Existing soil is sand...does ICPI spec no base?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by mcclureandson, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Thought I'd heard/read on here that in certain instances it is acceptable to install pavers directly onto screeded bedding sand with NO base...true?

    I've got a 1600 sq/ft pool surround/courtyard built on pure sand...it's literally like being at the beach. There is no end in site to the sand depth...sideyard looks like a dune etc...

    I've already quoted/signed the job (factoring my standard 4" compacted base)...but now I'm wondering if I can provide a warranted, quality installation with this alternative installation method...if it exists.

    Also - if true how does the edge restraint perform when the base is pure sand? Seems shaky to me.

    I'm very curious what the more experienced guys - especially guys in the Florida and southwest are doing.

    I'm not going to do it unless there's sufficient supporting evidence.

  2. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    I haven't seeing a single icpi spec that doesn't require base I might be wrong thought, I have heard that in florida they lay pavers on just the sand but the weather conditions there are much different than my area, If I dig and find nothing but sand I know that is a good sub base, in my area I would never install pavers without base cause I know they will move and shift,in south C. I honestly don't know but you should.
  3. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Messages: 1,209

    if you spec'd it in your proposal don't not do it now. it is easier to do it right the first time then fix it for the next four years. and 1600 is alot to fix
  4. riverwalklandscaping

    riverwalklandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 759

    One of my clients put in his own patio and he did it on top of sand in a very sandy area and it has not moved a bit, and that's up north too. That said I would never do that, a base no matter what especially if you have priced it that way.
  5. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    After speaking with my Belgard rep and the paver manufacturer in Florida (we're subbing this job from the pool contractor and owner had already selected product by the time we were on board) I've decided to do it the way we always do...

    I'm sure it's done often in Florida and I'm even confident it might work well in certain situations - but there's really not enough compelling evidence to risk warranty issues.

    I am concerned about edge restraint. There's no way 12" spikes are going to resist lateral movement through pure sand...I guess it'll be old school concrete edging????
  6. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    Are you still entertaining the idea?
  7. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Honestly...I would be willing to install on screeded sand only if there was anything other than the established practices of Florida paver companies to back it up.

    I don't have time to waste trying to re-invent the wheel. If ICPI (and the experienced guys on this site) say compacted gravel w/fines is the only option then that's (pretty much) good enough for me.

    I believe it's important to understand WHY it wouldn't work, though. Sand can achieve sufficient density...we don't have freeze/thaw cycles to deal with here etc...

    So why not? Except I'm already way, way too busy to go back and fix any settling issues AND it would reflect poorly on my company in the long run (just to save 1k on base?)...

    I would love to hear from a reputable, experience Florida or coastal company and understand how they deal with sites like this.

    Anyone have thoughts on the edge restraint issue? I can't believe spikes will hold in pure sand...people take heat on this site for nailing edge restraint into an INCH of bedding sand (instead of the base)...what if sand is all there is?

    I still consider myself a landscaper who does some hardscapes (maybe 200k in hardscapes in 08 - rough figure) but have progressed to the point where I feel confident in the construction process and visual appeal of my installations.
  8. riverwalklandscaping

    riverwalklandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 759

    could you trench the edge, fill it with some good dense fill and spike the nails into that?
  9. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Not exactly...but close to what I'm thinking.

    I'll end up doing our normal installation - I'd worry too much otherwise.

    I think I will extend base outside the soldier course to a depth of 10" or so...not much more I can do than that.
  10. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    Do a search on youtube for dubai islands and you'd be surprised that in idea weather and pretty smart architecture you can use sand for much more than paver's base.

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