Paver Jobs taking too long

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, May 17, 2007.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    We've been doing a LOT of paver jobs this year. A lot more than ever before. And I find our crews are taking a little longer than they should be on the paver jobs. Our rates are fairly competitive with our competition. So I know I am bidding them right. So far, our customers have been just stoked with all the paver jobs we've done. But the problem is they are taking us too long to install. We often go over budget by a day or more.

    My workers are taking a lot of time making the little custom cuts in the pavers when they get to the edges. Many of the paver patios we do have curvy edges. Obviously, pavers don't accomodate a curvy edge, so that always results in a lot of cutting. But even on patios where it's basically a rectangle, there are always unexpected things that result in cutting. Things like rounded corners, or the where the patio starts at the house, the house is not straight. Often times, the back side of the house, where the patio starts, is not straight. It comes out for a picture window or chimney or something. So there's a lot of custom cutting to accomdate that too.

    Any tips on avoiding this? I sometimes feel like we're spending WAY too much time cutting. Sometimes (especially on smaller paver patios) we'll spend more time cutting these little wedge pieces to fit these areas than we do laying the rest of the patio! I sometimes feel like, "There must be a better way!!!"

    Is there? Or is that just the nature of pavers? For those of you who do a lot of paver patios, are there any short-cuts or tricks to help you avoid taking so much time cutting pavers into smaller custom pieces to fit?
  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Depending on the severity of the curve, a lot of guys here will tell you they over-lay the pavers, mark the curve, then cut them in place with a handheld. I've yet to try it myself, but I plan to as soon as possible

    As for the "custom" cuts, I don't have any insight into that. Cutting does seem to take forever though...
  3. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 601

    I second D Felix, I am a big fan of the overlay method.....Our consultant says "an expierienced crew member should be able to lay 300 Sq inc. base per day. I don't agree but thats what he says.
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Jim, if you square your patio the house, you won't have major cutting issues there, and it will look better to the naked eye.
  5. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Hey Jim,
    cutting is a pain, I conquer with Dirty. We always start off a set surface like the house. However you will never get away from the tedius and time consuming task of cutting. Smooth long curves in the patio are always nicer to the eye than squares, but they are also a big pain in the butt. What worked for me was to estimate the time I thought the job should take, and then double to accomodate murphy's law. I started to come out right on the time then. Jobs always seem to run smoother and go faster when you are building them in your head and not in the dirt. I use a hot saw with a diamond blade on large 18" x 18" pavers or bigger but never have on the small ones. I was always afraid the saw would kick them out of place and mess up the radius. I guess it couldn't hurt to try though.
  6. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Wow, where did I learn to spell ;"conquer"- I mean I agree. Whew, that was easier.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I hope you meant you "concur" with Dirty.

    If you have conquered him, let's just keep that between the two of you...... ;) :eek:
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Jim, it seems to me that if this is becoming par-for-the-course , you just need to add more time to your estimates. Excellent work does take time and effort above and beyond just banging the jobs out fast. I have always found that if given a little breathing room, I work more efficiently and am more productive.
    If you rush your workers or make them feel like they are just too slow, they will slow you up even more. I know you are not the type of boss that does that so don't take me wrong.
    I guess my point is, excelling at anything takes more time. I suggest you might take on less work and charge more for the work you are doing because all that extra care in cutting and fitting and doing the job right is what defines your business in the long run.
    That makes a difference.
    Allowing your people to take that extra time makes them able to be proud about what they do too.
  9. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    The best I've found (but I am new at this) for cutting in the edge is just a construction grade Sharpie marker and a speed square. Just lay them in the gap between the soldier and the patio and mark the sides with the sharpie, then flip it over and use the square to connect the marks. I typically do 4-6 of these at a shot then start the saw and rip them all at once. Then I go put them in and do the next batch. For cutting the radius soldier courses I just do it by eye chopping 1/8"-1/4" fan-shape off each side.

    my 14" saw is too big to cut in place as it does kick everything out, I'm looking for a worm gear or similar saw to try next.
  10. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Messages: 1,209

    we use a 12 inch diamond blade and always cut in place. You WILL shave hours off jobs by overlaying the field and then cutting.

    Our saw has a 14 inch shroud but when cutting pavers we just put in a 12 inch blade.

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