How to Install Paving Stones

Installing paved stones is a great way to make a fabulous looking patio or to add an attractive walkway. To get started you will need a few tools. Tools essential for the job include a carpenter’s level, hammer, tape measures, gloves, wooden stakes, shovel, line level, carpenter’s square, string line, screwdrivers, broom, rake and wheelbarrow. Once you have all your tools you are ready to begin this exciting project.

The first decision that the homeowner should make is the area they want to pave. Given the area you have selected, do you want to hire someone to do it or do it yourself? You can save a lot of money if you do it yourself if you have the time to dedicate to it. You will need to rent tools like a plate compactor and a wet saw to be able to do the job successfully.

Once you have selected your area you are ready to excavate the soil. Any utilities coming into the home, like water, electric, and gas are clearly marked. Dig down 7-15 inches into the ground depending on if it is residential or commercial applications. The finished product must sloop away from the house so it does not hold water. After all the soil has been dug out, the plate compactor will come in and smooth out the soil to free it of any bumps or imperfections.

The next step is the insulation of the base materials. You want to lay ¾ inch modified stone, known as crushed concrete in some areas, for the base materials. Work in 4 inch sections to avoid being overwhelmed. After the entire area is laid, use the plate compactor to go over and compact the materials to a solid base structure. The finished product should be just as firm as concrete would be once you have completed this step. The finished grade of this base needs to follow the finished contour of the final pavement and be 3 to 4 inches below the finished surface depending upon the thickness of the paving stone that you have selected.

Next take 2 pipes that are 1 inch in diameter and lay them down on the concrete aggregate base parallel and cover in sand. Using a scree board make sure the surface is level and flat. Once it is level remove the pipes and be sure to fill in the depression areas with extra sand. Now you are ready to install the paving stones. Start laying them one by one and make sure they click with the adjacent pavers. Most pavers on the market today have a built in spacer bar so there is no need to put any spacers or have any extra steps. Pack the stones firmly into the sand bed and turn them different directions to create a unique shape, if the stone variations allow this.

It is important to note that all pallets of pavers might have slight color variations. It is best to use pavers from various pallets when creating a specific look. Make sure that you start at a perfect 90 degree angle so the pattern can be continued throughout the entire installation. A wet saw will be needed to cut any pieces that don’t fit into the intrigue spaces around the boarder. For sides of the patio or walkway that is not up against a permanent structure, like the house, a side restraint must be used. This will keep the pavers from shifting and moving as the pavers begin to settle. Plastic edge restraints are best because they won’t rot, rust or decay over time.

The last step is to incorporate coarse concrete sand into all the joints of the paver stones. Using a broom make sure that the sand gets into the joints. The plate compactor needs to go over the entire area to pack it down. Make sure the sand is filled completely to the top of the paving stone. When using the plate compactor you may want to put down a rubber padding to protect the surface of the pavers. The final step is to water down the entire area and clean off the new paver surface of the patio or walkway.

While there is a great deal of steps to creating an outdoor area with pavers, it is a job that even a beginner can do. When it is all complete, your yard will look amazing with your new addition.

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