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View Full Version : First paver patio install...for my wife!


Raymond S.
06-23-2011, 09:12 PM
Hi guys. I'm not usually over here on this side of the world but I have been reading more and more on the hardscaping end of the business. My wife has been talking about doing some work at our house for a few years now and well, I guess the time has come. First, a little background.
I have been in the maintenance end of things for about 10 years. I am extremely busy with maintenance work and have had very little time to dedicate to landscaping in general, let alone hardscaping. I have done a few small projects such as stone steps leading down to a lake, tiered retaining wall for a walkout basement (my house), and quite a bit of concrete flatwork. Bottom line is, I enjoy hardscaping but I'm not highly educated in it. So I have some questions.
We are looking to put a roughly 16x32 paver patio on the back of the house. It will have a circle kickout on one corner roughly 14' in diameter for a fire ring. The front side (away from house) will have a sitting wall. Also thinking of a sitting wall around the fire ring, not sure yet. The kicker, we are planning on a hot tub. So obviously that's a question.

1. Can a properly prepare paver patio support a hot tub?

My plan is to excavate down (I own a skid steer) about 8-10" below finished grade for the patio. I will then bring it back using a 6" base of crushed concrete (fines - 3/4) vibratory packed in 2" lifts. Then set 3/4" conduit pipes (1" OD) and screed with sand leaving 1" leveled sand prepped for pavers. Set pavers, compact, sand joints, sweep, sand, sweep, etc.
I plan on setting the wall first using the same method as above, then laying TO the wall with the pavers. So, more questions.

2. How far below the finished grade of the pavers do I need to start the initial grade of the sitting wall? I want to lay to the wall with the pavers to make it look better. Is 6" enough base for the wall? When I did my walkout I laid 2 blocks below grade. Do I need to go 2 blocks below for the sitting wall? I don't think I can just set the wall on the same base as the pavers, can I?

3. I did not mention fabric. Is this for weed protection? I have heard it mentioned before but not necessarily it's purpose.

4. Do I want to use mason sand for the joints or a polymer sand? If using polymer will it be necessary to reapply each year?

5. Finally, assuming I use all commercial grade material from the local supply house, what kind of $$ are we looking at per sq. ft.? I know there are alot of variables in products, but taking labor out of the equation what is a base price for a job of this nature. I have a skid steer, dump, etc. I will be getting materials at cost and aggregate from the pit about 1 mile away.

I appreciate the input of people in the know. Like I said, I have many questions but I'm confident I can tackle this. Just need some tweaking on my process and any tips of the trade you might offer. '
Thanks,

TomG
06-24-2011, 04:39 PM
Hi guys. I'm not usually over here on this side of the world but I have been reading more and more on the hardscaping end of the business. My wife has been talking about doing some work at our house for a few years now and well, I guess the time has come. First, a little background.
I have been in the maintenance end of things for about 10 years. I am extremely busy with maintenance work and have had very little time to dedicate to landscaping in general, let alone hardscaping. I have done a few small projects such as stone steps leading down to a lake, tiered retaining wall for a walkout basement (my house), and quite a bit of concrete flatwork. Bottom line is, I enjoy hardscaping but I'm not highly educated in it. So I have some questions.
We are looking to put a roughly 16x32 paver patio on the back of the house. It will have a circle kickout on one corner roughly 14' in diameter for a fire ring. The front side (away from house) will have a sitting wall. Also thinking of a sitting wall around the fire ring, not sure yet. The kicker, we are planning on a hot tub. So obviously that's a question.

1. Can a properly prepare paver patio support a hot tub?

Yes, your 6" of base that you said you would use should have no problem supporting a tub

My plan is to excavate down (I own a skid steer) about 8-10" below finished grade for the patio. I will then bring it back using a 6" base of crushed concrete (fines - 3/4) vibratory packed in 2" lifts. Then set 3/4" conduit pipes (1" OD) and screed with sand leaving 1" leveled sand prepped for pavers. Set pavers, compact, sand joints, sweep, sand, sweep, etc.
I plan on setting the wall first using the same method as above, then laying TO the wall with the pavers. So, more questions.

