No experience necessary!
Professionals and homeowners alike can successfully install concrete pavers.Credit: belgard.biz
Installing concrete pavers for a pathway is not difficult, just hard work.Â The hard work is because the pavers are heavy.Â As a homeowner, you will probably have to rent some of the tools required for installing the pavers but you can easily do this at your local do-it-yourself center.Â
It is extremely important when installing pavers to pay close attention to the base preparation as this is critical for a stable pathway.Â If you do this correctly, you will have beautiful, long lasting results that you can always be proud of.
- Stakes/String Line
- Rubber Mallet
- Measuring Tape
- Hand Tamper
- 1" diameter sand screed guide
- Diamond Blade Wet Saw
- Plate Compactor
Gravel base:Â 3/4 minus crushed rock - Typically 4" to 6" of compacted base should be used for light traffic.Â When using a 4" base, 1 yard of gravel will cover 80 square feet.Â Purchase approximately 45 - 80 lb sacks of crushed rock for every 100 square feet if you aren't buying in bulk.
Bedding Sand:Â Coarse concrete sand is recommended.Â A uniform depth of 1" of sand is needed.Â 1 yard of sand covers 200 square feet, or purchase approximately 18 sacks of 80 lbs of all purpose sand.Â Add another 5% for jointing sand.
Pavers:Â Determine the total square footage of the project that is needed (length x width = square feet) add about 5 - 10% for cuts and extra pavers that might be needed for future repairs or replacements.Â To estimate the number of pieces you will need, multiply the square footage by the pieces per square foot.Â (Square foot x pieces per square foot = total number of pavers needed.)Â
Edge Restraint:Â All exposed edges (anything not up against a permanent structure) must be restrained to hold the shape of the path.Â Measure the linear feet of all exposed edges to determine the amount of edge restraint needed.
- Measure and stake the desired area that is going to be paved.Â Mark the outline of the project with stakes every 4" - 6" and at each corner.Â These stakes should be 6" outside from the edge of the planned area.Â Tie a string line at the the level you want your finished project height to be.
- Excavate 4" - 6" beyond the finished size, remove loose dirt or sod to at least a minimum of 5" - 6" below the finished grade.Â This makes room for 3" - 4" of compacted gravel, 1" sand and the pavers.Â Allow for paver height of your choice.Â Take your time with this and prepare well for the best finish possible.
- Compact the sub-grade to create a solid base, backfill with crushed 3/4 minus aggregate gravel and compact again.Â Slope and grade are extremely important to create the proper drainage needed.Â Assure a minimum of 1/4" per foot drop, not to exceed 1/2" per foot.Â When finished with the base it should be smooth and flat and reflect the final grade of your pavers.
- Lay screed rails (1" outside diameter pipe or square tube) as guides, spread sand between rails and then use a straight wood 2" x 4" crossways to spread sand smooth and level to an even 1" depth.Â Remove the rails and fill in the voids left by the guides with sands and trowel smooth by hand.Â Don't walk on or compact the sand.
- Determine your laying pattern.Â Starting in a square corner with a permanent edge, lay paving stones down lightly on the sand bed.Â Install rows of pavers, checking with a string line every 4 feet or so, across the front of the laying edge to maintain a straight line. Stones may be marked with a wax crayon, and it is recommended that they are cut with a diamond blade wet saw but a diamond blade for a skill saw or a stone splitter may be used.Â Try to keep cut pieces along the edges to a size of at least 1/2 of a full size paving stone.
- Install the plastic edge restraint (or something similar) along the edges that are not up against a permanent structure.Â Edge restraint should rest on the compacted aggregate base to contain the sand and help maintain the position of the paver stones.
- Sweep the pavers clean prior to compacting.Â Using a vibratory plate compactor, set the stones into the sand base.Â Start along the outside edge and work toward the center.Â This will level the stone pathway.
- After compacting, sweep the paver joints full of concrete sand and compact again.Â
Concrete pavers come in many different styles, sizes, finishes, and colors.Â All of these choices give you an exciting array of possibilities!Â Create the design and feeling you want to achieve in your yard, from a bold western look to an dramatic old world charm.
You are now finished with your beautiful new concrete paver pathway.Â Stand back and enjoy!