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Putting together a paver patio?

Monday, 04 March 2013 00:00
Pavers being laid Pavers being laid

Patio and deck spaces lend the perfect opportunity to bring inside spaces to outside spaces and vice versa. This exterior, mixed cobblestone, paver patio replaced a worn-out redwood deck which saw forty years of life.

     The concrete capstone apron surrounding the pavers continuously curves from the front to the back.  Such curved exterior details helps to integrate inside with exterior spaces.  There are no straight lines in nature; as humans we impose straight lines upon nature.  Decks, patios, and other landscaping give us the opportunity to merge these two domains.

      When starting your own paver patio make sure to start with undisturbed earth for stability.  By undisturbed earth, builders generally mean building upon the deep layer of earth which hasn't seen a shovel for years and, therefore, is stable.  Next, add four to six inches of compactable gravel--usually a mixture for underlayment of fairly angular rock (from 3/8"-3/4" in diameter), sand, and a bit of water.  Be careful  not to add too much water.  It is better to err on the side of not enough, than too much water.  The mixture should just be damp, not saturated. This mixture MUST be compacted, preferably by a vibra-plate or similar compaction tool.  Then add about an inch of sand over the top of the compacted substrate.  Now you are ready for the pavers.

     Keep in mind that there are many different types of pavers.  These particular pavers for this project came from a company called S. F. Cobbles.  The customer wanted a fairly random pattern composed of 8"x10", 5"x5" and 5"x8" pavers.  To avoid disrupting the pavers before they were set, we started laying the pavers on the far side of the garden entrance to avoid constantly walking over our fresh work.  After all the pavers were in place, we compacted the pavers firmly in the sand and leveled them relative to each other for consistency.  To make sure the pavers stayed in place, we added Basalite's polymeric sand to fill-in the cracks between pavers.  The final touch was adding a sealant to the top of the pavers.  Paver sealants come in two flavors: deep penetrating and surface sealants.  For the wet look, the surface sealant is used; however, it is considerably more effort to upkeep than the penetrating sealant which must be reapplied.  In any case, pavers must be fairly clean and dry before applying any type of sealant.  Summer application is preferable, if possible.   

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