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Having read a recent post about dry laid flagstone versus pavers, I wanted to share a series of photos showing the

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proper installation of pavers. I took these photos documenting each step of the process of installing a paver walkway.
Pavers are actually quite easy to install and really only require one tool to be rented, a plate compactor. The heavy work is in excavating the area to about 6 and 1/2 inches below grade and moving the dirt. Then you build up the base with crusherun/crush&run which is a crushed stone. Build it up in 2 layers running the compactor over the area. A homeowner can use a 4 foot level and a 2x4 board to help get the crushed stone base to a proper pitch and close to even. Remember that the base should extend about 6" beyond the last paver.
The exact level surface is then done using 3/4" iron pipes. You will need at least 2 pipes. Lay the pipes across the base and check with a level to see if you have the proper grade. Use a little sand to adjust the pipes. With the pipes set, you begin shoveling the sand into the area and with a straight board, you screed (drag) the sand. You are left with a perfectly level surface of sand. As you move along, remove the pipes and fill the gaps with sand. Remember to not walk on the sand once it is screeded.
For a larger patio, we usually work in sections laying pavers as we go so that we can then work off of the already laid pavers. The chosen pattern will dictate any cutting. For a few cuts, a grinding wheel on a circular saw will suffice. For lots of cuts or cutting curves on a patio, a large gas powered cut-off saw with a grinding wheel or diamond wheel is necessary. We also use a large sliding table tile saw to custom cut some pavers.
Once the pavers are all laid, install the edging strips. Then, run the compactor over the pavers to bed the pavers in the sand. You will have a perfectly level and smooth paver patio/walk. It does not require setting each paver individually. While compacting, you will sweep regular sand or polymeric sand into the joints. If polymeric sand, follow the manufacturer instructions on sweeping, compacting, and wetting.
See the following photos for the process. As an example of how fast pavers can be installed, 3 of us installed the paver walkway seen in the photos in one day. We followed the same path of an existing paver walkway that was improperly installed. The one day included all excavation and all installation and clean-up.

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  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL
    on Dec 22, 2011

    Proves again that everything is in the details.

  • Bob and RodMan S
    Bob and RodMan S Tucker, GA
    on Dec 22, 2011

    Thanks, Trillium, for taking the time and effort required to make a lasting installation.

  • Miriam I
    Miriam I Bay Shore, NY
    on Dec 22, 2011

    I shared your post with Seth who posted the pavers v. flagstone question. You guys are awesome. Thanks for the great info.

  • Seth F
    Seth F Mcdonough, GA
    on Dec 22, 2011

    Thanks for the extra pictures

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Dec 22, 2011

    just like with most home improvement projects good prep results in a great final outcome.

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