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Do-It-Yourself Paver Installation

Deciding to lay paving stones yourself is not something to be entered into lightly. A professionally trained crew with all the proper machinery and tools necessary for the installation typically can install a paving stone driveway or patio pavers in a matter of days. For the do-it-yourselfer, this could turn into weeks.


Paving stones are pavers made from either concrete or clay. They are set in sand rather than mortar. Mortar binds them together and prevents motion. Setting pavers in sand provides some mobility and thus cracking seldom occurs. This also makes them earthquake resistant and allows easy repair by simply removing and replacing a stone. Driveway pavers our perform mortar set stones and brick in durability, strength and flexibility (the ability to resist cracking).

Driveway and Patio Planning

There are many requirements that must be considered when planning to pave your patio, driveway, pool areas, etc. The specific criteria may not necessarily agree with local codes and regulations. If no local codes or regulations exist, refer to the minimum standards of the F.H.A. or V.A. requirements.

Paver Installation Do-It-Yourself

For a simple square or rectangle paving stone patio, you can follow the basic installation steps below. However, we highly suggest you contact a professional if you have anything more complicated in mind, especially if it requires stone cutting for intricate patterns.

  • Step 1: Demolition – remove old driveway or patio. Go down a minimum of 7″.
  • Step 2: Compact the sub base – the dirt that will be directly under the base material.
  • Step 3: Install the base – Class II Road Base is used. This is composed of various sizes of gravel. See the picture of the sieve. A sieve is used to test soil and base material. There is a wire mesh at the bottom of each pan. At the top the mesh will allow 3/4 ” rock through, the next one down will be 1/2 “, then 1/4 ” all the way to the last pan that will allow only “fines”. A fine is described as a particle that can pass through a #200 mesh. A #200 mesh has 350 openings per square inch. This is actually like a fine cloth. Water will not pass through a #200 mesh but fines will. So these particles are very small!Certified base has correct quantities of all the above sizes so that it will compact to at least 95%. Imagine stepping on a field of marbles – they would move. Or even stepping in sand at the beach – not very firm. That’s because they are all the same size. Since certified base comes with the right proportions, the end result will be a very firm sturdy base.

    The base should be compacted and at least twice as shown below.

    1st recommended compacting pattern for compacting pavers

    2nd recommended compacting pattern for compacting pavers

    To achieve the desired level of compaction, 95% base should be compacted in “lifts”. A lift is a layer of material, base, or dirt to be compacted. For base, the lifts should be no more than 4″ thick. The compactor should be a very heavy duty machine that produces a minimum of 5000 psi. Smaller machines will never achieve the desired 95% compaction.

  • Step 4: The next step is the sand bedding. (this is angular sand as mentioned above) -a one inch sand bed is screeded in place, the pavers are laid on top.
  • Step 5: Cutting the pavers – the edges are cute with a dry saw and each fit precisely in place.
  • Step 6: Install restraints – Since pavers are set in sand, they need to be held together by something. What holds them together is the borders or the outside perimeter. This outside edge is referred to as a restraint. Once they are finally held in place, they can not move yet the entire surface is flexible. As compared to a poured in place concrete surface which is rigid. As a word, flexible, best describes the interlocking concrete surface whereas rigid would describe a concrete surface.There are several types of restraints as shown below.
  • Step 7: Compacting the pavers – Once the restraints are in place, the next step is to compact the pavers in doing so, the pavers are pushed into the bedding sand and the sand is forced up between the pavers.
  • Step 8: Sand between the pavers – Once this is done more sand, either the same bedding sand or joint sand that comes in bags, is swept between the pavers and the pavers are compacted again. In using a vibrating plate compactor, all the joints between the pavers are filled.

If you would like a consultation please contact us and one of our experienced designers will personally meet with you to plan and design exactly the paver installation you want. They will help you select the paving stone (pavers) colors, shapes, and style that will instantly increase your home’s value and curb appeal. And for much less than our competitors!


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