Paver Walkway & Pation with Concrete Base/Retention

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by klinko2k, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. klinko2k

    klinko2k LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I am a homeowner that needs to have a paver walkway installed around the side of my house (4' x 50') and a square base for a hot tub (12' x 10') have been reading endless posts on the forum deciding whether to do it myself or hire a contractor. After meeting some contractors, I feel like I know more about paver installations than they do based on the knowledge I have gained from this forum. Thank you!

    The contractor I met who seemed to have the most experience wants to pour a 4" concrete base for the entire 360SF of pavers and use concrete edge retention. This does not seem very common to me and I have been scouring the forum for examples where others have done this; and it seems rare.

    I have clay soil where water was pooling on the older improperly installed flagstones, so I want to ensure that water is handled properly as my number one focus. He ensured me they would shoot everything with a laser and slope it away from the house and drain to a natural area.

    He is only charging $8/SF for labor/excavation/concrete/Pavestone Holland Pavers (turn-key job in 2 days) and this is by far the best quote I have received from a reputable company with a storefront and references.

    Is this a proper design for a long term installation, or should I find another company that installs a 4" rock base or is concrete a fine option? I live in the Charlotte, NC area - so the temps only get down to the teens a few times per year.

    Also, any feedback on the Pavestone Holland pavers? I was initially interested in clay bricks from Pine Hall/General Shale but am leaning more towards concrete.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    Oh my. Where to start.

    Ok, I do know that NC does get cold. I have been in Henderson in Late November and have seen the top two inches of earth become frosty. Last Jan I was further south in NC and there was frozen ground. So, yes, that's all it takes. It may not happen often. But one time is all it takes.

    Concrete DOES NOT flex. it BREAKS. So when/if the ground freezes - it can BREAK and it can move (slide), thus making it ineffective. I do not write this from theory. My company has repaired jobs done by others where the concrete edging has failed. I am writing this from first hand knowledge.

    A good quality edge restraint such as SNAP EDGE is nylon and will flex with the ground. For long term peace of mind - you do not want concrete. If you were in SC or FL - concrete may not be so bad. But I know first hand that the ground DOES freeze in NC.

    Ok so now - your contractor......

    $8 / sf was the average cost back in 1997. And this is no exaggeration. I can post contracts from them to back this up. Being a contractor since 1990, I can tell by your wording that you are focusing on the lowest price. Established veteran contractors will tell you that's foolish. Strong words? You betcha, plain and simple.

    I skimmed your post. But I saw that this guy is saying this is a two day job. YIKES! For my company, it will take one day to measure and layout the walk, excavate, and install and compact the aggregate base.

    Did the contractor mention commercial grade geo-textile fabric?? I bet you a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant that he did not. This is a must have, cheap insurance. You have clay soil, right?

    It will then take another 8 hrs to install the pavers. The installation would have perfectly straight joint lines and the paver cuts will be mitered perfectly. ok, but stay with me - if the walk is radiused - it will probably take us 12-14 hrs to build the walk. Again, perfectly straight joint lines. And perfect paver cuts. It takes time to achieve straight joint lines. It takes time to create flawless paver cuts that are not choppy and look hacked.

    Most likely we would not have time on the day of paver installation to PROPERLY brush in the joint sand. So this will most likely be done the following day. This is also when we backfill the edges of the with soil, fine grade, seed, straw, and broom / shovel clean the driveway.

    So this will take an experienced contractor with 3 guys 3-4 days. That is with joint lines that ARE NOT wavey. That is with the grade of the walk that is NOT wavey. And that is with joint sand that is brushed in clean. Very important - there are CONTRACTORS on THIS SITE that have proudly posted pics of their work, but I then find that they did NOT properly brush in the joint sand.

    Again, harsh words - PAVESTONE IS JUNK. Pavestone caters to the box stores (Lowes / Home Depot). Unless you're selling the property in a yr or two - do not use pavestone.

    Clay pavers make a BEAUTIFUL walk as well. Now clay pavers will not get you straight joint lines, but that's ok, that's the old world charm that clay brings you.

    This walkway, about the same size you're talkin took us no less than 3 days:

    The walk in this pic took us 5-6 days. (it's longer than what you see in the photo) There was about 16 hours of cutting and mitering pavers. Notice how well the paver lines flow, smooth and consistant:


    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    Storefront means very little to me. in fact, here in MD - the guys that have had storefronts - have been the ones to fold up. True story. Don't let this contractor's store front play much into your decision.

    References - Lets talk about this.
    Ok, as a contractor I *TRY* to NEVER give references of recent jobs we've done.

    Recent jobs are almost always PERFECT, and the customer is as happy as they come.

