A few Brick Pavers Questions

Hiya Folks, Well my sand arrived yesterday and the bricks today. So out in the 100+ temps to start on my walkways. I put down about 4" of base and compacted that. Now I'm adding 1" of sand, loose. Screeding is difficult only due to the shape of my walks (many different widths so I can't use just one screed). Anyway, I started with a few bricks and noticed right off that they don't sit flat with one another simply by setting them on the sand. I've read you shouldn't tap them into place with a mallet but it seems that would effectively flatten my walk. I do intend to run a plate compactor over the entire install once complete. Will the compactor pretty much flatten things out or should I be tapping them into place with a mallet (I've found the thickness of the pavers varies a bit and I'm sure my sand isn't perfectly flat either as there's been a lot of trowel work on it in tight spaces)? I'm building a curvey walk and just had my go at cutting my first set of bricks transitioning into a curve. Holy crap that's a lot of cutting! Any tips on this would be most appreciated. Cheers, cc
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
-snip-

It worked for me. Not a 'tap'-- I pounded the crap out of them. Probably compacted 1.5 inches to 3/4". What is the downside of using a mallet other than it's a lot of work? After I compacted the base I never used a compactor. I spread my tailings out a few square feet at a time and pounded with a 5lb mallet. [the word escapes me, but the head is filled with pellets and inertia makes it hit harder] Took a month or two at my pace-- but to me, that was the beauty of pavers. An hour here- an hour there. Suits my constitution just fine.

You said you compacted the base-- You used the plate compacter for that, right? I would guess that it will level things off for you.

That shouldn't matter-- but different thickness on the pavers?

I did my cutting on windy days only. I also rigged my shop vac to minimize dust. If I had it to do over again I'd buy a wet saw first and sell it when I was done. If you're into working a full day- then save cutting the edges til last & rent a wet saw for the day.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim Elbrecht wrote:

You may want to put a piece of plywood or something between the bricks and the compactor to prevent chipping of the bricks. This can be severe when using split paving brick.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I believe it's called a "dead blow" mallet.
--
flip


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 14 Jun 2006 10:24:01 -0400, Philip Lewis

Thanks. Getting old is a bitch-- but it beats the alternative.
And a trip to the garage reveals that mine is 4lb, not 5. If you can find a 5, go for it, but the heaviest I've seen locally is this one; http://shopping.msn.com/prices/shp/?itemId8091281
If you're an 'all-day' worker, get 2. A hit on the corner of a brick can puncture the face. I 'Gooped' mine and let it set a day or two--- but if you have more ambition than patience, a spare is probably a good idea.
Jim [I just found a 5lb one-- but bring your wallet- $67 http://www.arizonatools.com/detail/STA57-550/ ]
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
writes:

I've got a 2lb dead blow and I literally only have to tap the bricks slightly to get them flattened up. What I'm not sure about is whether a plate compactor will keep that flatness or cause me problems. Cheers, cc
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
-snip-

IMO you're wasting your time 'tapping'. If you're going to use a mallet, then pound them home- until they'll move no more with a great deal of force. If you're going to use the plate compacter- then just lay them in- and have at it with the machine. As someone else mentioned, I'd definitely lay a cushion of 1/2" ply between my pavers and the metal compacter.

I haven't used a plate compacter on pavers, but from using it in on gravel & backfill, I'd say that you will still compact your pavers some-- and the nature of the beast will be to make them flat. If your sub-base isn't compacted enough, or is not perfect you might end up with low spots, but the 'setting' layer is just that- a bed to set the pavers in.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

The top layer of sand has to be _flat_. Get two ten-foot lengths of small OD metal electrical conduit and lay them on the packed base before you screed the sand. Use the conduits as a guide for the screed board. Yes there will be two grooves in the sand when you remove the conduits, but those are easily filled by hand.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm doing that already. Trouble is, I'm at curves and such so the amount that I can actually screed is not very large so that means a bit more handwork. I'm sure my lack of flatness is either my technique of setting the bricks or in the places where I'm not perfectly flat (ie. hand work areas). This is why I'm asking whether I can tap them into place or not. I don't really understand why I couldn't but then again, this is my first paver project. I plan to use a compactor so if that will get them all at the same height, then I'll keep going as is. Thanks for any feedback. Cheers, cc
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.