Pavers can be installed in many applications such as driveways, sidewalks, and pool decks to enhance any landscape project. In this article we will discuss the proper procedures to install pavers.
Preparing for any paver job requires site analysis: taking measurements of the existing site, noting changes in elevation, noting existing structures & other obstructions. It can be helpful to create a drawing with detailed measurements to calculate how much material will be needed. Adding 10% to a paver allowance is a minimum to plan for loss due to cutting/edges. After the pavers are onsite, it is time to begin.
The first step is to mark out the paver area to be installed. Contact the local utilities companies prior to excavation of the site. Once the utility companies have cleared the site, it is time to begin excavation. For pedestrian traffic such as a sidewalk or patio, be sure to remove 7”-9” of existing soil. This number may be higher if installing a driveway or areas that receives heavy traffic. Grading is crucial at this stage, ensuring that all areas slope away from structures to avoid flooding.
Once excavation is complete, the next step is to bring in the sub-base. In the state of Arizona, ABC base is recommended. For pedestrian areas, a ¼” minus base will work. The base will vary from 4” for a sidewalk, to up to 9” for a driveway. Once the sub base has been installed, use a plate compactor to compact the base to necessary density. Insure the sub-base is level and follows required site slopes.
Now that sub-base is installed, the next step is to bring in a sand-base on which to install the pavers. Sand should be installed at depth 1”. To achieve a uniform and even surface, use 1” steel poles and a screen to establish a flat plane on which to install pavers. Begin by installing pavers at a 90-degree corner, or straightest edge from which to build out a pattern. Make sure to check with a level as the patio or sidewalks progress while making sure slopes match drainage patterns. The pavers should be installed at ratio of 1” in slope for every 12 feet of run. This will allow for water to properly drain off site.
Once the patio is complete, and all the necessary cuts are made, it is time to lock the patio in place. We recommend using concrete to help restrain the edges of the pavers. Other companies use other products, but we find concrete lasts the longest and does a great job. After edges are restrained, it time to broom sand in the joints of the pavers.
This process will fill all voids or space in pavers to insure that no sinking or settling will occur. After the sand is broomed-in, run a plate compactor over the area to help set the pavers into the sand. This locks them in place. It crucial to remember that installing pavers is a process, and skipping any one of these steps could result in less than desirable results.