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
What disasters I am looking at if I follow his lazy way ?
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.
Pavers WILL shift, frost will heve them, the weight of the traffic will push
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!
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
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
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.
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 ?
World Traveler 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.
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
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.
On 2005-04-13 22:05:42 -0400, email@example.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.
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
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!
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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