Have you ever tried to lay pavers for a walkway or a patio? It is hard work, and the surface can end up with bumps and dips that are hard to fix. This is because homeowners don’t have the experience or the equipment to properly prepare the base for the pavers to rest on. Once the base is prepared, the pavers must be properly placed and leveled as the job progresses. When the pavers are in place, the proper sand needs to be applied and treated to avoid air pockets and uneven places. This process can take a lot of time for a homeowner, but professionals with the correct equipment make fast work of the job.
The Decision: Hire an Expert to Install the Paver Patio or Try DIY
Installing a paver patio floor that is large enough to hold patio furniture and entertain on is no small task. If it is done wrong, it will be uneven and unsightly, as well as being hard to use. Some homeowners feel they are up to the task. They have done other landscaping and home improvement tasks successfully. This is not the project to use as a first DIY job. Getting a nice level paver patio involves a lot of lifting and steps. The homeowner is wise to call a company such as Pantera Pavers to get a bid for the job and ask them what steps they will take in the installation of the patio.
Once the homeowner has an idea of what steps are required to install pavers properly, they can decide if they want to try and tackle the job themselves or hire experts to do it. Making the decision about hiring a paver installation company should involve asking them a few questions such as are they licensed, bonded, and insured? Do they offer a satisfaction guarantee? Can they give the homeowner an accurate bid for the job with a contract to sign? Can they design the space that is required, and can they give a work schedule with a guaranteed completion date? Can they give five referrals from past customers?
Ask them to describe their preparation and installation process and the materials they plan on using. If the patio base is not correctly prepared, the patio may sink in spots, shift, or sprout weeds between the pavers. There is nothing more annoying than an uneven patio that makes it hard to set up a stable table and chairs.
For the Homeowner Choosing To Install the Patio Themselves: 5 expert Tips
1. Use pavers for a patio floor because they make up for the higher initial cost by their lower maintenance cost and the fact that repairs can be made one paver at a time. Make sure to order a few extra pavers for repairs.
2. Check with the local utilities before digging to avoid plumbing, electrical, or cable lines. make sure to dig below the root level of vegetation or more than six inches.
3. When the area is dug to the necessary depth, use landscape cloth to create a barrier.
4. Use a wacker plate compactor or tamper to create a level, solid base for the pavers. Use this equipment after each layer of material.
5. Do not forget to plan for drainage. The patio should be level with a slight slope away from the home foundation. The slope should measure 2 inches drop for every two feet of distance.
The Right Way to Install a Paver Patio
The homeowner can save a lot of money by doing this job themselves if they have the physical capability and the skill level that is needed. The homeowner should also have the means to get the sand and pavers on-site and a way to move them as needed. The soil compactor or tamper and all of the necessary equipment and materials should be on-site before the work begins. Having a helper with a strong back is very helpful.
Some of the supplies needed include gloves, rakes, shovels, a level, an edger, a wheelbarrow, landscape cloth, patio paver base, paver sand, and polymeric sand. If the area to be dug up is large, renting digging machinery might be a good idea. The patio base is made of sand, dirt, and small rock.
Before work begins, do the math to decide on the size of the patio, the materials needed, and the pattern the pavers will be laid in. Mark the area to be dug up with boards or chalk. Decide the depth to dig. After the sod and dirt are dug, the sand base is installed, and everything is tamped down, the pavers should be level with the grass. Make sure the corners are square.
Dig, dig, dig until the area for the patio is dug to the correct depth, and is as level as possible. Use a level to make sure. Rake the dirt to be as close to level as possible and then use a tamper to compact the base and get rid of any loose soil.
This is the point to use the landscape fabric to prevent vegetation growing up through the patio paver seams. When the fabric is down, add the paver base in a level layer and tamp it down well. This level determines how level your paver patio will be. Next comes a layer of paver sand that is also leveled and tamped down well. Use a 2×4 or other leveling tool to skim the surface and make it level.
Now, the pavers can be laid in the desired pattern using a level to ensure a level surface. Choose a pattern that requires few cuts. Fill the area with the pavers and then compact them with a compactor. Apply the polymeric sand to the surface and work it into all the cracks between pavers with a broom. Remove the excess and wet the whole patio with a hose and sprayer attachment. Let it sit overnight before using it. The final sand is important because it will hold the pavers in place and set much like grout.
If the homeowner does everything correctly, the patio will look great and last for decades with only minor upkeep. Don’t skip any steps or the patio will not be level over the long run.