Road base for brick and sand walkway?

I'm laying a brick path more or less per the instructions here:
http://www.cornerhardware.com/howto/ht023.html
Those instructions call for "engineered road base" to be put under the sand. I went to a big masonry supply store today and bought six sacks of 1/4 minus gravel. I now realize that I probably wanted 3/4 minus-- that seems, based on some Googling, to be more like what is used as actual road base. So my question is, what are the consequences of using the 1/4 minus gravel that I have (and can't return)?
-Peter
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put some dry concrete in each of the six sacks of gravel and wet it lightly when placing the bricks in. jloomis

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Hmmm, what will that do? I guess I'm unclear on the exact purpose of the road base so I can't figure out whether finer base is going to be better, worse, or indifferent. Also I don't think I can wet it as I'm putting the bricks in because at that point it'll be under a couple inches of sand.
-Peter
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wrote:

Hmmm, what will that do? I guess I'm unclear on the exact purpose of the road base so I can't figure out whether finer base is going to be better, worse, or indifferent. Also I don't think I can wet it as I'm putting the bricks in because at that point it'll be under a couple inches of sand.
-Peter
It sets the aggregate under the brick....... It is a common practice..... Some put raw concrete in sand and do the same. Underground companies use a mixture of sand and concrete to set the subgrade back to original. Packed rock is just as good. (road base) jloomis
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Go to a aggregate yard and get a 1/4-1/2 yard of "3/4 minus" or road base if thats what they callit. Cost: less than $ 10.00 Save the 'bags' for some other project
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Yeah. That's basically what I did. Actually the way I ended up with the "1/4 minus" is purely due to my stupidity--I went to the big masonry supply place and asked for road base and they were going to sell me 3/4 minus and then when I looked at the 3/4 minus and 1/4 minus I decided I really wanted the 1/4 minus. Then I got home and Googled around some more and realized my mistake. So today I went to a landscaping supply place and tried to buy 3/4 minus and almost got sent home with *more* 1/4 minus. The guy there said it didn't make much difference for a walkway (i.e. not going to be driving on it) and the 1/4 minus would be easier to work with. But since I already have a bunch of 1/4 minus I held out for the 3/4 minus this time. Whatever. I'll probably end up doing more sections of this walkway so I'll probably use it all in the end.
Thanks, everyone, for your help.
-Peter
P.S. Around here (San Francisco Bay Area) it seems that all this stuff is a bit more expensive-- a quarter yard of 3/4 minus is more like $30 than $10. And a bit more on top of that if, like me, you don't have a pickup for them to dump it in and you have to buy it sacked.
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You could also mix the 1/4 and 3/4.
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Highway Robbery!!..its about $20-25 a yard here
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Peter,

The gravel base serves a couple of purposes.
1. Drainage. Any water that works it's way down between the pavers can drain away, reducing problems with frost heaving in the winter.
2. A solid base for the pavers. If you laid the pavers directly on dirt, you could get settling that would result in an uneven walkway. By compacting the gravel base you get a nice solid foundation for your pavers.
I usually use 5/8" minus rock around here and it has worked well for me. The important thing is the "minus" which includes the fine dust and smaller stones. When you compact the gravel base, they work their way in between the larger stones locking everything together into a solid base. For example, you would never be able to compact river rock or pea gravel. It would move around as soon as you stepped on it.
I don't think the 1/4 minus will compact very well, but it might be adequate for a short walkway (I'm assuming a short walk if you only bought six bags). You could always buy bags of larger rock and mix them together, but that's a lot of work. Or, save the smaller rock for some other project and buy new bags of 5/8" minus or better. (Landscape supply stores will usually have a better selection than a masonry supply, though it's usually not in bags).

The sand is only there to set the pavers in and make up minor differences between the base and pavers. You shouldn't have more than 3/4" or so of sand under the pavers.
Good luck!
Anthony
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I'm puzzled by this--wouldn't the finer grained 1/4 minus compact *better* than 3/4 (or 5/8) minus. Or do you need some larger bits to hold things together?
-Peter
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"engineered road base" = DGA = Dense Grade Aggregate. When you tamp it, and it gets wet, it's like concrete when it drys out, yet it still provides drainage. For a walk-way you'd probably be fine with what you've got. If you were driving over it then you'd want to definitely go with the properly prepared DGA base.
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I don't know the engineering behind it, but compact "sand" which has even finer grains and you'll leave a footprint as soon as you step on it. Compact 5/8" minus and it leaves a surface as hard as concrete to walk on. So judging by that behaviour, I'd say yes, the larger stones are needed for good compaction.
Still, for a walkway, what you have will probably work fine.
Anthony
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