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Paver base

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by neighborguy, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    In an attempt to stave off any personal attacks, I am asking how you all feel about what one of my local suppliers is encouraging as base for paver patios. We are all well aware of permeable patio installations. My supplier is suggesting that using permeable base standards for a "normal" paver patio installation will provide a more stable base for a longer period (given our freeze/thaw cycles). His claim is that by using a 3/4 clear angular base you are keeping water away from the paver, which means that there will be no water to freeze in your sand layer, which in turn means that your paver should not heave.

    I am well aware of ICPI standards and just wanted to hear your thoughts.
  2. jeffslawnservice

    jeffslawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 830

    I had a teacher in college claim this too. He insisted we use 3/4 clean for the base of patios and walls because it would allow for better drainage. His arguing point was tree and plant roots would be less likely to move into a base of 3/4 clean looking for water as opposed to using 2A modified. I've always used 2A though for my bases unless I'm doing a permeable application.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    The bedding sand is on top of the aggregate base. So if the sand is wet / moist....it will freeze no matter what!

    Also, if you have a 5" aggregate base, and the ground freezes 12" deep......the pavers could still heave!

    When your supplier gets a degree in engineering....then maybe they could start specing jobs.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. clipfert

    clipfert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204

    Turning over a new leaf. We'll said DVS. (This is not a dream)

    PLUS.....How much water is getting to your base to begin with. With correct pitch etc I think that number is 2-3% permeability. Not much water.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    Everything I say is well said. Just depends on your mood and personality and home happiness.
  6. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    So many variables.

    So many, that the supplier really should stay out of it.

    A big patio with a decent pitch may see very little water. A deep snow melt is a different story.

    I don't even know where to begin.

    Permeable pavements use deep bases. Very costly to excavate, haul spoils, and import aggregate. To do a patio utilizing the methods of permeable pavements - it would GET COSTLY! Permeable pavements done right ain't cheap.

    The selling point of interlocking pavements is that they're individual units which can float with the ground.

    Canada gets far colder and harsher than the states, and the number of pavers per household in Canada is far higher than the states. If a crusher run base works in Canada, it'll surely work everywhere else
  7. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    He did say to follow permeable base depths. Also eliminating the sand layer at the top and replacing it with smaller aggregate. I am by no means sold on it yet but have spoken to a few local contractors that had been doing it and love it. They say it goes in faster (3/4 stone dumped is already about 90% compacted), can be installed in thicker lifts, which both save on compaction time and labor.
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    I can't speak for the experience level and business level of the contractors in your area.

    The depths of a permeable base are much greater than non-permeable. This means you have more soil to excavate, which requires more time. Time is money. Also, most likely this means more material (spoils) that you have to truck out of there and dispose of. Trucking costs money. Time is money. And if you don't have a place to dispose of the spoils - then you may have to pay, more material = more money in dumping fees.

    Even if your client has a place to spread the excavated soil - it still equates to additional time needed to spread that additional soil. Time is money.

    The additional depths of aggregate also mean higher costs of materials. I didn't do any calculations, but a crusher run base may require 20 tons of materials, and a permeable style base with clean 3/4 may require 35 tons.

    We like compacting. The more we compact, the less likely we'll have to go back and fix anything. So this jazz that everyone always says "it's less compaction", doesn't phase me. We don't want "less compaction". We want good, solid compaction, and piece of mind.

    In my area permeable pavements are hard to sell because of all the costs associated with them. The additional excavation and hauling. The additional aggregate. Etc. These green tree huggers will call wanting a permeable pavement, but once they hear the price and compare it to other pavements - they abandon the permeable pavement idea.

    This is something that requires a business mindset. You have to work the numbers. I don't think your trusty supplier has thought about the time involved in the additional excavation, along with the hauling and disposing of the additional spoils. You have to BUY additional aggregate. Does your supplier sell aggregate? If so, read between the lines.

    I don't know how much biz experience you have with hardscape installation. But when I price a hardscape job, I calculate each and every anticipated production hour for the job at hand. I know we can excavate and spread/compact so much area per day. I know that we can lay so many pallets of pavers in 8 hours. And so on and so forth. I believe that if you sit down and calculate each job on a case by case bases - you will find that the permeable base will cost the customer more money. And when you cost them more money - you're risking not getting the job.

