How Concrete Paver Professionals Install Concrete Pavers Base
While poured concrete and asphalt have been the preferred choice for pavements and walkways, concrete pavers are turning out to be a viable alternative that’s both cost-effective and has many more advantages compared to the traditional choices. However, some homeowners try to cut costs by installing the pavers themselves. However, professional installation lasts longer and also comes with a warranty even if it costs a bit more. You can hire a good contractor by searching for “paving companies near me”. Let’s check out how concrete paver professionals install concrete pavers:
- Preparing the base – A stable and well-compacted base is very important for installing pavers. If your pavement or walkway is made of other types of materials, the props will also do extensive excavation with heavy equipment and machinery.
If you have unstable or unsuitable materials on the existing walkway or pavement, the site needs to be excavated heavily. The first step is to estimate the depth of excavation and figure out the final grade of the project. After that, the professionals add the height of the paver unit, the thickness of the compacted base material, the depth of the bedding sand, and other such factors to calculate the needed depth.
After the estimations are done, the thickness of the compacted base needs to be considered. If you’re building a walkway, the thickness needs to be 3-4 inches for pedestrian traffic. If you’re building a driveway, the thickness needs to be 4-5 inches to tolerate the weight of cars and trucks. If you plan to drive and park larger vehicles like motor homes the thickness needs to be around 6-8 inches.
When you’re certain about the thickness of the compacted base, the excavated site needs to be filled with the right amount of paver base material and compacted using a vibrating plate compactor. If you’re doing it yourself, you need to make sure the base is compacted well enough to form a smooth and even surface to hold the bedding sand.
- Pouring bedding sand – The pavers would be set on a bed of sand. The sand allows the pavers to sit level and secure against each other. It also allows room for expansion and contraction of the pavers due to temperature changes.
For the sand bedding, you need a layer of 1 inch thick sharp and clean concrete sand. You’ll need around 1 cubic yard of sand per 300 square feet and determine how much you need based on the size of your driveway or walkway. PVC pipes are laid on the ground parallel to each other directly on the base layer. After that, a layer of bedding sand is loosely spread over the pipes to fill up just above the top of the pipe.
Next, you need to place a wood block perpendicular across the pipes and slowly pull it towards you while sliding it from left to right repeatedly. This levels the sand and leaves a 1-inch layer of bedding sand while removing or scraping away the excess. The repeated sliding from left to right also helps the sand to move into voids and gaps so that the pavers don’t cave in later on.
- Place restraints – After you pour and level out the bedding sand, you need to place edge restraints on the side to prevent lateral movement of both the pavers and the sand. The edge restraint may be a permanent feature like the side of your home or a concrete or vinyl molded restraint.
If there is no permanent edge restraint, you need to place a manufactured restraint. If you go for concrete restraint, you need to place the pavers before you install them. To do that, you can mix up call II road base concrete, and water and pour it on the sides. They should be deep enough to cover both the sand layer and the pavers.
- Lay the pavers – While laying the pavers on the sand, move in a forward motion and start at a 90-degree corner. It’s important to not step on the bedding sand while you do it. Otherwise, the compaction would be ruined. You also need to place the pavers flat on the sand without any tilts. Tilts will cause uneven pressure and shift sand. Once a row or pattern of pavers has been set, use that as a guide for adding additional pavers.
As you move close to the edge, you may need to trim the pavers to make them fit. You can cut them with a diamond masonry blade or saw. This allows for precise and sharp cuts. Something that would be impossible with cheap block splitters.
- Vibrate the pavers – Once the pavers have been set, a vibrating plate compactor is used to level the pavers over the sand layer. A single pass over the pavers with some sand will move the bedding sand in between the joints and interlock them in position so that they don’t come off.
- Sand the pavers – After the pavers are interlocked, spread masonry sand over the pavers till there is a ¼ inch thick layer above the pavers. Use the plate compactor and make passes over the sanded pavers to allow the sand to move inside the voids between the pavers and fill them up. Once all gaps are perfectly filled, get rid of the excess and by blasting them with a weed blower.
- Seal the pavers – When your pavers are locked into position with sand filling up the gaps in between, you need to seal them for weather protection. Adding a paver sealer protects your pavers from foot traffic, car tires, daily wear and tear, the natural elements, and also improves its looks. You can buy a paver sealer from a nearby store.
As you see, installing concrete pavers involves a lot of steps, and professionals do a pretty good job at it. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about sourcing materials and warranty either. To hire a reputed contractor search for “paving companies near me”.
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