Preparing and Excavating Paving Stones

Installing pavers can give your home a whimsical walkway, a durable driveway, add some pizazz to your driveway, and so much more. Brick and concrete paving stones tend to be the most recommended as they’re versatile, long-lasting, easy to customize, and can update any yard; They’re also very easy to install so long as you know what you’re doing or know how to follow instructions well; Installing pavers correctly does require planning and patience, but can save you money in the end by doing it yourself. To prepare and excavate the area for paving stones, you will need; Paving stones, some sand, a base material (such as coarse gravel), transit level, concrete toes or edge restraints, screed pipes or boards, eye protection, stakes, string, and a graph paper and a pencil.

Before you begin any paving project, it’s important that you make a good plan. This plan details; The location of your paved path drawn on graph paper. You can also include a list of materials. To avoid accidentally obtruding cables or pipes in the area, it’s important that you give your local utilities company a call beforehand so you can know exactly where these things are located.

To excavate the designated space for paving, you’ll be laying down a base material. For areas that only experience foot traffic, generally only about 4 to 6 inches of base material is needed; For areas with heavier traffic, such as the driveway, you’ll want to lay as much as 12 inches of base material down. In addition to the base layer, you’ll also need a layer of sand that’s approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in depth. When you’re excavating the area, you should add 6 to 12 inches beyond the boundary of where the paving stones will be placed to accommodate for the edge restraints. When measuring the depth of excavation, your measurements should be taken from the string which you used to track the area’s slope and not taken from the ground.

Base material for paving tends to be crushed stone that’s coarse in texture and features irregular edges. When it comes to deciding the base material for your pavers, it’s important that it’s a material that will remain strong when it’s compacted and will allow for proper drainage. Improper drainage and poor structural integrity can ruin the whole paving project.

As you proceed with your paving project after you’ve prepared and excavated the area, you’ll continue on by laying the base, placing the edge restraints around the area of the base material, laying a layer of sand over the base material, and finally place the paving stones. Pavers will need to be cut as they’re placed to ensure a proper and secure fit along the edges; This can be done by either using a guillotine-style splitter or a masonry saw, both of which can make good, clean cuts. If you have more than enough materials on hand, then you can probably accommodate for a few mistakes that you will make.

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