Final paver compaction with a small plate....

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by turfquip, Sep 18, 2000.

  1. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    Looking for a consensus on whether or not a small (2000 lb) plate tamper will be sufficient for final paver compaction or can I expect uneven settling and or tire path depressions as a result of having used this size unit....

    Actually, I went over the job twice using plywood to prevent scuffing, then went back and tamped every square foot twice by hand with a twelve by twelve.

    No depressions yet, but you know me...a little unsure..always cautious...sometimes paranoid.

  2. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    A 2000 psi plate is too light, you need at least a 3500 psi plate. See if you can get a 3500 or 5000 plate.
  3. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860


    Thanks for your continued support. It's a darn good thing this job is for a family member who has been patient as i feel my way through the project.

    Now i realize though, i'm gonna have to bite the bullet and purchase a compactor. Especially since i enjoy doing these, and it's your go to machine - throughout the entire project...largest rental expense item as well.

    I looked at Stow 4040 lbs. pressure unit for 2300 plus tax: good first unit ... good price?

    How important is a scuff pad on cobble pavers, the kind with blended color throughout the brick. If i scatterred sand lightly across the job before compacting, would i get anything more than a few temporary white circular marks on the bricks?

    Suggest to purchase a factory scuff pad in order not to void warranty or would that matter?

    More questions than answers right now...still learning!

    [Edited by turfquip dot com on 09-19-2000 at 03:35 PM]
  4. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    I'm not sure what the pavers look like, but you may not have needed to use the plywood. I use cobble type paver quite a bit, but they do not have very deep dimples (rough surface) as other brands that get scuffed easily.

    For every job I can remember doing , I never had anyone complain about scuffing from the compactor. Some scuffing may occur, but I find that most of it disappears in a few weeks or will wash off after a good hit with the garden hose. The pavers I use usually have that white 'effesecence' to them (a completely normal occurance) for the first couple of months anyways, so I think that helps to cover up any of the scuffing.

    A quick question on how you installed the job. Since you used plywood, I guess you didn't sweep sand in the joints first? I always find that a thin layer of DRY sand across the top greatly helps to reduce any scuffing. I prefer bagged play sand for this, as it quickly works into the cracks and doesn't clump up on top, causing a paver to get sunk more than the ones around it.

    As this is a driveway, I would personally not use plywood.
    I think the wood would hinder the compactor too much, even a larger one, and would rather run the risk of scuffing a few spots than not get a good compacted job. Maybe this is a point to be argued, but that's just my own opinion.

    If you had the pad for the compactor, that would be alright, and I would go with that if I had to compact a drive and knew it was going to scuff more than normal.

    As for that compactor, I think it sounds a little pricy for a first time purchase. You can get a nice wacker, 1550 (i believe thats the model) with water tank, roll cage, etc. for around 1600. They also have a 1540(?) that is exactly the same, just a few less bells and wistles fro around 1500. I just bought a smaller Sakia for around 1400. Around me, most guys have the wackers, somewhat a standard. I can't see spending that kind of money for a plate at the stage you are at. Instead, save the money, buy a $1500 compactor, then take that extra money and get yourself a nice partner k-950 cut-off saw or maybe a nice tub saw. That would be the way to go if you really want to get started.


    [Edited by steveair on 09-20-2000 at 03:06 AM]
  5. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    oh ya,

    one more quick thing. after compacting a few jobs in, you will get a feel for when its good. When you start compacting with the plate, it will sink the pavers in and ride rather smooth. After 2-3 passes in most cases, the pavers will be set and you will feel the plate start to 'bounce'. This is how I judge my jobs and know when to stop. When the plate starts to bounce, this is when the majority of scuffing occurs.

    I remember doing a drive for the first time and thought I would make a 'Super driveway' and compact the living daylights out of it. after like 8 passes (about 5 too many) I remember the compactor was just bouncing all over the place. I did see a lot of scuffing then, and also had to pull a LOT of broken pavers out. It is possible to over do it, as I learned the hard way.

  6. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543


    We bought a new Bomag this year model 12/45. 3350 psi and a Honda motor, just love it , cost us $1350. Had an older BGW Groundpounder with a Kohler and it worked well, though not nearly as smooth as the Bomag. As for paver scuffing, I posted a question on paver pads a couple of weeks ago. The only problems we have are with high texture pavers and one of our manufacturers( Unilock ) has these. Just put in 2 patios and a walkway with these and spread the sand on the top first. This didn't work too bad. Better than spending $450 on a pad. As Steveair said, the scuffing will go away and if you seal after the efflorence disappears you'll never have to worry. Pavers are a blast if you've got the equipment.
  7. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860


    Thanks for the sage advice. I rented a Wacker 1550 to hit the driveway again and it was very sufficient. Like you say, I can't see spending extra hundreds on a different version of the same thing especially since there are so many more machines and tools for me to buy.

    Another question...on this particular job, concrete was removed prior to the installation(approx. 500 s.f.) The rest of the driveway was blacktopped. Well, the edge of the blacktop was wavy - up and down. Since I didn't want my pavers to wave in conformance, there are now places where the top paver surface is below the old blacktop edge (approx. 3/4") and places where the paver surface is above the blacktop (approx. 1 inch). The second situation is my concern for the moment since the sand won't stay in and the vehicle tire hits the brick "head on" so to speak, possible leading to a weak area??

    O.K. here's the question...should I get a bag of blacktop patch to smooth the transition where the pavers are higher to restrain sand, inhibit damage, etc. I was concerned about staining the pavers. I have no experience with these pour from the bag and tamp type patches. If no good, could anyone suggest an alternative?


  8. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    I use black top patch very often, and have great succes with it. Use it a lot for when a walk meets a drive, patio meets a drive, etc.

    I use the bag type, as you mentioned, and just use a hand tamp, mallet, etc. to pound it in. Only problem is it takes almost a week to really set up, so I will put a piece of plywood over the work and then come back in a week to pick it up, that way the homeowner won't walk through it if they forget I told them not too.

    Sand will not stay for long in a crack that is over a 1/2 inch wide or so, so I always opt for blacktop patch in a case as you described.

    Also, you will have times when pavers meet up with such things as jagged cobblestone curbing, irregular shaped wall stone, etc. In cases like this, its hard to cut pavers to 'look' nice at the joint, so I usually use concrete to fill gaps such as this. I've currently started buying concrete dye and have had very good luck in getting the concrete color to match the paver color. Its tricky to fill the cracks if you are not a expert mason, which I am not. I just bought one of those 'funnel' (like what they use to put icing on a cake) bags to squeeze concrete into the larger joints without getting it all over the pavers and then trowel it smooth. It works great

  9. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Great idea with the "funnel"! I have also had good luck using the bagged black top to blend into the pavers. The onlt difference was I used the plate tamper & didn't have to come back a week later as you mentioned it. If you're renting the tamper, plan to do the asphalt the same day to save the money. One other trick, but BE CAREFUL, if the stuff in the bag is real clumpy or the weather is cool, find a decent sized area on the existing pavement, pile the black top you need there, pour a little gas on it & set it on fire. Let it burn for a while, while continuously mixing it with a hard rake. The flame will go out in a little while, leaving material that is much easier to work with and compacts great (compact it in layers like doing the base). Make sure the work area is clear so there are no other fires to contend with (ie: the gas can, tamper, tools, people, pets etc.)

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