2. How far below the finished grade of the pavers do I need to start the initial grade of the sitting wall? I want to lay to the wall with the pavers to make it look better. Is 6" enough base for the wall? When I did my walkout I laid 2 blocks below grade. Do I need to go 2 blocks below for the sitting wall? I don't think I can just set the wall on the same base as the pavers, can I?

We try to bury a row to a row and a half on sitting walls. And yes 6" is enough base for the wall, but use 3/4" stone

3. I did not mention fabric. Is this for weed protection? I have heard it mentioned before but not necessarily it's purpose.

Not for weed protection, for settlement protection, the geo-fabric will help span voids if the ground ever settles.

4. Do I want to use mason sand for the joints or a polymer sand? If using polymer will it be necessary to reapply each year?

Polymer sand, and no you dont have to reapply ever. Polymer sand will help deter weed growth, washouts, and ants. Notice I said deter not prevent.

5. Finally, assuming I use all commercial grade material from the local supply house, what kind of $$ are we looking at per sq. ft.? I know there are alot of variables in products, but taking labor out of the equation what is a base price for a job of this nature. I have a skid steer, dump, etc. I will be getting materials at cost and aggregate from the pit about 1 mile away.

I appreciate the input of people in the know. Like I said, I have many questions but I'm confident I can tackle this. Just need some tweaking on my process and any tips of the trade you might offer. '
Thanks,

Answers are in red.

zedosix
06-24-2011, 05:14 PM
I would add that you would be better off pouring a concrete pad @ 4" thick using 4500psi w/air. Add wire mesh as well. Your patio will eventually sink with the weight of a hot tub on it. Also you want to ensure your hot tub is level, which won't be possible unless you shim it, cause your patio should be sloped at 2%.

Gilmore.Landscaping
06-24-2011, 05:51 PM
I would add that you would be better off pouring a concrete pad @ 4" thick using 4500psi w/air. Add wire mesh as well. Your patio will eventually sink with the weight of a hot tub on it. Also you want to ensure your hot tub is level, which won't be possible unless you shim it, cause your patio should be sloped at 2%.


I don't agree with that.... you can simply lay the paver area under the hot tub at no slope and just grade the rest of the patio away property.

Generally I will still go 8-10" of base for a patio, but this also depends on what your existing soil condition is, if its all sand then 6 might be ok. You really only want to be doing this once so a little deeper might not be so bad.You have access to skid and a dump so I would go deep.

Also soil condition will dictate the need for geo grid or not.

zedosix
06-24-2011, 05:58 PM
I don't agree with that.... you can simply lay the paver area under the hot tub at no slope and just grade the rest of the patio away property.

Generally I will still go 8-10" of base for a patio, but this also depends on what your existing soil condition is, if its all sand then 6 might be ok. You really only want to be doing this once so a little deeper might not be so bad.You have access to skid and a dump so I would go deep.

Also soil condition will dictate the need for geo grid or not.

Hot tubs belong on concrete slabs, only amateurs and inexperienced hardscapers put them on pavers.

DVS Hardscaper
06-24-2011, 06:37 PM
We have have many a hot tubs on our patios.

Not once have we poured concrete for a hot tub.

No problems ever.


.
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Raymond S.
06-24-2011, 11:44 PM
Existing soil is sand. No topsoil, no clay, pretty good base material (there's a gravel pit 1 mile down the road). I have no problem going 8" base if I need it, I mean who couldn't use an extra 2"? I can pour a slab for the tub if I had to but what about when you get rid of the tub? Or are you saying pour the slab as base material and lay pavers over top? Seems to me that with 8" (even 6") of compacted stone underneath it shouldn't go anywhere. I mean that's alot more than any flatwork concrete we've ever done.
I appreciate the dialogue about this.
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Stillwater
06-25-2011, 12:44 AM
Hot tubs belong on concrete slabs, only amateurs and inexperienced hardscapers put them on pavers.



