Using pavers to install a walkway, patio or even a driveway may seem like a relatively easy project. The truth is that unless the pavers are installed correctly with the right materials and methods, the project is not likely to hold up very well.
Pavers are usually formed of stone, concrete or brick, and are available in a variety of colors and styles.
How to Install Pavers
The first step in your project will be to choose the style and color of pavers to buy. Using more than one color to create an attractive pattern or design is a popular option.
Before actually purchasing the project material, the area must be accurately measured to determine the amount needed. Once all the planning and preparations have been done, the hard work begins.
Approximately 8-1/2 inches of earth should be removed before the installation process can begin. The best way to make sure the hole is deep enough is to place a long 2 x 4 or pipe across the area and periodically measure from the bottom edge to check the depth. Digging a little too deep is better than not digging deep enough because any depressions can be filled in if necessary.
After the hole has been dug deep enough it is time to begin filling it with a 5-inch layer of crushed stone. As the stone is added and tamped down, use the same method used to check the depth of the hole to make sure the crushed stone layer still allows 3-1/2 inches of space for the remaining material.
The next layer you need to install is 1 inch of sand that will serve as a bed to set the pavers in. Since most pavers are 2 3/8-inches thick, set up 2 x 4s exactly 2 3/8-inches below the ground level to function as a guide when installing the sand. Spread the sand as evenly as possible and use a long 2 x 4 as a screed to level the layer. Screed the sand a few times in each direction and do not walk in the area when it is finished.
With all the preparation done, you can finally begin setting the pavers. Using a straight edge as a reference, place the pavers close together with only a thin joint line between them. Use a rubber mallet to level any high pavers and add sand beneath any that are too low. Once you are finished setting and leveling all the pavers, it is time to add joint sand. You will want to make sure to purchase the best paver joint sand to ensure the stability of your project.
Best Paver Joint Sand
Polymeric sand is very effective at stabilizing pavers over time, and Flexlock is highly recommended. Flexlock polymeric sand is a type of paver joint sand containing additives that bond the paver joints when exposed to water. Although there are other brands of paver joint sand available, Flexlock uses water to create a strong bond suitable for use with new pavers or to repair a deteriorating project.
Flexlock sand is engineered with polymers and colorant. When applied to the joints of your pavers, it will harden. There are many theories on how this product should be installed, but you should talk to a certified installer for the proper installation method. Installing sand on a damp or moist paver can result in a number of complex issues.
Flexlock sand will prevent ongoing weed issues but will not prevent them from completely occurring. It will also help compliment new or existing paver installs.