When planning to install pavers, whether it’s for a patio or walkway, there are important installation guidelines that you’ll need to follow in order to achieve good results. In this post, you’ll become familiar with each aspect of the paver installation process so that you’re equipped to do the job right the first time.
If you haven’t yet selected pavers for your project, check out our section on how to choose pavers here.
Planning For Paver Installation
Pavers are installed by replacing dirt with a compacted stone base. The quality of the base dictates how well the patio or walkway surface will retain its form. It’s imperative that the stone does not flex underneath the paver surface or sinking and shifting can occur.
Paver manufacturers have different foundation requirements for proper installation of their products. In fact, each paver will have unique foundation requirements based on attributes like shape, size and thickness.
Familiarize yourself with manufacturer-specific paver installation requirements at the links below.
Techo-Bloc Paver Installation Guidelines
EP Henry Paver Installation Guidelines
Paver Base Requirements
In Pennsylvania, we install pavers with a 4-12 in. base (depending on the application and the type of pavers). The precise base type, depth and material used depends on the manufacturer.
For instance, Techo-Bloc recommends 4-8 in. of ¾ in. clean gravel and then a ⅜ in. clean gravel “setting bed.” Manufacturers such as EP Henry recommend a base of 4-8 in. of modified crushed stone and sand (or stone) screenings for the setting bed.
How Deep Do I Need To Dig?
Depth of Excavation For Pavers
If, for instance, your pavers have a 2 ⅝ in. thickness and require a 6 in. base, you will need to excavate to 8 ⅝ in. on the uphill side.
(What ‘uphill side’ implications are are unclear)
Then, factor in an additional 1 in. of depth to accommodate the pitch for every 8 ft. of patio length.
Pro Tip: Don’t overdig! The base needs to be compacted so that it doesn’t settle underneath your newly laid patio. A properly tamped and solid sub-base ensures that pavers do not sink or otherwise become uneven over time.
How Much Base Stone Will I Need?
Base Material Requirements For Pavers
One ton of crushed base stone covers just 240 sq. ft. at 1 in. depth. So, for a 300 sq. ft. patio, a 6 in. base requires 7.5 tons (or 15,000 lbs.) of base stone (installed, compacted and leveled over a quality geo-textile fabric).
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to plan a home for the roughly 6 tons of topsoil that you will remove to install the patio surface. (Add an option here on suggestion of what to do with topsoil)
Materials For Installing Pavers for a Patio
- Base stone
- Edging spikes
- Stakes and line
- Joint grouting material (typically, polymeric sand)
Tools For Installing Pavers for a Patio
- Digging shovel
- Garden rake
- Wheelbarrow or tractor cart (to move dirt)
- Line level
- Snips or pruners
- Utility knife
- Plate compactor
- Used cardboard or thin plywood
- Saw and concrete blade to cut pavers (optional)
- Pick axe (optional)
Installing pavers in the correct manner requires adherence to the product manufacturer’s specifications. Having the right tools and constructing a proper base will ensure that your paver surface endures for years to come.