The weight of a spa is spread uniformly over the entire area of the entire base of the spa. For example A spa measuring 7'x7' is approximately 50 square feet. If this spa with water weighs 3000 lbs and 6 people weigh 1200 lbs then you have a total weight of 4200 lbs.

just for fun lets use a bigger number and say the total occupied weight of the spa is 5000 lbs. Then you will have about 100 lbs per square sitting on the ground. A typical allowable soil bearing pressure for a foundation of a building is 1000 lbs per square without a soils analysis. That's 10 times as much weight as your spa with 6 big fat sloppy beer drinking people in it.

Another way of looking at this is that you could support such a spa on a raised deck with only 5-6 12" square pier footings under the area of the spa. "Your" 6" thick slab represents 10 times as much support as you really need but would add about 75 lbs/square of pressure on the ground.

DVS Hardscaper
06-25-2011, 08:31 AM
The weight of a spa is spread uniformly over the entire area of the entire base of the spa. For example A spa measuring 7'x7' is approximately 50 square feet. If this spa with water weighs 3000 lbs and 6 people weigh 1200 lbs then you have a total weight of 4200 lbs.

just for fun lets use a bigger number and say the total occupied weight of the spa is 5000 lbs. Then you will have about 100 lbs per square sitting on the ground. A typical allowable soil bearing pressure for a foundation of a building is 1000 lbs per square without a soils analysis. That's 10 times as much weight as your spa with 6 big fat sloppy beer drinking people in it.

Another way of looking at this is that you could support such a spa on a raised deck with only 5-6 12" square pier footings under the area of the spa. "Your" 6" thick slab represents 10 times as much support as you really need but would add about 75 lbs/square of pressure on the ground.


Yep. Thats right.

I've always viewed it in relation to a water bed. Although a water bed is heavy.......the weight is evenly distributed. And I've even used the waterbed example for prospective custimers.


,

nepatsfan
06-25-2011, 08:36 AM
Hot tubs belong on concrete slabs, only amateurs and inexperienced hardscapers put them on pavers.

Do you pour a slab for a driveway too or do you just tell the customers not to park on them because many suv's and trucks weigh more than a hot tub and the weight is distributed over 4 tires not nearly the distribution of the hot tub.

zedosix
06-25-2011, 10:03 AM
The weight of a spa is spread uniformly over the entire area of the entire base of the spa. For example A spa measuring 7'x7' is approximately 50 square feet. If this spa with water weighs 3000 lbs and 6 people weigh 1200 lbs then you have a total weight of 4200 lbs.

just for fun lets use a bigger number and say the total occupied weight of the spa is 5000 lbs. Then you will have about 100 lbs per square sitting on the ground. A typical allowable soil bearing pressure for a foundation of a building is 1000 lbs per square without a soils analysis. That's 10 times as much weight as your spa with 6 big fat sloppy beer drinking people in it.

Another way of looking at this is that you could support such a spa on a raised deck with only 5-6 12" square pier footings under the area of the spa. "Your" 6" thick slab represents 10 times as much support as you really need but would add about 75 lbs/square of pressure on the ground.

Maybe you should have a peak at the bottom of a hot tub and tell me if the surface area touching is 50sq.ft. that must mean its a completely flat surface right? No the underneath is a perimeter frame with cross bracing, now calculate your lbs/sq.ft. Just because some of you get a little lazy and figure your way is right doesn't mean it is. And tell me dvs do you go check on all your jobs after they place the hot tub or are you just assuming? And I'll repeat patios are sloped hot tubs are level.

zedosix
06-25-2011, 11:18 AM
Also soil condition will dictate the need for geo grid or not.

Tell me where you are going to put the geo grid?

