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DIY patio install questions

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by kp2171, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. kp2171

    kp2171 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks in advance!

    A few questions concerning a home patio install. The area is about 21 deep x24 wide, in Iowa, planning on 8-9" gravel, 1" bedding sand. The patio is bound by the house on two sides and a driveway on the third. Forth side is into the lawn and curved. The outside curve is going to be running bond for the walkway leading to the house and the rest will be basket weave.

    1) the sub-base has some areas where the dirt is loose and needs to be compacted (up to 2 inches of loose dirt in some places). my understanding is that i should use a jumping jack and not a plate compactor for this. do i need to wet the very dry soil at all before compacting the sub-base? any other tips for sub-base prep with loose soil?

    2) most DIY info and even some commercial landscape sites mention the use of a plate compactor for the gravel base, but i just found a commercial builder who used the jumping jack for that as well, saying it does a better job. again, planning on compaction of gravel base every 2" but should i do this with the jumping jack instead of the plate compactor?

    3) along the house and drive do i need some sort of expansion joint?

    4) any concerns about use of clay bricks? i know this could probably be a thread on its own. wife wants clay for the longevity of color and strength. also worried about the salts used here in the winters damaging concrete, as our driveway will be salted from time to time. ive heard mixed things about efflorescence and clay bricks, with some pros saying they hate clay.

    Thanks again!

    - Kel
  2. probe1957

    probe1957 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    I admire you for taking on a job like this yourself. It would cost a fortune to hire the job done, especially if you want to use brick.

    I assume you intend to lay the bricks on top of the sand base and not have any masonry joints? If that is the case, you won't need any expansion joint. I see no reason for you not to use brick for this project. I bet it ends up looking very nice.

    IMO, 8-9 inches of gravel base is excessive. It certainly wouldn't hurt to compact the soil prior to laying the gravel base, but it probably isn't necessary. I would use a plate compactor.
  3. kp2171

    kp2171 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    thanks for the reply

    didnt think that i'd need an expansion joint with the sand, but thought id ask.

    i'm putting down a deep base so i can sleep at night. there have been some drainage issues due in part to clay, but mostly due to bad planning for directing rainwater. i'm taking care of the rainwater, but this is iowa and freeze-thaw will take its toll in time i'm sure. i'd just rather not have failure due to not spending the time and a little more money on building a solid base.

    i've read where some will throw a little portland in with the base to give it some structure as well.

    last thing i need is for my wife's new patio to tick her off because its spongy or uneven after a few winters here.

    thanks again.
  4. nmurph

    nmurph LawnSite Senior Member
    from ga
    Messages: 668

    i am planning the same type of project. someone mentioned to me that i should use "crushed concrete." i think it is some type of by-product? the soil that i will be placing the pavers on is sandy, so i need to stabilize it and compaction will not do the trick (though i will compact it as well as i can).
  5. kp2171

    kp2171 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    a few discussion boards have brought up the use of geo-grid for stabilization of a patio over a less than solid sub-base. geo-grid seems to be known for its use in retaining wall stabilization, but apparently a few have used some form of geo-grid at the bottom of the base, thinking that the grid helps lock in the gravel as one unit better when used over a poor sub-base.

    i've read this only a few times, and most of the people who responded had not used it. one person mentioned it was developed by the military to help build roads over bad landscape. but.... everything i say here is heresay. i was almost inclined to talk to the local erosion control office or some other landscapers to see if they know much about the use of geo-grid for this application. would be way overkill in my project, but am curious.

    a few responded with their being happy using come portland in with the base.

    again... i'm just spreading rumors and lies here. hopefully the people who know here will straighten us out.
  6. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181

    That's what I used for mine, but here in NJ it seems to be called "stone dust", but I don't know why because it certainly isn't dust. It looked like ground-up concrete blocks or cinder blocks. Great stuff in my opinion! The patio is three years old now, and I can't see any settling anywhere. There's a photo of it somewhere on this LawnSite web site, but I'll provide another if you can't find it and are interested. Let me know. I did all of the design, physical layout and material procurement, but I hired others to do the grunt work.

    And by the way, I didn't want to rent a brick saw since iI had no idea how many weeks I would need one and the cost of purchasing a brick saw seemed pretty high to me for use on a single project. So I bought a 14" chop saw from Harbor Freight for about $60 and a cheap (about $100) 14" diamond blade. All of the cutting was done "dry", but the blade still seems to function well, which probably doesn't really matter any more because I doubt if I'll ever use it again.

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