Installing Thin Pavers over Concrete

What You'll Need
Concrete leveler
Thin pavers
5-gallon bucket

If you have existing concrete and would like pavers, you can install thin pavers over your concrete. Thin pavers allow for the look and design of stone or brick, without having to spend the time and money to remove existing concrete. 

Step 1:  Determine Your Paver Design

Thin pavers come in various sizes and shapes (hexagons, octagons, keyhole, x-shape, fans, etc.). These shapes can be put together to make different designs. The thickness of the paver can also vary (3/4 inch, 1 1/4 inch, and so on). For use as a tile, 3/4-inch pavers are common.    

Step 2: Inspect the Concrete

The nice thing about installing pavers over concrete is you have a solid foundation to build on. But before laying the pavers, it is important to determine how level the existing concrete is. Use the level to determine this. If the concrete has dips in it or is sloped, the overlaying pavers will take on those same characteristics. Level any uneven areas with the concrete leveler. To do this, mix the leveler according the manufacturer's instructions. It can be mixed using the 5-gallon bucket and trowel. Apply the mixed leveler with the trowel. Use the level again to to see that the surface is now even.

Step 3: Lay the Pavers

With the surface level, we can now being laying the thin pavers. Mix the mortar according to its instructions. Apply it to each paver using the trowel. Place an ample amount of mortar on the back of each paver. It does not hurt to have mortar on the concrete also. As you move along setting the paver bricks, check to make sure they are level. Hold the level over each area, turning it different directions to insure the pavers are even all around. Verify the paver installation is consistent with the design pattern you chose. Any joints or openings can be filled with mortar. Make sure any exposed edges on the outside are mortared well. 

Step 4: Clean Up

Use water and a sponge to clean up excess mortar mix. Any unused mortar should be discarded. Allow the pavers to set or cure for the recommended time listed on the mortar mix. Some manufacturers may also recommend misting any mortar joints to prevent them from drying out too quickly and cracking. 

Step 5: Final Inspection

Once the mortar has cured, it's time to take a final look. You may have small voids or pockets that have formed. These are areas where the mortar has been pulled in. They can be re-mortared. Any mild haze or dry film that has developed from the mortar may be removed using an acid. Refer to the manufacturer for  recommendations. Use caution so as not to damage the mortar or affect the color of the pavers.

With the final inspection complete and any remaining items resolved, you're finished. By avoiding concrete removal, you can now enjoy the look of pavers while saving time and money.