How To

Paver Installation 101: The Complete Guide for Homeowners

Driveway Pavers

A paver installation is a creative way to spruce up a home. They're much more stylish than the concrete used in typical hardscape designs and can significantly increase your home's value.

Pavers are highly versatile and afford you many design options. You can use them to build a patterned driveway, install a brand-new patio, or line the edge of your pool.

Laying pavers can be tough, so it's important to be prepared before starting the project. Read on to learn everything you need to know about pavers and the installation process.

Types of Pavers

Pavers are made of a wide variety of substances. So you'll have plenty of design options no matter which kind of paver you choose.

Brick and concrete are the most common and have the most applications. These are among the strongest kinds of pavers, so they'll work best for installations like driveways.

If you're looking to build a colorful installation, you can't go wrong with concrete pavers. Pigments can easily be added during the concrete production process, giving you a myriad of color choices.

On the other hand, consider building with stone pavers if you're looking to add a touch of elegance to your hardscaping project. Flagstone and fieldstone are the most popular kinds, but you have plenty of different stones to choose from. Travertine pavers will make a statement, and limestone looks incredible around pools.

Just be aware that natural stone pavers may crack under significant weight, so they aren't an advisable choice for weight-bearing installations.

For those seeking durability and sustainability, plastic pavers are an excellent choice. These pavers are made of recycled plastic and offer unmatched resilience to wear and tear and various weather conditions.

The Paver Installation Process

Installing pavers is tough, back-breaking work. It's a task that many DIY homeowners underestimate. For the best, most beautiful results, hire a paver contractor.

Whether you decide to do the work yourself or hire a professional, the installation process involves all the same steps.

1. Preparation

Before you or your contractor can begin laying the pavers, the installation area needs to be prepared.

The first part of the preparation process involves designing the layout. This is usually drawn on the ground in spray paint.

With the layout finalized, the next step is to make sure that no electrical, cable, or water lines are in the way. A contractor will never start excavating without ensuring the area is clear of these lines.

Now it's time to clear away grass and dirt to make way for the pavers. The amount of dirt that needs to be excavated depends on the grade and use of your paver project. Your contractor will be able to advise you on specific use cases.

2. Building the Sub-base

To lay uniformly, pavers need a strong foundation. Compacting the ground to support the base ensures that no air pockets disrupt your paver installation.

With the sub-base sufficiently tamped down, it's time to put down a geotextile fabric. This keeps the soil from mixing with the gravel. Some installations won't use this fabric, but it's a necessity in places with clay soil.

3. Laying the Base

The base layer consists of a substance known in hardscaping fields as compacted granular aggregate. This is essentially gravel.

This gravel makes a solid base layer. If one uses dirt as a base layer, the pavers are likely to shift and look uneven. This layer should be between four and six inches deep.

The contractor lays two inches of gravel at a time. It needs to be tamped down consistently to guarantee that your pavers lay flat.

4. Adding Bedding Sand

With the base layer flat, your contractor lays a one-inch thick layer of bedding sand on top of it. This sand ensures that your pavers can lock together.

5. Putting Down the Pavers

Now it's finally time to place the pavers. Pavers are laid one at a time in the pattern you and your contractor designed.

It's imperative that the pavers are laid straight down and never slid into place. Doing so could disturb the bedding sand or base layer.

6. Adding Polymeric Sand

Polymeric sand is a unique kind of sand that's ideal for sealing paver joints. The contractor will spread this over the pavers and then sweep it into the joints between each paver. It adds a significant amount of strength to the joints.

7. Applying Sealant

A paver sealant can keep your project looking its best. It protects your pavers from sun and water damage. Most sealants are sprayed right onto the finished project.

Paver Maintenance and Care

A paver project is a robust hardscape installation, but it still requires regular maintenance. You'll have to clean it and periodically check for damaged pavers.

When you clean your pavers, you should use a course-bristle broom and a paver cleaner. The cleaner won't damage the surface of the paver or the polymeric sand. You can also power wash your pavers, but take care not to disturb the underlayers.

Keep your joints from shifting by regularly pulling weeds. Some larger weeds can cause your pavers to shift. Applying a granulated weed killer to the joints can go a long way in preventing the kind of weeds that can disturb paver installations. You should also add more polymeric sand to strengthen the area.

Every three to five years, you need to reseal your pavers. This protects them from the elements and reduces natural wear and tear.

Paver Installation from Outdoor Escapes

Pavers add beauty to a home. You can lay pavers in virtually any pattern, so they're a great way to add flair to a driveway or patio project.

Brick, concrete, and stone are the most common kinds of paver material. Each comes in a variety of colors, so they can perfectly match any aesthetic.

Ready to get started on your hardscape project? Outdoor Escapes has the professional expertise you're looking for. Reach out to get a quote on paver installation cost.

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