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.
Recently there has been posts about draining hot water heaters and the pros as well as the cons in doing this. Typical maintenance on a hot water heater is to flush the bottom drain at
least once a year. In some towns where they flush their fire hydrants to keep the pipes clear it is suggested to follow their lead a few days after as any sediment that is disturbed ends up on the bottom of your heater.
What happens then is water displacement. The sandy partials that collect on the bottom of the tank displaces the water ever so slightly. This results in hot spots on the bottom of the tank. When this occurs the flames overheat the tank and begin to break down the steel. After many years this breakdown ends up becoming a tiny hole that is filled with this debris, oftentimes preventing the leak.
However if you decide to drain your heater after many years of not doing it, or all of a sudden you start using the heater more then normal, this sediment that has been plugging that tiny hole is flushed out, often resulting in a leak in a few days after.
So the moral is to flush yearly, but if you have not done so for many years to not touch it or you will end up with a leak.
After draining you may find that the flush hose bib valve at the bottom will not turn off. This is because of some sediment that has blocked the valve and prevented it from turning off. If that happens a hose bib cap can be purchased at the local hardware store for about $1.50 put that on and your good to go. The photo is the inside of such a valve on a hot water heater that was 6 years old and had never been flushed. We tried to empty this tank to replace with a new high efficiency tankless, next photo but the hole was so small it only trickled out. The new heater will produce enough hot water for two showers, one laundry and one dishwasher to run all at the same time.