A concrete paver patio is a great way to decorate your outdoor space. For most places in your yard, concrete pavers can serve a wide variety of uses. They also suit nearly every design scheme and match any budget.
The previous being said, installing concrete pavers can be hard work if you plan to pave a large area. Most people use concrete pavers to form the platform of a small patio or for a pathway across the lawn in a place where they do not wish to put a concrete walkway. For these smaller projects, concrete pavers can be installed within a few hours and look great for several years.
Whether you’re a DIY pro or you’re just starting out in the home improvement field, you can bet that learning these concrete paver patio basics will help you to succeed on your next paver project.
DIY paver patio steps
Step 1: Start your project by going to the local pavers dealer.
Before investing a lot of brain and back energy into preparing a plan and site for concrete pavers to be installed, it is best to know what type and size of pavers you will be using. Concrete pavers come in various sizes of round, square, and rectangular shapes.
They can be just about any shape that you want since concrete can be poured into any shape form, but these are the common sizes that you can buy. You need to know the size of the pavers and their thickness in addition to the shape. If you are not buying the concrete pavers on this trip, make sure that the type you select will be available when you return to purchase them.
Also, if you’re going to buy them, remember to go with a truck or good trailer. Depending on the size of the patio project, a stack of pavers will weigh as much as that amount of concrete. The regular trailer will be weighted down fast.
Step 2: Sketch a plan for the layout of the concrete pavers.
This does not have to look like the work of the great master artists. Just a rough layout with the dimensions noted should be good enough. Using the size of your plans compute the number of concrete pavers that you will need to do the job.
Unless you are seriously limited on space, plan the site to be large enough that you do not have to make cuts on the concrete pavers. This makes a better-looking job and saves you money, time, and grief.
If you have to cut the concrete pavers, a wet tile saw would be good to avoid the dust. If you’re on a budget, an angle grinder with a masonry blade will do the job, but it will be dusty. Also, need a big enough blade to cut them with comfort so a big angle grinder.
Step 3: Excavation.
Remove the grass, topsoil, and other debris from the area. Excavate two to three inches of soil for gravel and add the thickness of sand and your concrete pavers. Once you’re down to a suitable level, shovel the gravel in.
This might be the heaviest work of the project. The gravel is there for drainage, so the water will drain well to the ground.
After shoveling the gravel using a long 2×4 or other straight edges to flatten and level the gravel (also known as screeding). If everything has gone well, now your gravel is on the proper level to move to the next step after tamping or using a plate compactor to compact the gravel.
Step 4: Installing Borders.
If your concrete pavers aren’t right up against the edge of a structure, you’ll need to install borders. There are a number of borders that you can purchase for this task, or create your own by installing a 1×4 board in place using stakes.
If you’re going to leave the wood there, I recommend using pressure treated wood so it won’t decay there. Also consider pavers edging.
Step 5: Screeding.
Next, pour a two-inch layer of crushed concrete, pea gravel, or concrete sand onto the prepped soil. It’s a wise idea to use corrugated drainage pipes every 2-4 feet and embed them flush to the top of the sand.
If you’re using the pipes, you also need a landscaping cloth on top of them so they won’t clog with the dust and dirt. Pipes don’t only act as drainage, but they’ll be helpful in guiding the screed and ensuring a level surface is maintained as you install the sand.
Depending on the pipe type, it would be good to research the best way to use it a bit.
Step 6: Setting the Pavers
Place pavers one by one in rows from left to right, starting with the longest and straightest edge first. Install a paver border now if it’s part of your paver design. Use a rubber mallet to pound the raised concrete pavers flush with the other pavers.
Be sure to use a long and flat board set carefully on the sand to navigate safely without leaving unwanted footprints in the sand. You might also need to screed some sand if the ground isn’t as level as you thought.
It’s best to move row after row and check the level all the time. If you notice 3 rows later that some pavers are too low or high, it’s annoying to go back to fix it. Being careful saves time here.
Step 7: Placing the Sand
Once your pavers are all set, the final step is filling in the cracks and spaces between the concrete pavers with some sand. It’s a wise idea to use finely sifted concrete sand, as these smaller granules help to keep the stones in place while providing adequate drainage.
Broadcast the sand with your hands on top of the bricks. Use a broom to finish sweeping the loose sand in the cracks. Repeat the process until the sand fills every crack to the top.
Now, if you have the plate compactor, you can use it to carefully drive on top of the patio to compact it some more. You should watch some videos of how they do it. It might not always be necessary though.
Then you might water it with a garden hose so the sand will go in deeper. Let it dry for a while, even on the next day, and sweep some more sand in. After a few weeks, you’ll need to spread more sand as it compacts with time.
Now you should have fine and proper concrete pavers patio, congratulations! A lot of the success actually depends on the gravel and how you compacted it. If you didn’t do it, your pavers might move with the ground heaves. If you have winters, frost heaving might be bad.
The second crucial step is the leveling of sand as it will be the level of your pavers. Thirdly, consider adding sealer on top of the pavers. Pay attention to these and you should have a fine patio.
If you’re looking for cheap patio paver ideas, look from the internet the basic styles. It might also be interesting to check the DIY paver molds.