Concrete pavers / interlock pavers

My apology for cross posting.
I have a question regarding laying some concrete pavers to make a trail at the side of my house. I am talking about those 24" X 24" type you see in big box stores.
Every book I read one needs to put a few inches of gravels plus one inch of sand for foundation. When my neighbour did his two years back he did not put down any foundation at all. In fact he did not even remove the sod ! Two years later every still looks fine to me. In fact it has a certain rustic look to it that is not available in jobs done properly !
What disasters I am looking at if I follow his lazy way ?
J
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Probably none. You are essentially installing stepping stones, right? If you're laying the smaller pavers, more brick sized, then the base is more critical in keeping the pavers from shifting around. Since you like the more rustic look, and the pavers are so large, don't sweat it. I wouldn't just drop them on the sod, though. It'll look much better right away, and you won't have problems with tripping and mowers and such, if you remove the sod and lay the paver flush.
R
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Do it the easy way if you want I did several times and no problems. The 24x24 are thick and wont break just make them so they dont rock. Alot of DIY info is overkill.
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them down, they will move side to side, etc etc etc. OH weeds WILL grow up through them as well. Do it properly, a few bags of screenings and washing in a bag of sang will go a long long way!

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Pavers and walkways are a good example of the 90 /10 rule. You can do 90% of the work in 10% of the time. if 90% is good enough for you, fine, but it will still look like a homeowner weekend project rather than a compliment to your house.
It depends upon the appearance you want to achieve. Actually, I think the large 24" x 24" blocks aren't really intended for a professional paving block installation. Lots of folks just space the blocks out like stepping stones and the result is just that -- a homeowner's low cost walkway -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- . If you're trying to do a solid long walkway or a patio you'll have problems keeping the large blocks level from block to block. The smaller interlocking pavers are much easier to install in that respect.
But before you decide, I suggest you also find a professional installation of interlocking pavers (the small, interlocking kind) which will show you what is possible. A well-done paving block walk or patio is very handsome. An installation of this type should go a long ways in improving the appearance of your walkway and a visitor's impression of your house.
I've added a paving block patio, walkway and also "blocked" the south and east perimeter of the house, adding built in sections for gardens. I went the full route, with pavers, a bed of screening, tamping, etc., and we wouldn't have been satisfied by just putting down the 24 x 24 blocks on unprepared soil.

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The large size blocks are difficult to keep completely level if you've got a lot of them creating a patio or a solid walkway. Especially for steps on a slope, I built frames for the blocks.
Because of our sandy soil in FL, I used PT 2 x 6s to make a frame just big enough for 4-6 of these large blocks, then anchored the frame into the ground with 2' rebar. Then I tamped some sand into the frames and put the blocks on top of them. This is especially effective in making steps because you can level everything make sure your spacing is correct. It looks good, everything is level and the steps are easy to lay out.
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Thanks for the informative answer to my question. YOu mentioned putting down screening but you did not mention a hardcore layer like gravel before that. Am I right that you just put limestone screening, and how many inches of it may I ask ?
J
World Traveler wrote:

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wow ! I am gonna show my neighbour your story. Thanks. !
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

It depends on soil and weather conditions. The standard procedure will handle most soil and weather conditions, your neighbor's method will not, but with the right weather and soil conditions it may work. I use the standard method myself.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia\'s Muire duit
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

The biggest problems over time are likely:
1. The pavers will settle unevenly in the sod making them hard to walk on at some point - this may take 5-10 years.
2. They may crack due to the uneven support that also contributes to 1 above.
However, some may consider this part of the rustic look so if you don't mind some uneven settling and cracking, then go for it.
Personally, I'd prepare a proper base and then put topsoil around the pavers and re-seed to get the rustic look of grass around the pavers.
Matt
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On 2005-04-13 22:05:42 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com said:

The former homeowner did just what your neighbor did and now we have a very uneven, nasty (not rustic) uneven mess. The former HO did not take into account freezing/thawing or tree roots. Everything has to be taken up and redone. At least 6 years have passed since initial installation.
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I made a patio out of 18" patio pavers about 5 years ago (maybe more now). They still look like the day I put them in. Couple of things I did.
1. Removed anywhere from 0-8 inches of earth, to rough grade the area and bring it level with the existing house entry (sidewalk). 2. Added and rough graded anywhere from added approximately 6 inches of lime rock (small pea sized gravel, with lime mixed in). I manually tamped this several times and let it settle over about 2 months (other projects going on as well). 3. I had placed framing around the area that intended to leave. This was treated lumber. I then put approximately 1 inch of sand in and graded this to an almost glass smooth finish. I had the whole thing sloping away from the house approximately 1/4" per foot. I decided to offset each row. So in other words, the first row, I had 1/2 a paver, then full ones until the last one, which was the other 1/2. In the next row I started with a full paver and ended with a full paver. The next row was back to 1/2 first and last. On the next row, I went back to full. A staggered pattern, I guess.. This really helped to lock in the big pavers. 4. I manually tamped them in one last time (carefully) to help them settle. And then spread sand between the joints. But the joints are so tight, there is little sand going in between! 5. Finally, I took some of the dirt I dug out in the beginning and graded the edges out from the framing.
As you can see...a WHOLE LOT of work! But it does hold up VERY well and we spend many enjoyable hours on the deck.
By the way, I dug in 4 posts later and some framing on top of those posts and added a tarp thing, that filters about 80% of the sun. Helps keep it cool on those hot days.
Having said ALL that, you can just plop those things on the ground if you want. But they will likely shift. I had a friend that did what you are considering for a sidewalk and it works...and frankly, it doesn't look to bad. But when he tries to shovel snow off it.....wow! He's cussin'.
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The previous homeowner had surrounded the house in 1/2 - 1" gravel which I took up and used as a base -- uneven, but about 1-2". I had never seen or heard of "screening" until I went to the local cement/aggregate dealer and asked about delivery of sand for a paving block base. They recommend the screenings vice sand, especially since the local soil is almost all sand already. I haven't seen one of the DIY programs mention screenings, but they work extremely well -- fine particles while being worked, but with time and water hardens into a very supportive base. I used about a 1-2" base of screenings under the paving blocks.
After some experimenting, I varied my technique a little from the standard. I leveled, screeded and tamped the base, but kept the elevation just a little higher than it should be. When I put the pavers in place, I used a rubber mallet to push them down to the right height. This helped lock everything in place. After everything was down, I took a 4x4 sheet of plywood (to protect the pavers) and a manual tamper to again tamp everything in place. This helped keep the entire surface level.
A friend, who made the tightest paver installation I've ever seen, waited about a year after his installation, then sprinkled mortar over the surface and washed it into the cracks between the pavers. His result was beautiful and even though it was part of his driveway and was driven on regularly, never shifted or sank. Good luck with your job -- Regards --

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