    Ok, so now, you say some others in your area are doing the permeable method. I'm curious what their backgrounds are. How long they been installing pavers. And how business savoy they are. Since I believe the permeable method is more money to do, and some others in your area are allegedly doing the permeable method - think about this, if you do the traditional crusher run base......your price should be a few hundred to a few thousand dollars LESS. And if your price is less, and you can speak competently to the prospective client, and you can provide good references - YOU'RE GOING TO LAND THE JOB. I guarantee it. So let the others do the permeable method, as you're going to beat them in price and you're going to get the jobs. Do you follow me? But you have to know how to sell, you have to know how to educate a prospective customer, you can't come off to pushy, and you have to be a top notch contractor.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  9. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,616

    i think they're pushing the permeable bases due to the fact so many people haven't/won't invest in the proper compaction equipment...
  10. woodwardschris

    woodwardschris LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I can guarantee you I (distributor) don't push permeable pavers or permeable bases to sell more bulk material. In fact, when my contractors need a large quantity of bulk, I refer them to the quarries in my area because this will save them hundreds.

    As a distributor, I will often discuss ways to improve installation if I think my information is worthy...it is still up to the contractor to determine if the suggestion is profitable...the fact though that your distributor is trying to help you is a good thing. He may or may not understand the total real cost, but the discussion and thought process could be valuable.

    Permeable bases do make sense in some cases...but not all. The cost to compact a 2a (crusher run) base is a cost which may or may not cost more than the cost to drop and spread 2b (clean stone) and the time savings of not having two employees rake and one walking around with a compactor. Quite frankly, I bet if I crunched the numbers, it may be a wash. The cost of the extra excavation and removal of spent soils may be offset by the savings of not having to spend so much time compacting. Or it may not.

    My point is, we distributors don't know all the answers, but we do what we can to help you guys understand some of the options you may have to improve your installation techniques.

    I still get many contractors who do and always will use screenings (stone dust) instead of sand. I think we all know this is a terrible idea. I don't try to get them to change as they feel it works for them. Some people are just unwilling to change. And you know what, I have good quality contractors who use stone dust and have done so for 15-20 years and don't get any call backs. Not the way I would do it, but it works for them.

    Paver Pete is big on throwing techniques out there that many of you bash, but he knows his stuff...may not work for everyone, but we should listen to what he says and question whether or not we need to improve or update our installation practices.

    A 2b base which is naturally compacted MAY BE better compacted than a 2a base compacted with a Wacker 1550???

    I show my contractors the Gator Base material (Allinace claims it can be used instead of five inches of 2a/Crusher Run). Do I believe the product will work? I don't know. But it could work. In some cases it makes sense. I would rather have a home owner use the Gator Base material than trust they can excavate 10" of soil, remove or re-use spent soil, haul in 20 tons of 2a and compact the 2a every one or two inches with a weak rental plate compactor. The Gator Base probably will be stronger. I have some contractors I don't trust to do the base properly either, so Gator Base might be a better option for them as well. For a good contractor who has a good crew and knows how to properly install a base, Gator Base would not be an option. But what about a city job? I once did a row house job in Philadelphia which required me to haul dirt and 2a in five gallon buckets through the house as there was zero access to the back yard. If Gator Base was available at the time, I would not have hesitated using this product, even though I would not use it in a normal project. I wish I had a distributor at the time who cared enough about me and my business to make me aware of this option.

    And you know what I may have found out? It may work better than my current way of doing it...it may not. But it should be worth my consideration.

    I would not ask my distributor to just "stay out of it". I would listen to what he says and use this information to evaluate and judge myself and my companies installation practices. We are all in this together. The better we all do this the more rewards we all we reap.

    I find it funny that neighborguys first statement is "In an attempt to stave off any personal attacks...":laugh:

    I also love this comment...When your supplier gets a degree in engineering....then maybe they could start specing jobs.

    And this one makes me really crack up..."You have to work the numbers. I don't think your trusty supplier has thought about the time involved in the additional excavation, along with the hauling and disposing of the additional spoils. You have to BUY additional aggregate. Does your supplier sell aggregate? If so, read between the lines." Think of all the money I can make selling an extra 10 tone of 2a stone which makes me one dollar per ton...:dancing:

    Yesterday, I had a contractor order 315 sf of Mini Creta Plus. I know this contractor and I know he makes many mistakes. The quantity he ordered did not make sense compared to the other materials he ordered. I told him to re-crunch the numbers. He was sure he was right. I pushed back telling him if he ordered this extra material, I could not take back whatever he over-ordered. He finally caved and you know what...he ordered 200 sf too much. His order shrank by $5,000. As a distributor, I often have to think about my side of the business, but I also pride myself on being smart enough to think like a contractor as well. I cared enough about this contractor's business to offer him a valuable suggestion.

    I improve my business 0% by giving my contractors bad information. I want my contractors to succeed and will do anything I can to improve their business. If I am wrong, I will be the first to admit it.:clapping:

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