Dountman
06-25-2011, 12:19 PM
Do you need bonding wire for the hot tub and surrounding terrace?

Stillwater
06-26-2011, 01:40 AM
Maybe you should have a peak at the bottom of a hot tub and tell me if the surface area touching is 50sq.ft. that must mean its a completely flat surface right? No the underneath is a perimeter frame with cross bracing, now calculate your lbs/sq.ft. Just because some of you get a little lazy and figure your way is right doesn't mean it is. And tell me dvs do you go check on all your jobs after they place the hot tub or are you just assuming? And I'll repeat patios are sloped hot tubs are level.



zedo,
I have worked with Hydrospa, jacuzzi, Hot Springs and Calspa, every one of these "outdoor" spas has had a ridgid poly base that the frame work that supports the tub shell is fitted into. Depending on the spas design that cross bracing that you are describing is mechanically attached to or vacuumed formed into the base becoming one, This is basic physics 101. If you can't see or your unwilling to concede this point as even the slightest bit valid then what else can be said?

DVS Hardscaper
06-26-2011, 08:07 AM
...... And tell me dvs do you go check on all your jobs after they place the hot tub or are you just assuming? And I'll repeat patios are sloped hot tubs are level.

Take it easy there, Slick. You're getting defensive. Which is causing you to not think logically. Naturally, at some point I do return to our jobs as our clients call us back to do more work. Whether it's a spring clean up, or a new lead walk for the front, or to replace bulbs in the lights. You're no stranger to this business, you know darn well a job isn't completed and the contractor doesn't drift off to sea.

Patios are sloped. But our 'Hot Tub Pads' are dead level. (this is where the "not think logically" comment derives)

zedosix
06-26-2011, 10:00 AM
zedo,
I have worked with Hydrospa, jacuzzi, Hot Springs and Calspa, every one of these "outdoor" spas has had a ridgid poly base that the frame work that supports the tub shell is fitted into. Depending on the spas design that cross bracing that you are describing is mechanically attached to or vacuumed formed into the base becoming one, This is basic physics 101. If you can't see or your unwilling to concede this point as even the slightest bit valid then what else can be said?

I've yet to see a flat bottom spa, they are all built in a rigid case and placed inside a two by three framed support. The actual footprint of this spa is likely only 5 or 6 sq.ft. Interlock will sink and create water cavaties. Place the concrete pad at 1/2" over top the interlock and no problems. This is basic common sense. Sorry if you don't get it.

Raymond S.
06-26-2011, 11:53 AM
So I guess whether or not I'll be able to out a spa on these pavers depends on the base design.
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Stillwater
06-26-2011, 12:41 PM
Although I suggest referring to the individual spa manufactures set up specifications the average is 125 per sq. If you are not capeable of installing a paver spa base to exceed this average standard then you are correct you really need to be poring concreate slabs and leave the optional installs to others.


Time for the logical song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcX1qA1Etc8&feature=related

Murphy's Law
06-26-2011, 12:55 PM
I've done both pavers and concrete under a hot tub. But I've also sat a tub on 3/4 clean stone and placed my paver up to the tub. This was due to the tub being about 8 years old (I think) and the base was plywood not composite or plastic or whatever. I did not want to have green wood in contact with something that would always be moist. The thought was that the moisture would be much less thus protecting the tub better from rot. I might be totally off on this one but I thought I would share my experience. Oh yeah, this helped the budget too.

DVS Hardscaper
06-26-2011, 02:25 PM
Footprint of the tub.

Music.

Yadda yadda yadda.

If a contractor has been doing something trouble free since 2001, how can one argue with their experiences?

Soil type should play into this more than anything else. Clay soils? then yeah. you may want a concrete slab.


,

SVA_Concrete
06-26-2011, 08:35 PM
Do you need bonding wire for the hot tub and surrounding terrace?

Good point I was thinking the same thing -- how do you bond pavers?

Has anyone seen any good articles on this subject?