Compactors & compacting

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Dirt Boy, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    ICPI recommends compacting base material with at least an 7,000 lbf rating and compacting pavers with a machine with a 4,000 - 5,000 lbf rating.

    My questions are:
    1. Can you use a 9,000 lbf rated machine for everything?
    2. Will it hurt or overcompact pavers?
    3. Is there such a thing as overcompacting base or pavers?
    4. Are guys that use these smaller units rated at 1500-2500 lbf not doing the job right, or am I missing something in this mix?

    Thanks guys!
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,543

    ya know, back in the 1800's and 1900's they did all sorts of work WITHOUT fancy gas powered machines. How on earth can that be??????

    We have been doing paver work for 14 years now. And we do NOT own a big, heavy compactor. Nor is the purchase of one even on the horizon.

    You CAN correctly construct an interlocking with a small compactor. The trick is simple. YOU COMPACT IN SMALLER LIFTS!!

    In 1998 or maybe it was 1999 we built our 2nd retaining wall. It is 10' in height. Wanna know what we used to compact the backfill??? We used a WACKER 1550! The client turned out to be a loyal, repeat client. We have been back numerously over the years. To this day - the wall has not moved at all.....and the backfill is in ship shape. All compacted with a little WACKER 1550!!!!!


    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  3. CertPro

    CertPro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 139

    I wouldnt use a 9K# unit on pavers. Hell we break them with a 4500# machine.
  4. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Kinda interesting, the more "advanced" we get, think we have to have all the latest and greatest, and yet all the great things that have been accomplished without all our fancy tools.

    Well, I don't know any better, that's why I'm asking. I'm trying to do it the right way, and I figured the pro's will know!

  5. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,240

    I have a Bomag that is the same size as a Wacker 1550 and I don't think it would be good to have a bigger one for compacting on top of pavers. For doing back fill and base wouldn't it be better to be able to do bigger lifts? Or is the danger of getting too thick of lifts and not proper compaction? I will say that I would like(or have it on my wish list) to get a bigger reversible compactor.
  6. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,543

    Compacting bigger lifts = faster production. Faster production = More competitive pricing.

    or not??

    Sure, you'll do the work way faster......but you also have a compactor that costs more than a walk behind lawn mower that you have to pay for............

    I tip my hat to those can can go buy a nice compactor and pay for it on the spot with CASH. I can't see making payments to a bank or finance company on something like this, and it's gonna be a long long long time before I can ever think of investing in one.........

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  7. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,655

    For our base we use a 500lb wacker, to be honest I don't know what the rating is, but believe it is close to 9000lb. We use this on most everything except driveways.For compacting interlock we use a 200lb unit, believe that would be 4000lb force, I would never dream of using the larger unit on pavers. We have 3 different sizes and use each one for specific compacting duties.

    I'm like Dvs, anything that costs 10k or more for compacting duties, its off to the rental office. Let them do the upkeep.

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