Paver Assistance…

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by KaCe, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. KaCe

    KaCe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    My daughter and I are planning to put a patio and short wall at her home. I have read and read and have several questions regarding putting in a paver patio.

    Everything says it needs to be dry weather, but what if it isn't? Must one have dry weather? I know some say they "tarp" the area and wait, but what if you removed the sod and worked the ground and it began to pour? As it did with us. It seemed like okay weather, but it turned bad. Then the next two days it rained and rained. We did put a tarp over most of it, but it was a mess. Can we compact when damp?

    I thought that it would really make the soil like concrete to compact it while overly damp. It is not in the right grade yet too. So I wanted to work the soil some more to get it to the right grade. Then we want to bring in crushed rock (0-3/4") and dress out the area and compact it to the grade.

    I have read several places on recommendation for the crushed rock: they vary from 1" to 2". I'm not sure of the reason for the differences. Can anyone tell me why there are differences in the recommended thickness of the crushed rock?

    I know after we get that to grade we will do the course sand and only do what we can lay in pavers for that day. I am in a quandary to understand the method of the pipes as it may apply to our project. You see my daughter wants her patio to have concentric rings. It is our plan to radiate from a rounded porch; first one row of harvest and then the reddish pavers; then two rows of the background color and then the accent red; then three and one of the reddish again; four rows, etc. until we reach the boundary. We have a plan for two other ripples coming from other center points. Then intersecting the main one.

    Okay, I know it is complex, but it is what it is and we are going to do it. The question is when leveling for curves how does one keep it in sections if the work is curved? Or perhaps what I really need to ask is: should we begin in the middle and work out on the sides so that we are able to work only the sand that we can lay that day? Are there any tricks to the curving design of the pavers as we are going to lay them? I have a thick black rubber hose that is about an inch thick. I was thinking that this hose may be a good way to level for the curve. Would that be a good way?

    The next questions: regard the low Celtik wall.
    The east side of her home is narrow and has a three foot bank from the neighbor's yard, about four feet across and then her foundation. We are grading at the rate of 1/4" :1.5' from the rear yard to the front. Since there is a wall on the east and a foundation on the west should we put perforated pipe under the walkway to deal with excessive water? We don't want to create water where there has not been water (at her foundation). And we read that the wall (which will have perforated pipe behind it) should not have any drainage directed towards it. So IF we can get it dead flat between the wall and the house and slope it to the front the water will end up in the front. What should we do to minimize this water's affect on the walkway at the front? (It will also be pavers.)

    I thought with perforated pipe behind the wall that we might be okay with another pipe in front of it and running toward the front the same as the paver walkway. I thought the last place to direct the water would be toward the house. I would think ideally that a small 'u' shaped channel at the foot of the wall sloping to the front might really help, as we could pitch it ever so slightly toward the wall and this channel, but I'm not sure.

    Woops! I thought I was done until I remembered that I might as well ask anyone who may answer the following as well:
    She wants gas put in later. I'd like her to lay conduit or something(?) for later access under her patio. If this is done, how is it done? There is no money now for paying to have the pipe put in and inspected, so we want to make it so we don't have to tear up the patio. Or perhaps because it is pavers, we shouldn't worry about it and just lift up the ones we need to when the time comes?
    I know for those of you who make your living doing this that what she'd pay for is your experience, but she has so little money that it is all she can do to buy all the supplies, which are considerable. So any help that can be given will be gratefully appreciated. And fear not. We are not doing this again. It is a one time venture which we will succeed at, it will just be a question of how easily we'll succeed.

    We hope you can "make our day".
  2. KaCe

    KaCe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Well, we've got our transit set up and have set the grade on the perimeter and at the house and are now doing the back-breaking part of shoveling the dirt to level the surface. Since it was damp and has compacted some this is a bit hard, but we're managing. I am assuming that the crushed rock will also be easier to set to grade as it isn't as hard packed as the soil. Do people spread out the crushed rock to the desired depth; then compact and add more or do people put it on "generously" and then compact it to grade without having to add more? I am only wondering as I didn't know if "layers" of compacting were compromising the job, or if compacting binds each layer and there is not real difference in whether it was done in stages or not. Again, any help or suggestions are appreciated. Gotta get back to the working end of the shovel, but wanted to post before some would head to bed...
  3. KaCe

