Would you like to do new paver patio or maybe walkway, but aren’t confident that you can do it yet? Or maybe you are, but you’re lacking the proper information on how to do it yourself?
I have good news for you as I have a guide right here that can help you to get better understanding. Laying pavers isn’t quite rocket science and it’s something that anyone with little eye for details and 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 to installing concrete pavers is that they are big and lay pretty quickly, and most will have some sort of auto spacing feature making it easier and quicker to lay evenly. It’s also an easy material to cut so even difficult 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 for it.
How to lay pavers for walkway
First, you should have the ground properly done before you start. Grass and some soil should be excavated or shoveled away and some gravel and sand should be placed there instead. The gravel should be compacted and after that, 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 sloped 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 them 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 that it’s no good. Then you have to lift the pavers off and fix it.
Also just 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 concrete pavers that are large will need a good level and compact ground to install nicely. I really can’t overstate this if the ground heaves or frost heave happen, they will look bad next summer.
How to cut concrete pavers
So how do you cut concrete pavers? Many times you will need to cut your pavers when you get to certain spots, especially around the edges and end of rows. If you do 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. Make sure you have a masonry blade or you will damage your pavers and spend a ton of money on regular saw blades.
Masonry blade cuts into concrete pretty easily, but it would be good to cut pavers on level ground. If it needs to be held, use something else than fingers on a difficult spot. One-handed use of angle grinder is an unnecessary risk as it can easily jump from the cut to fingers if careless or it gets stuck.
There will also be lots of concrete dust so wet/dry vacuum or some other kind of 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 need to sweep sand into the joints with a stiff brush or broom. Don’t be afraid to get enough sand on the patio because you will almost always add more as you go on. It is a time-consuming job, but patience will pay off when the sand is finally compact on the joints.
Just like with bricks make sure the pavers are securely fit into the sand and gravel base by 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 that happen over time and frost heaving.
Spray the patio with water and let the sand settle. When you spray the patio with water you need to wait for it to dry and you will probably need to add some more sand a second and maybe a third time.
If you want a long lasting finish, think about using sealer for concrete pavers. After that you should be ready to go and enjoy your patio.
How to make concrete pavers molds
There is also one added to using concrete pavers and that is, you can create your own 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 pretty close to most pavers then.
This gives you an option to put your patio together however you want. It can be a little tricky to make a mold but once you have figured it out you can go anywhere you want with your patio. Just 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 all different kinds of aggregates. Or maybe try some kind of paint for concrete pavers.
When laying pavers you want your gravel to be compact and just enough sand on top of it so you can lay the pavers there as level as possible. If you want to know how to lay pavers on dirt, it’s pretty much the same as this. They are just more vulnerable to ground heaves when the earth freezes.
So I’d not advise laying pavers without a base unless it’s just a small area meant for a BBQ grill or something else like that like few concrete pads as a walkway.
Also, as it is some heavy work, I’d advise placing most of the pavers at a comfortable distance to get them from when they drop them at your place. This way you will save yourself and some travel time while you work.