Compacting and preparing base for pavestone deck

I'm looking at using either Pavestones or concrete squares (12 x 12 x 1 1\2) for a 15 x 15 foot deck on the side of my house. I live in North Texas and we have some funky soils here as far as the soil shrinking in the heat of summer and swelling with the rainy season - a lot of houses have foundation problems if the homeowners don't use soaker hoses around the house.
Any recommendations as far as how much of a base I'd need under the Pavestones or concrete squares, and what type of material(s) would make the best base? Would it have to be compacted?
I like the look of the Pavestones, but I like the cost of the concrete squares.
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AngryOldWhiteGuy wrote:

Have you checked the manufacturer's site for base recommendations?
Around here (central Florida) they often use crushed concrete for a base, about 3" after compaction. It seems to work quite well, nice mix of fines and larger, compacts flat and hard. Whatever is used and whatever thickness needs to be compacted.

Uhhh...Pavestones *are* concrete. Or did you mean plain old grey concrete?
Personally, I don't care for concrete pavers. What instead? Clay bricks. The problem with the concrete ones is that sooner or later the surface erodes and exposes the aggegate. Not a look I like.
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dadiOH
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On Mon, 17 Sep 2012 08:50:42 -0500, "AngryOldWhiteGuy"

Usual recommendation is 4-6" of compacted base for foot traffic only, 12" or more for vehicle traffic. Base material is usually called paver base, or 3/4 minus, or crusher run. It's called different names in different areas, but you want a mix of aggregate from roughly 3/4" in size down to dust.
After you excavate, it's best to lay down a layer of geotextile fabric (any paver supplier will carry it) to keep the base from sinking into the underlying soil over time. Place the base over the fabric in rougly 3-4" lifts or layers, compacting each layer before adding more. Dampen the base before compacting. This lubricates it so it compacts better. Over all that place a 1" layer of paver sand (not play sand) and set the pavers on that. Compact the pavers into the sand and then fill the spaces between the pavers with sand or polymeric sand.
There's a lot of labor in a good job; I'd spring for the pavers you like so you end up loving the look when you're done.
If you do anticipate vehicle traffic over the pavers, you definitely will want full thickness pavers; anything thinner will crack eventually. If it's just foot traffic, the thin ones will hold up fine over a good base.
The trick is getting the base nice and flat and sloped properly for run-off. The sand compensates for slight variations in the base since it's hard to get it perfect.
You will find the base material is sold by the ton. A decent supplier will be able to tell you how many tons you need if you tell them how many square feet and what base depth you need after compaction, but it's an approximation.
The above are general recommendations. A good paver dealer (not the borg) will be able to tell you if there's anything you should do different because of your soil and climate. They have an interest in your job turning out well.
Good luck!
Paul F.
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wrote:

i just used some concrete waste on a small driveway addition job, it had varying sizes and lots of fine material.....
its only 12 by 14 feet or so, 3 inches thick. i wet it down with a garden hose and raked it out, used the van to compact it...
i am very impressed, it acts like poured concrete, and looks good for what it is......
in a few years the entire driveway has to get ripped up to replace a sewer line so this was a make do budget job...... i have zero bucks right now for a 12 grand sewer line, plus the money to rebuild the driveway, sidewalk and a wall...
so we hand dug this: and 60 bucks worth of ground concrete delivered was all we could afford
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