View Full Version : Paver and wall base tips please

08-13-2006, 07:51 AM
I am the construction foreman for a local LC, we are putting in a 1500 sq. ft. patio with a circle kit out on one corner and a 2 ft. high sitting wall around the whole deal. I have done several paver jobs and even more walls but always seem to spend what seems like too time on the base. Also tips for setting the first course of block would be cool, my boss does not allow any stone dust to aid in leveling the course. Before working here I had always been told up to 3/8 of an inch was acceptable.

DVS Hardscaper
08-13-2006, 11:17 AM
First of all, the appropriate height of a sitting wall/seat wall is 18-inches. This derives from the standard height of a kitchen or dining room chair. I have seen others do seatwalls at 20 to 21 inches, but I have not seen many dining room chairs that measure 20-21 inches :)

The base prep, if done properly, shall consume approx 50% of the production time of the job. Whether its an interlocking pavement or a patio.

We do not use duct or sand for setting block. When we set block we make sure EACH & EVERY blocky is perfectly level from side to side and front to back, and we make sure each and every block is to grade (checked with laser transit). I have heard of other contractors that only check every 2nd or 3rd block. We do EACH block, as an implementation of quality assurance. I have an eye for out of level walls. I see so many walls done by others that are NOT level and it drives me up the wall!!

08-13-2006, 11:28 AM
Sure seems like i spend 50% of my time on cuts!!!

If the wall base is done properly, there really should be no need to check each block. However, i do.

Use the search feature. This has been gone over sooo many times. And its not ok to use any sand at all under each block.

For paver jobs i screed the quarry proccess. This gets me the exact grade and proper pitch in minutes with no string lines.


08-13-2006, 04:36 PM
Dvs......Does that 50% include excavation? the 24" wall was specified by the client so perhaps it would be better called a knee wall.
Anyway how close do you guys find you can get with a skidsteer over a large area? Also for compaction I have heard they make a skidsteer mounted compactor if they do how much more compaction do you get from one of those versus a jumping jack then a plate?

DVS Hardscaper
08-13-2006, 05:00 PM
In most cases excavation and base installation is 50% of the job. Not a scientific finding, though.

I have about 3 people a week tell me they want a 2-foot seat wall. after I politely explain to them that their kitchen and dining room chairs are 18-inches, they then are cool with 18-inches. We have done 24" seat walls, and once I show the client pics of 24-inch and pics of 18-inch, they then go with the 18-inch. Although there are times when 24-inch is in fact necessary becuse it may be a retaining / seat wall combo. Lastt summer we had a guy that was about 6'5" tall, and all his family are tall, so he wanted a 24-inch seat wall because of his tall build. Its our duty as professionals to know the business inside and out, and to spec every angle of the job with rhyme and reason.

I do not see the need to compact a base with a compactor mounted to a skid steer.

For patios and walks we use a plate tamper. It just requires more time as your compaction lifts are thinner.

For large patios, large pool decks, and driveways - we rent a large, ride on vibratory roller.

Pavers Plus
08-15-2006, 10:27 PM
I personally like a 21" seating wall at grade, The range of acceptable heights is 18"-24" high in most cases. 21" is right in the middle. I'd say 24" minimum for raised patios.

Get the first course of block as perfect as possible and you'll have no problems with any subsequent layers of the wall. Get a couple blocks off by 1/16th of an inch and you get the wobble and crooked horizontal lines. I'd say most seating walls, the base ( including excavation and setting first block) is atleast 50% of the task. On more complicated projects with lots of cuts/splits required, the 50% probably drops to about 25% or less. I'm working on my raised patio right now. It has a 8.5' inside radius as well as two 45 degree corners. a good bit of my time will be taken up cutting slivers for the radius of the seating wall, splitting/cutting corner units for the 45 degree corners and of course splitting /cutting block for my pillars. (I'm using techo-bloc mini-creta plus limestone and since there is no pillar kit in that color, I must go old school).

08-15-2006, 10:34 PM
I was told, again by my boss that the mini-creta "should" be able to make a 5 ft radius with no cutting required.....

Pavers Plus
08-15-2006, 10:52 PM
the 5' radius guideline is mostly for single sided walls. It's tough not to have any cuts on a double sided wall, I don't care what product you install. That goes for the caps too...... Basically, when estimating the project, assume all block will need to be cut. If you luck into the block working for you, then you just made some extra money.

Also, is the 5' radius for the inside or outside of the wall? That will affect whether the radius works as well. Also, keep in mind Techo-Bloc is made based on Milimeters. The inch/foot equivelent is not exact. For instance, 6" mini-creta plus is 6" high, but if you measure it, it is really 5 7/8th high because it is based on milimeters (150 mm does not equal 6"), thus the 5' radius may actually be 4' 9" or something like that)....