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Pavers... Compact Sand or not

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by heygrassman, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    Quick question that searching did not help find the answer to..

    When installing pavers and after a good sub-base of crushed limestone is compacted, do you compact your sand as well??


  2. mike48114

    mike48114 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    For pavers that will see foot trafic only you should use 4" of compacted base and 1" of NOT compacted sand. If the paved area will see car or truck trafic, you will need at least 6" of base and the same 1" of NOT compacted sand.

    I recomend using Slag Sand, but there are others you may use.

    Also...Dont forget your jointing sand!
  3. RwADesigner

    RwADesigner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Yea you dont ever compact the sand.

    Just the sub base

    Concrete sand is great for your sand layer
  4. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Mike, slag sand used to be the base mat'l of choice when I was in MI 12+ years ago, and may still be. However, it can have so many hazardous materials in it (like lead and cadmium), and unless you are frequently asking for EPA test reports to see what the levels are, you have no idea what you may be subjecting your clients to. Not to mention, the size of the particles is a little on the small side. Slag sand (foundry sand) is not a viable base material in many markets.

    Run a search on 'patio base' and you'll find a very in-depth discussion on this topic.

    As for the sand, you don't compact it. At least not directly. Once you've laid and cut in your pavers and installed edge restraint, then compact the pavers (thereby compacting the sand, indirectly).
  5. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087


    And that Patio Base thread is a real good one if I'm thinking of the same one. It was a while back.

    One thing I don't remember if we hashed out or not was this.

    When compacting the pavers, I've seen it done two ways. I've seen the paver being compacted and then the joint sand added, and I've seen the joint sand added and then compacted. What are you guys doing?

    I seem to have better luck with the joint sand first, and then compacting. It seems to keep my joints a little bit mroe even and the vibe helps get that sand down in the joints really good.

    After that I sprinkle some water on it, rub it in with a broom and let it dry. If I can, I usually leave the sand on there for a little bit just to let it fill in, and then come sweep the excess off. I'm lucky to be able to do this because of where I'm doing the work. I'm sure you guys might have trouble leaving a job like this for a paying customer.

    Anyway.....how do you guys finish once the pavers are cut and laid?
  6. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Haven't seen you around these parts for awhile guido, welcome back!

    I always sand and compact....can't imagine doing it any other way. I usually sand, compact, sand again, and compact again, then sand for a third and final time....that way you really work the sand in. The first two sandings are done very quickly, and the third is done slower to make sure all joints are filled.

    Also, I think it is critical to sand before compaction because the paver joints will be thrown off, especially around the edges where the cuts are....are the smaller pieces need something to lock them in during compaction or they move around get twisted around.

  7. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Glad I'm not lonely on this one! I know you Paul, Lanelle, and Stonehenge probobly remember me whining about getting these guys in Germany to give up some of their old school ways and let me bring some new ideas out. This was one of them. One of the civillians thought I was an idiot when I started spreading sand before we compacted.....he was hootin and hollerin......

    Funny though......all those guys that laughed at me when I would show them the way I learned how, all do it my way now.......by choice of course.

    I wish I had more time to post this year....Its been a rough year over here. I spent about 5 months in the 'Stans playing in the worlds biggest sand box, and all the humanitarian aid we were running out of here, and all kinds of fun stuff we built (that I can't talk about on here (boy do I sound important!:rolleyes: )), and a winter that got dumped on us when we really weren't ready equipment or manpower wise.
    Anyway, its been busy. Hopefully this will be an un-eventful year and I can spend some time cruising the forums.

    See you around!
  8. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    We've started using polymeric sand more and more with our installs - the only thing that really changes in the install process is to be extra diligent about cleaning sand off the pavers, and then wetting down the polymeric sand so it hardens up. But the compacting and sweeping chronology is the same as you.
  9. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Never compact your bedding sand prior to laying the pavers. Don't even let a guy walk through it. After the pavers are down, sand the joints and compact. Sweep in the joint sand again to really fill the joints. The interlock is gained by forcing sand up from the bed and down from the sweeping. The compactor does that forcing. The bedding sand should be washed concrete sand.
  10. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Hey Jeff,
    Glad to see that you are using sand nowadays.;)

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