So, with that brief intro., let's get started...Below is a beautifully illustrated cross section of a typical paver installation. I will go into each portion of this in more depth below.
9 Basic Steps to a Paver Installation:
Depth of BaseMaking sure the base is deep enough is necessary to ensure a long lasting project. Not enough base will result in the excessive movement of the pavers.
Filter FabricBasically this is an extremely durable and heavy duty fabric envelope that contains the base material.
Base Material3/4” processed gravel. Note: Stone Dust (as we know it here in New England) will not drain properly. Do Not take shortcuts on base material.
CompactionCompaction, Compaction, Compaction!!! I cannot stress enough how critical this step is. If this step is skipped or not done properly, I can guarantee that your project will not last.
Setting Bed1”-11/2” of sand over the compacted base material in preparation to lay the pavers. The pavers will be installed directly on top of this layer. It is imperative to use the correct materials or shifting and settling could occur, and never use stone dust.
Install PaversThe pavers are installed on top of the setting bed. Paver, color, and pattern are left up to the homeowner’s discretion.
EdgingPVC units spiked into place to keep the pavers from moving side to side.
Sweeping & CompactingJoint sand must be swept into the spaces between the pavers and the pavers compacted into the setting bed at least 3 times.
BackfillingAll exposed outer edges of the pavers (especially any exposed edging) should be covered with topsoil.
How do I prevent weeds from growing up between my pavers?When a gravel base for pavers is installed correctly, weeds cannot grow UP between the individual stones. There is no way that the seeds can germinate and push their way through a compacted gravel. Instead they are most likely blowing or drifting into the cracks on the wind. They will sometimes germinate in the joint sand.
There are 2 main ways to prevent this from happening. One is to keep the paver surface clean. Sweep or blow the pavers off occasionally to prevent the seeds from getting rooted in. You can also use a granular pre-emergent pesticide (like Preen). Gently sweep it into the joints, making sure to not leave any on the surface of the pavers as it may stain them.
The other way is to have polymer sand installed during the installation process. Polymer sand is a granular sand that has an additive in it that acts as a binder to the grains when it's activated. When it's dry, it is hard to the touch and seeds cannot root into it.
Do I need sealer on my project?No, sealer is optional. There are various types of sealers, including: joint stabilizer sealer, color enhancer sealer, wet look sealer, etc.; however, the most popular sealer is the joint stabilizer sealer. This particular sealer locks in the joints to help prevent weeds or any other growth from occurring between the pavers. It also helps with inhibiting staining, however, it does not eliminate all stains.
The sand is gone from between the paver joints. Is this a problem?Yes, actually it is. The sand is a very important part of the installation. It is what locks the individual stones together and makes them interlock - giving the pavement the name "interlocking concrete pavers". If there is no sand present in the joints, the pattern can shift and move.
We recommend that the sand be topped off and reswept into the joints every 2 to 3 years - or when the sand level gets below 1/2" from the chamfered edge of the paver.
What is the milky white stuff on my pavers?A milky white substance on the surface of the pavers is most likely efflorescence. It is a natural by-product of concrete and often comes to the surface of new pavers. Some manufacturer's pavers are less likely to have it than others. It is temporary and will fade with time.
There are cleaners available that can speed up the process, if necessary. You can find sealers and cleaners at your local Masonry Supply Yard.
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