how to install concrete pavers

How to install concrete pavers by yourself

Would you like to do a new paver patio or a walkway but aren’t confident that you can do it yet? Or you are, but you lack the proper information on how to do it yourself.

I have good news for you; I have a guide right here that can help you understand better. Laying pavers isn’t quite rocket science, and it’s something that anyone with a little eye for details and who is willing to work can do. I’m not going to lie; it is heavy work.

Laying concrete pavers on a sand and gravel base is much like laying brick and any other material on a sand and gravel base, for that matter.

Concrete pavers are available in many different shapes and intricate patterns; it just depends on what type you want for your patio.

The advantage of installing concrete pavers is that they are big and lay quickly. Most will have an auto spacing feature, making it easier and quicker to lay evenly.

It’s also an accessible material to cut, so even tricky spots can be done. If you want to read more about installing pavers, check the link.

The paver installation process is quite simple; here is a fast walkthrough.

How to lay pavers for walkway

First, you should have the ground adequately done before you start. Grass and soil should be excavated or shoveled away, and gravel and sand should be placed there instead.

The gravel should be compacted, and the installing sand should be shoveled on top of that.

It’s easier to lay the pavers on level sand, so use some tool like level to screed it even and slope it to the direction you want. After that, you’re ready to start working on the pavers.

Start by placing the pavers along one edge of the patio and work toward the opposite edge, following the pattern dictated by the shape of the pavers. You want to progress systematically row after row so the joints won’t widen or grow too tight.

Once you see where the next paver is going, place it firmly in place, but be careful not to drag it through the sand.

Before you get too far, make it a habit to check for level; just like with the bricks, use a 2×4 or a level and run it over the concrete pavers to make sure everything is level.

This will save you the trouble if you get too far ahead and notice it’s no good. Then you have to lift the pavers off and fix it.

Also, like with the bricks, tap high spots with a mallet and add sand to low spots. Just go slow and make sure you are doing it right the first time, or you will spend hours trying to correct it if you go too far.

This is where attention to detail will pay off, as 24×24 large concrete pavers need a reasonable level and compact ground to install nicely. I can’t overstate this: if the ground or frost heaves happen, they will look bad next summer.

How do you cut concrete pavers

How to cut concrete pavers

So, how do you cut concrete pavers? You will often need to cut your pavers when you get to certain spots, especially around the edges and end of rows.

If you need to cut a paver, score the sides of it with a brick chisel and hammer; once the paver is scored, you can cut it with a circular saw and masonry blade. Ensure you have a masonry blade, or you will damage your pavers and spend a ton of money on regular saw blades.

The masonry blade cuts into concrete easily, but it would be good to cut pavers on level ground. Use something other than your fingers on a problematic spot if it needs to be held.

One-handed use of an angle grinder is an unnecessary risk as it can quickly jump from the cut to fingers if careless or it gets stuck.

There will also be lots of concrete dust, so a wet/dry vacuum or some other system might be good to handle it. Depending on the yard, some remote place to cut would be recommended to avoid cleaning.

How to finish concrete pavers

Once all the pavers are in place, you must sweep sand into the joints with a stiff brush or broom. Feel free to get enough sand on the patio because you will almost always add more as you go on.

It is time-consuming, but patience will pay off when the sand is finally compacted on the joints.

Just like with bricks, ensure the pavers securely fit into the sand and gravel base using enough sand and a power tamper. This makes the pavers set in the bed nice and tight and will reduce movement.

It will also help fight ground heaves over time and frost heaving.

Spray the patio with water and let the sand settle. When you spray the deck with water, you need to wait for it to dry, and you will probably need to add more sand a second and a third time.

If you want a long-lasting finish, consider using sealer for concrete pavers. After that, you should be ready to go and enjoy your patio.

How to make concrete paver molds

One added to using concrete pavers: you can create your style of pavers. If you are creative and handy enough, you can make a concrete paver mold out of 2×2 or 1×2 in any shape you want. The thickness is close to most pavers, then.

This gives you an option to put your patio together however you want. Making a mold can be tricky, but once you have figured it out, you can go anywhere you want with your deck.

Remember that the bigger the pavers are, the heavier and harder they will be to install.

There is also the option to create something more decorative with the aggregates used for the cast. Once the concrete has hardened, the surface can be ground and sanded to show different aggregates. Or maybe try some paint for concrete pavers.

Conclusion

When it comes to laying pavers, the foundation is key. You’ll want to make sure the gravel base is compacted and level, with just enough sand on top to ensure the pavers lay flat.

Even if you’re wondering how to lay pavers on dirt, the process is essentially the same. However, keep in mind that pavers on dirt are more prone to ground heaves when the earth freezes, so it’s best to only use a base for smaller areas, such as a BBQ grill or a short walkway made of a few concrete pads.

Laying pavers can be a physically demanding task, so it’s important to plan ahead. I recommend placing the majority of the pavers within reach when they’re delivered to save yourself the hassle of transporting them around the job site.

With a little bit of planning and effort, you can create a beautiful and lasting surface for your outdoor living space.