    KaCe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Hello, all you lurkers— but not helpers.
    I've about decided this is a blog about my thoughts on this job instead of getting help, I'm just telling you how it's going and I hope someone will have the strength of character to tell me if I'm about to do something terribly wrong that could cause us financial setbacks or future issues. That being said…
    I was absent today from our daughter's job, as I had other commitments. Tho today the crushed rock was delivered. They said 8' x 8' would be the pile, so I bought a 15' x 11'-6" tarp and it filled it. So much for the driver's skills in extimating size. That being said. Is it important to keep this dry before using? I know the said should be dry, but should the crushed rock also? If so I need to get another tarp.<sigh> Here in Washington we have a lot of rain. The transit is working very well. and leveling the main patio is slow going. I find grade; drive a piece of rebar into the ground at that point and spray paint it orange. I am putting these markers about every 4'. I had this idea that I could use 2" x 2" x 16' straight grained cedar and put one end at the house and the other out at the edge of the patio and then moving the lumber side to side, grade that way. I'm not sure that is the "right" way, but I thought it might actually be faster than the rebar method that I was using. Because as we work and area the rebar comes out to work and then it needs to be reshot to see how we're doing. (Thank God for friends in construction!)And we don't have a lot of dirt to remove, but more just knock down a high point or fill a low.

    As we are approaching grade now we are renting the compactor and will compact the disturbed ground prior to putting down the weed control cloth; then we'll put down the 2 x 2's and fill betwen with crushed rock. Then we'll compact that and continue the process. Since no one has replied to me I decided to compromise on the base. Some places recommended 1" and others 2"; so we're using 1.5" of crushed rock and sand. The pavers are 2.25 and so we'll be just over 6". I am taking pictures of the project as it is a learning experience.

    There was some debate on whether the weed barrier went between the ground and the crushed rock or between the crushed rock and the sand. I think we're opting for the former. If that is a big mistake I hope someone will speak up. I'll check before I go to work on the project in the morning.

    You folks earn your money. This work is hard. It's a good thing we come from sturdy pioneer stock and that we're only doing this one project.

    Kabitzers {sp?} welcomed.
  4. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181


    I don't really mean to kibbitz, but have you drawn up a plan for this project, and if so, may we see it?

    Also, I suspect the answers to many of your questions are already provided in the various how-to or DIY documents available today. One, for example is in

    And a search on "paver" in this site may also provide threads which will have a lot of relevant information.

    These are just suggestions from another homeowner who had designed his own patio. I did some but not most of the grunt work, but in addition to the design, I was the one who laid out everything, ordered all material, and set all the levels. You'll find pictures of mine at the "paver walkway" thread that had been started by dave732, and I have to tell you that putting my ideas onto a drawing beforehand helped me avoid a lot of serious mistakes.
  5. KaCe

    KaCe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thank you. As time is going on, answers are presenting themselves. The terrible rain we had when we began the project set us up for a lot of stress. We have a scale drawing and it is broken down into smaller drawings by area. We have calculated the materials, and feel confident about that. It is more the "tricks" or helping comments that we had sought. I will be checking out your suggestions and thank you for making them.

    Like the sand is to be dry, but ours was delivered damp. I called Mutual Materials today and they said that it would be okay. Well, damp to me isn't dry; so I had been concerned, though not now.

    Having a transit to set levels (I spent four years as a surveyor) helped a lot. We were resolved that we'd have to use several string levels. They were working fine and the transit verified it. But a lot of work. I was told by a young man, who is a friend of our daughter, that our grading was being overly precise. But I am of the school that good prep makes a good job. Our gravel and plate compactor seems to give us a nice tight surface for the sand.

    Screeding the sand is something all our daughter's girlfriends are finding fun. Watching them stretch and fuss over getting everything just so is rewarding. Sunday we had an all girl crew for 8 hours with cameo's by Dad to man the barbecue and Don to see the job and change a blade in the saw. (He had the time, so he got the job.) Lifting 12#'s is better than doing reps at the gym. I tell the crew that they should pay us to work out. But since they aren't paid, I guess it's a wash.We have been taking a lot of time to grade and get things just so&#8212; so we didn't get a lot of pavers laid. At the end of the day we began actually laying pavers. It took about 90 minutes to lay one pallet. There was edging to figure out and we put 4" strips of ground cover fabric under random pavers to allow us to easily remove them to trim them to insert the pattern we will be adding to the center of the walkway. We call them cigar ribbons (like they use to lift out a cigar in a tight box; or batteries from a device). We think this will help us be able to lift and cut a paver to shape for the pattern that is planned down the middle of the walkway.

    I know that many topics are covered in all types of posts from a variety of sources, but this seemed a professional site, so it doesn't hurt to ask a "pro".

    Now to get all these pallets layed before someone comes along and thinks they look like a "deal". I think I should cover them, so they aren't so visible, as they could not put them inside the back fence. I hate that I even think this way. Theft is so rampant. I don't know how builders/masons/etc. do it &#8212; deal with supplies disappearing.

    I will post our sketches and some photos of the before, during and after.

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