Paver Stone Patio Installation Question

I am in the excavation stage of a 500 sf. paver stone patio project. I have already purchased the necessary materials: pavers, base rock, concrete sand, snap edge etc, but I have one question... Should I use landscape fabric under the base rock? Every book and web site concerning paver stone installation that I've seen recommends using it. The paver manufacturer (CalStone) doesn't mention it in their instructions and the distributor (who appears to be quite knowledgeable on the subject) says it's not recommended - they don't even carry the stuff.
For what it's worth, the patio will not be near the house and the area is excavated 8 inches under which the soil is hard as rock. There will be 5" of compacted base rock, 1" of concrete sand, and when the patio is complete the pavers and joints will be sealed. Also, the ground does not freeze here.
I've had paver patios with landscape fabric under the base material before but still had weeds growing through the paver joints. I am told that sealing everything from the top will prevent the weeds. I'm interested in hearing about experiences from those that have skipped the landscape fabric step.
Thanks, M.Paul
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-snip-

Is it clay or something with good drainage? If it is clay, I would definitely use it. It wont prevent weeds, as they will seed from the top--- but it will keep the subsoil from mixing with your base rock. [i used #2 crushed stone- ymmv] I used it-- it was cheap in comparison to the whole job & easy to install & I couldn't think of any way it could harm the job.

I used 5-6 inches of #2 stone as a base-- *power* tamped it-- then a couple inches of 'fines'. Next time I'll use mason's sand instead of the fines. The fines don't drain as well as sand -- and they discolored the stones for a couple months until all the really fine stuff soaked in.
I'm also real happy I broke down and rented a power tamper at the last minute. I never would have done a decent job with a hand tamper.

Without the ground freezing yours might be more forgiving of less tamping. -- But anyone in frost country should spend the money on a tamper. [$75 a day in this part of the world]
Jim
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Generally, with the below grade prep you ve done, you dont need fabric. There arent any weeds likely to come from below. The odd windblown seed will find its way between your pavers..when it sprouts, pull it out. Thats the way ours went...no fabric..10 yrs, no problems
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Thanks for the advice and words of experience. I will definately be using a power plate compactor to compact the base rock (I think what I'm using is called 3/4-minus). I am not so much concerned about weeds growing through the base rock layer - I don't think they will get through it - but I am concerned about the possibility of the clay soil and base rock layer gradually mixing together (causing movement) over the years. But considering that the landscape fabric would be approx 10% of the total cost of the job and the paver stone distributor telling me that it's a waste of time and money, I'm still not sure what I will do. With only two weeks before the base rock arrives, I need to make up my mind soon. Also, thanks for the advice on fine sand vs mason's sand. I don't want any staining as I'd like to get everything sealed-up (without stains) before the rains come. Thanks again, M.Paul

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May can contact a nusery supply center (wholesale) and get what they refer to as ground cover for that. Better for underlayment where using rock and doing any paving over the landscape fabric. Not sure if any cheaper but I nver had to buy extra as always had on site at my nursery.

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"M.Paul"

It depends. Here is a quote from the ICPI Tech Spec 2. http://www.icpi.org/techspecs/index.cfm?id=6&tech  "Applying Geotextiles (Optional) Geotextile may be used in areas where soil remains saturated part of the year, where there is freeze and thaw, or over clay and moist silty subgrade soils. As a separation layer, it prevents soil from being pressed into the aggregate base under loads, especially when saturated, thereby reducing the likelihood of rutting. When geotextiles are used they preserve the load bearing capacity of the base over a greater length of time than placement without them. Woven or non woven fabric may be used under the base with a minimum equivalent opening size of No. 3050 sieve. Table 2 lists minimum requirements of geotextiles for base consolidation and soil separation. These are from Task Force 25AASHTO Guide Specification and Test Procedures for Geotextiles (1990). When the fabric is placed in the excavated area, it should be turned up along the sides of the opening,covering the sides of the base layer. There should be no wrinkles on the bottom. When the aggregate is dumped on the fabric, the tires from trucks should be kept off the fabric to prevent wrinkling."

Concrete sand that conforms to ASTM 33 is recommended for bedding sand. The size of the granules are important for best performance of the interlocking pavers. Masons sand should not be used for bedding sand, nor should limestone screenings. Masons sand (or poymeric sand on steeper applications) is recommended for top dressing.
ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavingstone Institute) Specs are available at the link above and describe the engineering standards for best practices.
Will Niccolls
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"M.Paul"

Sorry for replying twice.
Landscape fabric (as others may have pointed out) is different than the geotextile used as separation fabric for paver installation. Neither will prevent weed growth. Weeds take root in the sand in the joints. Polymeric sand will help with that.
Next, the single biggest problem for patios is usually compaction, both of the subsoil surface, and the base aggregate material. A plate compactor works for 2-4 inches of aggregate, but it sometimes helps to compact the soil with a jumping jack style tamper, or even to excavate more soil and replace it with the aggregate, especially in areas where the soil has been disturbed (around foundations, deck footings, etc).
We typically build the base 1 foot wider than the patio surface to make sure the edges stay stable and don't fall away, and to have a good anchor for the edge restraint spikes. If you can hammer them in with a 20oz hammer, you haven't compacted enough. (We use 3 to 5lb sledges)
Let us know how it turns out.
Will Niccolls
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