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Old 03-29-2001, 01:35 PM
smithsonmi smithsonmi is offline
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Location: Cumming, GA
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I will be completing a paver wall and patio this summer and had a few questions:

- Will a wet tile saw work well on the patio blocks?
- What is the best tool to RENT for cutting 4" thick retaining wall block? I see wet tile saws, a gas-powered 12" hand held saw (looks like a miter saw, but handheld), or the guillotine non-powered type?
- I am in the Detroit Metro area and there isn't a standard 'sand' used for inbetween the pavers. A contractor used slag sand (same as the base) for my front walk but sometimes the pieces are too big, so walking barefoot...ouch. Unilock and HD sells bags of 'jointing sand' but neighbors have the problem of that washing away quickly.

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2001, 04:37 PM
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Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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I grew up in the Detroit area. Small world.

For a stone base, DON'T USE SLAG. When I lived/worked there everyone used slag, but I've done a little research on the stuff and it can be a bit of a hazard.

Slag sand is foundry sand. It's the stuff that's left over after the steel manufacturing process is completed. This sand can have amounts of lead and cadmium in it. This can cause birth defects and a host of other problems. And the only way you can be sure that the stuff you have has low enough PPM of the those substances is to check the tests that they have to run on the sand every 3 months or so.

Not worth the effort. Or the danger.

In fact, use the search function on this site and look for the thread title "patio base" - there's a great discussion/thread about this topic and I address slag there. It'll also give you some ideas for another material instead of slag.

And yes, a wet tile saw will work, but if you have a lot of cutting, you might eat up that little blade. See if you can rent a tub say for paving brick - something with a 14" blade.

The 12" saw you mention is OK, but I wouldn't recommend it for cutting pavers, except to cut them where they lay. Don't try to hold them with one foot while you cut with another. I don't let any of my guys do that. (But I do it sometimes - do as I say, not as I do )

The guillotine type are good for tumbled pavers, or brick where a rough edge is desirable. This is seldom on our projects, but we do still use one. A cleaner cut comes from a saw. Depending on what kind of cuts you plan to make for the retaining wall, this one might work well - but I'd have to see what you're planning to know.

If you have concrete pavers, a way to keep that joint sand in place is a paver sealer, specifically, a solvent-based acrylic sealer. It'll harden up that joint sand, too. There's also a thread in the landscape section about polymeric sand that hardens itself. I've never used it, but that may work for you also.

Good luck!

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Old 03-29-2001, 05:33 PM
smithsonmi smithsonmi is offline
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Thanks for the reply. I believe my local HD does rent a larger paver brick cutter...it might have been gas, don't remember. My bro-in-law has a tile saw...so it could be worth the cost of a few good smaller blades for a free saw rental and convenience. I actually saw that Costco.com sells diamond masonry blades...

I would have to cut the pavers, but maybe I could split the retaining block. I am using LaFarge cambrian wall product...a split edge would not be as flush a fit, but could look fine. The coping I would prefer saw cut however.

I was told paver sealant keeps the sand in, but I used a tumbled paver and do not like the sealer look...it looks wet all the time. I saw that post regarding polymer sand...I'll have to look that one up.

I will have to see what other sands they offer locally...slag is used by all paver contractors I have seen. They used at least 6" of pure slag for my front walk/steps...so far it still looks like a pool table after two winters.

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2001, 08:41 PM
diginahole diginahole is offline
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Unilock dealers will carry poly sand. I would recomend scoring the wall units with a saw before you try and split them, you could do that with a skil-saw and an abrasive blade. A gas powered diamond blade will deliver the best results though. Water based sealants are also available from Unilock, they aren't as glossy as the acrylic sealers.
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Old 03-29-2001, 09:31 PM
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Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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I believe there is a flat sealer you could use also.

As for the slag - call whoever you were going to have deliver that slag and ask where they got it. Call that foundry, and ask for a copy of their most recent EPA test of that sand. I don't know how much fuss they'll put up to send it to you, but at least you'll know how the levels of toxins have been recently.

Look for something like a 3/4-. Find out what's used there in base for roadways. Use that, with (I can't believe I'm saying this) an inch of angular sand on top. It'll still provide a good base, and you won't be risking health problems for you, your kids or your grandkids (I can't tell how old you are).

Use that if you can't get your hands on some good limestone screenings.
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Old 03-30-2001, 09:44 PM
smithsonmi smithsonmi is offline
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Thanks for the replies. I will check out the sealers, however even the flat sealers make the pavers look dark (which is what I meant by wet...the tumbled pavers have that worn look when dry)

Jim
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Old 03-30-2001, 10:15 PM
WINTER 3 WINTER 3 is offline
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the guillotine style cutter is much faster, less noise, and way less dust. If you are going to do more of these jobs it would also be cheaper to buy, instead of renting a tool like that (long run).
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