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How to level Base

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by hdbluedeuce, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. hdbluedeuce

    hdbluedeuce LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    We began installing a paver patio this weekend and I need some advice. The total area will be about 700 sq. ft., at the longest point, the shape is about 23 feet and the widest point is about 30 feet across.

    We began by finding our beginning elevations (patio has to tie into three given elevations; driveway, sidewalk to pool, and door to garage). We next figured our slope front to back and side to side to get our finished elevations around the perimeter. Next we used 4" metal edging (this will be the outside band/restraint for the pavers) and set this around the entire perimeter and established the correct elevations around the entire perimeter on top of the 4" metal edging. We then rough graded the interior area (inside of the edging perimeter). Pulling a string line from any point on the edging to another side we have anywhere from 3.5" - 4.5" from the string line (or top of the edging, which is the final grade) to the natural ground. Our pavers are approximately 2" thick.

    Now for the main question, I want the final elevation of the base course (sand) to be 2" below the top of the metal edging, so that the pavers will sit flush or slightly higher than the metal edging. Since it is too far across from one side to the other to use a long 2"x4" to screed the base material to the finished elevation, what is the easiest way to do this?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    First of all, that is one of the worst, most time consuming ways of grading a base, but with that being said, if you have graded properly you should be able to lay a 1"od pipe on your base and screed off of it.

  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Back in my concrete days, when we were pouring a slab that was too large to rod (screed) off at once, we would divide it up into sections using stakes and 8' metal bar (or a stringline).
  4. neversatisfiedj

    neversatisfiedj LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    Get a laser and a rod and you can use rebar or rods and set elevations with them. You can make the top of the rod as a reference to the top of the sand or aggregate , your choice.
  5. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    Well string line all your final elevations very tight because any slack will change yur final hieghts. I always use 18- 24" rebar and string lines. No tricks. Mearsure from the dirt to yur string line and subtract one inch. That should be compacted 34-, qp whatever yur using, for base. I ll keep it damp and keep compacting untill its almost as smooth as troweled cement. Then I use 1" schd 40pvc pipes on top of that base.srceed over the pipes with yur 2x4 and try to get an aluminum screed so yur not checking for bowed 2x4's. Youll need about 20 pipes so that ya dont move any untill eveything is all screeded. I go against ICPI rules and I compact my sand bed with the pipes on the base then go back and rescreed any imperfections before removing the pipes and filling in there void and laying pavers. ICPI passes off the no compacted bedding sand as good drainage. I prefer to direct my water to where the pitch intends it to go. Hope this helps.

  6. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    You shouldn't compact your bedding sand because you will not be able to achieve interlock. After all, the sand gets compacted when you vibrate the pavers in!:dizzy:

  7. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    I use stabalized jointing sand in every applictaion to get the lock. Tons of sweeping and washing in . Never one failure yet. What I have gotten from compacting pavers is low spots dips etc. Its much more dificultto go back and liftthe pavers and fix them rather then set everything perfect from the begining. I know this will start a problem but this is how Ive been doin it for years . Never a failure. So Ill go with what works.
  8. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    BTW this was a big discussion in the icpi course. It was on the test too. I know what they mean but I know how well my bases are made. We spend alot of time making this perfect. Ive seen too many compactors set paver uneven.
  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    this not an accepted icpi installation procedure... it will also void any manufacturers warranties..

    You will never have any dips.. etc from not pre compacting the sand... that comes from the base below the sand..

    the aggregate base must be within 3/8" over 10 feet of pertfectly straight.. it's called " piping the base"

    if you do this you will never have any problems. If you compact the sand first there is no paver set into the sand, so your whole paver slab could potentially slide on your sand base.
  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    to the origional poster... go to

    you can download thier install manual.

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