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Are you planning a patio project and want to know how thick pavers should be? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve researched this question and have the answer for you.
The standard paver thickness for patios is 2-3/8 inches. This is the minimum thickness to properly distribute weight on the pavers, especially if more than one person at a time is going to be on the patio.
The measurement above is ideal for properly installed pavers. This includes a paver base of the right depth and paver sand of the right amount. Sounds daunting? It shouldn’t be because we have all the details you need to DIY this in the succeeding sections. Read on!
How thick should pavers be for a patio?
The measurement provided above assumes that you have excavated ground at the bottom of the pavers. The excavated ground is ideal because it can drain water better. Thick pavers are always used for any new installation.
Thin pavers have a thickness of around three 3/4 of an inch. These are installed on existing structures, usually with a concrete base underneath. Some companies consider them as tiles instead of pavers because they’re too thin to be pavers.
The thick and the thin types of pavers are priced almost the same. So why not go for the thick one?
How to properly install pavers?
Let’s get to the details on how to properly install the pavers. Improperly installed pavers can lead to cracks where weeds and grass can later grow. Additionally, cracked pavers diminish the look of your patio.
How to install the paver base?
The paver base is the foundation of your pavers. It is the part that will bear the weight of the pavers and keep it stable. Before we begin with the steps, let’s start with the list of materials and tools that will be used to install the paver base.
What are the tools and materials needed to install a paver base?
- Plate compactor
- Grinder or circle saw
- Wind blower
- Lump hammer
- Rubber mallet
- Metal spikes
- Measuring tape
- Square ruler
- Level ruler
- Straight edge
- Nylon strings
- Crushed stone or concrete
- Bedding sand
- Polymeric sand
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What are the steps to install the paver base?
1. Start digging
Use the shovel to dig a depth of five inches, plus the thickness of your pavers, on the area where you plan to install the patio. The wheelbarrow will help you move the dug-out dirt from your work area.
2. Measure the area
Once you’ve finished digging the area, measure the perimeter to ensure that you have the correct depth. Measure the corners and verify that they are all right angles.
3. Mark the corners and the depth of the paver base
Hammer metal spikes into the ground to mark the corners, then tie nylon strings to mark the target depth of the paver base. Measure four inches for the depth of the paver base.
Use the level ruler on the string and make sure that they have a slight inclination going to the outer perimeter of the area away from the house. An angle of three to five degrees should be ideal.
4. Add landscaping cloth
Place a layer of landscaping cloth over the entire area. This prevents the ground from becoming uneven over time.
5. Pour crushed stone
Pour a layer of crushed stone. Distribute the crushed stone evenly. Use the lump hammer to crush any large lumps of crushed stone. Use the compactor every two inches of depth before adding more crushed stone.
6. Add crushed stone to reach target depth
Measure the depth of the paver base and add more crushed stone until you reach the desired depth of four inches.
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What are the steps to install the bedding sand?
- Adjust the string to a height of one inch from the top of the paver base. Use the level ruler to make sure that the new height follows the same inclination that you have made with the paver base layer.
- Pour bedding sand and spread it evenly until it reaches the level of the nylon string.
- Use the compactor to make the paver sand layer compact. Add more sand as needed. Then use the compactor once more to compact the sand.
How to install pavers?
- Adjust the height of the nylon string to represent the thickness of the pavers. Make sure that it follows the same incline as before.
- Start installing the first paver at the top of the incline. Use the rubber mallet to align the paver with the nylon string and compact it against the layer underneath.
- Keep installing the pavers until you have covered the entire area. Use the rubber mallet to hammer the pavers into the correct height that is aligned with the nylon string.
- Measure the excess pavers so that they can be trimmed accurately.
- Trim all the pavers and fit them into the areas where they should be installed. Use the rubber mallet to align them with the other pavers and to make them follow the incline of the nylon string.
How to install polymeric sand?
- Pour the polymeric sand over the joints of the pavers.
- Spread the sand evenly using the broom.
- Tap the pavers with the rubber mallet to make the polymeric sand settle deeper into the joints of the pavers.
- Repeat steps one to three until all the joints of the pavers have been filled with polymeric sand, and the sand will no longer settle deeper into the joints of the pavers.
- Sweep off any excess sand on top of the pavers.
- Use the leaf blower to get rid of the finely ground polymeric sand on top of the pavers. Make sure that the top of the pavers is clear of any polymeric sand residue without disturbing the polymeric sand that is in the joints of the pavers.
How to activate the polymeric sand?
- Set your garden hose to spray mode or spray function.
- Spray water over the pavers. Use a pushing movement to wash any excess polymeric sand into the joints.
- Make sure to complete spraying over the pavers within thirty seconds.
- Wait for a minute or two. Shorten the wait time if the weather is warm.
- Water the pavers once more, making sure to evenly water the joints.
- If the temperature is 86 degrees or more, wait for a minute and water the pavers a third time. Make sure to evenly water all the joints of the pavers.
Post installation reminders
- Do not let the pavers get wet any further until they have dried completely during the first 24 hours.
- According to Techniseal, polymeric sand is hard enough to receive foot traffic after 24 hours.
- Wait for at least 48 hours before driving over the newly installed pavers with a vehicle.
Can you lay pavers directly on dirt?
It is not advisable to install pavers directly on the dirt. Dirt gets soft when it gets wet. A soft dirt base affects the stability of the pavers on top of it.
The only time that pavers can be installed directly over dirt is when it is only a temporary installation. Some contractors want to install the pavers to determine the surface area that will be needed for the paver pattern that they need to install.
However, if you need a temporary paver to use over dirt, a portable outdoor tile is the best option instead of pavers. A portable outdoor tile has a perforated surface that makes it non-slip. Its surface also dries quite fast.
How to repair sinking patio pavers?
Sunken pavers are a tripping hazard. They also form puddles of water that can cause them to become a breeding ground for mold. Sunken pavers are caused by uneven soil draining.
Steps to repair sinking patio pavers:
1. Pull up the paving stones
Start pulling from a foot to a foot and a half from the center of the affected area. Pull the paving stones in every direction. Use a paver puller or putty knives to get the first paving stone. Family Handyman recommends using a thin screwdriver and a rubber mallet.
2. Remove the bedding sand layer
Make sure to leave a few inches of sand near the perimeter of the area. This will be used as a point of reference. Scrape any moss and sand around the exposed perimeter.
3. Replace the paver base
Fill the base with gravel or crushed stone. Tamp the freshly installed gravel to level it.
4. Add bedding sand
Once the gravel is on the same level as the rest of the hardscape, add a new layer of bedding sand. Use a trowel to spread it evenly.
5. Reinstall the paving stones
Slide them into place until they fit snugly with the rest of the paving stones.
6. Tamp the paving stones
Perform this step once you complete installing them. This will make them settle into the bedding sand layer underneath. Additionally, compacting causes the stone layer to form a tight bond with the bedding layer.
7. Apply a fresh batch of jointing compound
Keep in mind that the area sunk because of uneven draining. This could mean that the original jointing compound was not installed correctly. This led to too much water getting to the paving base. Then the water softened the ground underneath before it could drain out, sinking the whole area.
Install the jointing compound properly by following the instructions provided under the sections “how to install polymeric sand” and “how to activate polymeric sand” above.
Pavers for the patio should be at least two inches thick to better distribute weight on the pavers.
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