want to mess up the level/placement of the pavers or the "grout".

Dave
 
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Old 06-24-14, 11:11 AM
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I plate compact the pavers. Then sweep in sand/polymeric and compact. The compacting will settle the sand into the joints so I keep repeating the sand application & compacting until the joints accept no more sand. Then thoroughly sweep off the patio with a push broom. Then I use a leaf blower to remove the fine dust. Aim the leaf blower at an area far from you or keep it aimed slightly above the patio. You'll be able to see the dust getting blown away. You do not want to hit it so hard that you start blowing sand out of the joints.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 11:13 AM
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Thanks again for your advice - Dave
 
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Old 06-24-14, 02:17 PM
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Hi, Dane - I apologize for this really picky and niddly question, but at the outer edge of my patio, the poly sand is going to fall out of the end of the gap above the edging. I haven't landscaped yet, so there is no grass/dirt to hold it in. I don't think I should landscape first or until everything is done with the pavers. If you've had a similar situation, what did you do? If not, any suggestions?

Thanks - Dave
 
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Old 06-25-14, 05:38 AM
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I just leave it. The last inch at the edge the sand will form an angle from the surface down to a bit higher than the edging. I call them drainage slots.

If the elevation permits when you back fill around your patio leave the soil at about the height of the edging. If you bring the dirt all the way up to flush with the top of the pavers water can not get off the patio fast enough, especially after the grass has filled in. It can cause puddling at the perimeter which tends to collect dirt and other debris. If you leave the soil down an inch the grass will grow and conceal the edge but still allow dirt and pollen to wash away.
 
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Old 06-25-14, 06:35 AM
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Again Dane, thanks very much for the advice and the reasoning behind that advice.

Dave
 
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