I am building a 300 sq ft patio and have already dug out the lawn to
about 4 inches and backfilled those 4 inches with about 4 tons of "#21
A Crushed Bluestone".
I have a few weeks between now and when i will be putting sand and
pavers over it. So nature will be raining on it and what not for a
I bought a 10x10" hand tamper and have been basically wetting the stone
and hand tamping. That, in addition to the rain and weather, seem to
have already solidified the base pretty well.
The question is, do i really need to rent a $75 / day power compactor
to level the base?
or is what i have done already enough?
There are several approaches. Some are faster some easier, some more
suitable for certain soil conditions and some more suitable for certain
materials . It is difficult to make a blanket statement.
However I will say, in general, the power compactor is a quicker easier
and more expensive (if you don't count your time and doctor bills.) method,
but not necessarily a better one.
I am assuming that you are tamping the the various layers of the base as
After the other comments suggesting that hand tamping is not a good
options based on results, I would only comment that my personal experience
(three jobs at three homes over 30 years) is that under the conditions I
have encountered hand tamping works well. Even the 30 year old job is still
in use in good shape and to the best of my knowledge has not been re-tamped.
Part of the drive where cars turned in has been adjusted a few times do to
some movement, but that is about it.
Your mileage may vary.
Two suggestions, based on having completed some similar jobs around my
(A) You probably don't need to use anything other than the hand tamper,
especially since you'll have foot traffic but no vehicular traffic -- it's
not a driveway and not subject to those stresses. A 15 x 20 patio made
with interlocking pavers that are 2 1/2 inches thick should hold up well
with only hand tamping. OTOH, if you have the time and $ to use the power
compactor (and the patio area is not an unusual, hard-to-tamp shape) it
can't hurt to use the power compactor. All tamping is probably helpful to
some degree. So the basic question is how certain do you want to be that
your patio will stand up over time.
(B) Instead of sand, consider using "screenings" under the paving blocks.
This can be levelled like sand, but will compact, harden and create a firmer
patio. Then you'd just need sand to go into the joints between the paving
blocks. Regards --
Absolutely yes, unless you want to pull up all the pavers in 5-10 years and
re-level the base because it became all wavy.
You might have done enough but $75 will give you piece of mind that settling
is far less likely to happen 5-10 years down the road. (less likely because
I don't know what you have, creep may be inevitable). Really, what are you
paying for the pavers, like $2k-$4k plus another $500 for the base material.
(I'm assuming $0 for labor and you did it yourself).
Get a vibratory compactor, not a jumping jack and a half day rental at HD
otta do it. You'll need it again after the pavers are down so this is good
practice on a surface you can't damage.
Compute the hours that you already have invested. If you are
willing to do that again in one or two years-- then save the $75.
I was going to hand tamp mine-- but as it worked out, I was at the
stone place on a saturday about noon & the owner asked if I'd rented a
tamper yet. I said no & he said he'd charge me a 1/2 day if I got
it back monday morning.
I'm *so* glad he offered. The next time I'll rent it for the day.
Places where I'd hand tamped 4" of base-- layed out in 2 passes- got
compressed another inch or so.
After 3 NY winters my patio looks as good as the day I finished it. I
doubt it would look so good without the power tamping.
When you consider the whole job-- materials and labor- $75 is a drop
in the bucket.
> I am building a 300 sq ft patio and have already dug out
the lawn to
I installed about 250 square foot of pavers last summer. I put down a
and leveled the sand pretty well by dragging a long 1x4
accross it. I rented
the vibrating compactor from the Depot. I had a
rough time running it properly.
If it was going in a straight line it
was OK, however it was almost impossible
to turn or backup without
digging in and tearing up a big patch of sand. Not
sure I would bother
with it again.
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.