    It takes 3 to 5 yrs to see the effects of a paver install done wrong. I tell this to my prospective clients during my presentation.

    So when I provide references - I *TRY* to provide references of jobs that are about 3 yrs old. And I try to provide references of similar scope to the job that I'm trying to sell. So if the job is a walkway - I'll provide references for other walkways we've done. If the job is a 400 SF patio - I'll provide references of other 400 SF patios we've done. If the job is a elaborate patio with kitchen, lighting, fire feature, etc - I'll provide references of other jobs just like that.

    When I provide references - I always state on the reference sheet when we did the job. It will look like this:

    Frank & Helen Homeowner
    123 Any Street
    Anytown, FL
    (333) 555-1212 (goes to bed early, call before 7 pm)
    Designed and installed 400 SF Walk in July 2010

    Also - DOES NC REQUIRE CONTRACTORS TO BE LICENSED WITH THE STATE? If you're unsure, see if your state gov't has a Dept of Labor and Licensing and call them and find out
  4. klinko2k

    klinko2k LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thank you. I had the same concerns about concrete. The ground is completely frozen today @ 8 degress F. I too want to go with a synthetic paving edge, but was surprised that multiple contractors are suggesting concrete here. I do not want to get multiple quotes to put people in a bidding war, I am just still trying to find someone that knows what they are doing.

    1. I specifically asked for geo-textile fabric; but they told me it is not necessary. Out of the three contractors I have talked to, no one wants to use it. Red Flag #1 IMO. I am going to force this as a requirement. I can't believe they don't understand the importance of this.

    2. While keeping the cost low is always nice, this is not my primary focus. I was surprised by their low bid when it seemed to be the most reputable company to me. I agree I was excited by the low bid previously, but I am never a guy to throw good money after bad, no matter the case.

    I had a few recommendations for local guys that do "side work" from the brick companies; I am concerned also. I am going to steer away from this.

    Thanks for the advice on Pavestone. I am happy to spend the extra $$ on clay pavers. I am going to ignore Pavestone. Any thoughts on Belgard concrete pavers (holland 4x8) vs. a good clay paver from a reputable company? I plan to be in this home for the next twenty years, and only want to do this project once- hence why I have been researching it extensively.

    3. I need to drain some gutters out and away from the house. I have huge concerns about a gutter drain graded away ending approx 8-9" under the soil when properly pitched under the walkway. Is a pop-up appropriate here, or do I need a drywell system? Open airing is not possible and there are no storm drains close to my home in this community. Gutter comes out ground level, runs two feet before dropping @ least 8" to get under the crush/sand/pavers, then more feet @ 1/4" per foot drop. That puts it about 16 feet from the house total. At that point I am well under the ground.

    Thanks for all of the expert advice!
  5. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Lots of the old school guys do it on concrete by me in NY. Like 75%. But thats just how they have always done it and they will never change. Thry make money and they sell jobs. Half the supply places ive been to wouldnt even know what youre talking about if you asked for snap edge.
    I dont install on a slab, but some do.
    Also, ive done the excavation work for guys who install this way, and it is FAST. If the cuts are straight and they have 4+ guys they can definitely do it in 2 days
  6. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,404

    There has to be someone in this forum in your area.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    actually there is. Brandon I believe is his name. user name here is something like BrandonV.

    it would be funny if it is him with the storefront $8 / sf pricing LOL
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    RJ - although it may be indisputable about what suppliers in NY stock - it is not indisputable the problems associated with using concrete at the top of frozen earth. The suppliers in NY are doing disservice. Are these the same suppliers that do not stock Poly sand?

    Also - this thread is a topic from a concerned home owner. The topic creator isn't concerned about contractors making money and selling jobs, that's the whole reason his/her guard is up and that just tells him/her that he/she is doing the right thing by doing research :)
  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    how are is ashboro from you? I'm not fooling with looking at the map, Is it anywhere near you?

    BrandonV is from ashboro, you can utilize the search feature here to private message him.
  10. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Amost all suppliers sell poly, even home depot. But my paver reps dont recommend it because of hazing. Just realized i never got back to u guys about that job. I followed all instructions to a T and it hazed the hell out of the brick. Maybe it was the style paver but i wont be installing poly sand unless the homeowners sign off on all responsibility.

    Youre right, i was just saying you cant teach old dogs new tricks, and they arent necessarily wrong, theres just others who are more right. There are much more hack ways to install and there are countless examples. Some manufacturers say you can install on concrete as long as proper drainage measures are taken. Installed with wire mesh, that concrete isnt going anywhere. And it certainly wont kill anyone

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