Should There Be A Gap Between Concrete Pavers?

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If you're asking yourself this question, that's a good sign. It means you are concerned about the proper installation of your concrete paver pavement. This way, you can prevent the common problems that arise from improperly installed pavers. And of course, we're here to help you out. We've asked our paving experts if there should be gaps in between concrete pavers, and here's what they said.

Yes, there should be a gap of about 1/8 inch between concrete pavers. The gap in between each concrete paver is necessary in securing the pavement in place. These gaps are filled with sand or gravel to solidify the concrete paver hardscape. This will also prevent the entry of unwanted particles deep into the pavement that affect its durability over time.

Keep on reading to know more about how wide the gap should be between concrete pavers and why. We'll also tell you what you can use to fill those gaps and solidify your pavement. We'll also go through the concrete paver installation process so that you can get it right the first time. Let's begin!

The footpath in the park is paved with diamond shaped concrete paver, Should There Be A Gap Between Concrete Pavers?

Should you Leave A Gap Between Concrete Pavers?

Young man installing paving stones for a new driveway

Many contractors and homeowners prefer the use of pavers for their hardscaping needs for their patios, walkways, driveways, and pool decks.

Pavers are individual blocks that interlock with other blocks to form beautiful and unique pavements. They are made from various materials such as concrete, brick, bluestone, and plastic. They are available in different colors and sizes to ensure you have an interesting and lovely visual design on your pavement.

But of course, the main reason for choosing pavers as your hardscaping material is their durability. When interlocked properly, these pavers can provide impressive compressive strength that makes them last even when subjected to high pressure, which can be expected from vehicles and heavy foot traffic.

However, for pavers to be strong and durable, they have to be installed properly. The last few steps of the installation process require laying the pavers on top of their sublayers. But you can't just drop them one by one. Remember, they have to interlock.

There should also be a space of about 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch between each paver. This space is important in securing your pavers in their place so that they won't shift or move over time. In general, the spaces in between concrete pavers need to be smaller than those of other hardscaping materials.

The gap size would depend on the paver type that you're using and the pavement type that you're doing. 

For example, let's say you're using concrete pavers for your patio. Experts say that the spacing in between the pavers needs to be much closer. But if your chosen paving material is bricks, you can allow a bigger space between them. If it's for your walkway, the gaps can be even wider, especially if you're using flagstone or bricks.

But let us just make it clear that those spaces, no matter how wide or narrow, need to be filled with sand or gravel to solidify the pavement. This will ensure that no moisture, water, dirt, and other unwanted particles will find their way inside the pavement and affect their structural integrity.

These fillers can also help enhance the look of your pavement, especially those that come in different colors that can put an accent on your hardscape's design.

What Is The Best Thing To Put Between Pavers?

Brick Paver Working. Worker lay paving tiles, construction of brick pavement.

Speaking of fillers, what can you put in the spaces between each paver to cover the gaps?

Experts say that you can use sand to fill the gaps. But you need to use sand with irregular grain sizes and sharp edges. This type of sand compacts better and more neatly. There is enough friction between the pavers and sand which is crucial in securing the hardscape material in its place.

Alternatively, you can use polymeric sand. Once you add water, it will activate the polymer or additives in the sand. Once they harden, they will seal the gaps while keeping the concrete pavers in their place.

Continue putting sand into the joints until they are filled all the way. Sweep the sand in. Then, you can use a compacting machine over the hardscape. This will ensure that the sand is fully settled deep inside each joint. Once compacted and hardened, they won't easily be washed away by rain and water coming from your hose or pressure washer.

Check out this polymeric sand on Amazon.

How Do You Install Pavers?

Construction of pavement. Worker puts paving

Now let's go through the entire installation process of concrete pavers. 

  1. Dig an area for your pavement. The depth will depend on its purpose and the climate in your area. If it's for regular foot traffic, it can be four inches deep, but if it's intended for vehicular traffic, make it six to ten inches deep. Add a couple of inches if you have a wet or cold climate since water can seep into the layers and weaken them.
  2. Compact the soil. Use a compactor for this so that the ground will be firm and even.
  3. Pour the stones or paving material that you've chosen for your base. You can use a rake to spread them evenly across the area.
  4. Compact the base. Again, use a compactor so that your base is even all throughout. This is important so that whatever you place on top of it is lying on a flat bed.
  5. Pour the concrete sand over the base. This will fill the spaces in between the gravel and make sure that your base stays in place.
  6. Compact the sand. You need to make sure that the bedding sand on top of your base is just about an inch thick so that it won't settle over time. 
  7. Screed the area. Shave off the high spots and fill in any void in the sublayers. Experts suggest that you also make way for a slight pitch or slope away from the house to prevent pooling and flooding.
  8. Put strings and stakes around the perimeter of your pavement. Check the measurements. You can use a framing square to ensure that the area is square if you're building a patio.
  9. Lay the concrete pavers following your chosen pattern. Put a little space in between them. Check to see if the paver is level and secure before you proceed to the next one.
  10. Place the edging. You can hammer down the stakes to be certain that they'll stay in place.
  11. Pour polymeric sand over the pavement joints. Use a broom to sweep them in between the spaces between the pavers.
  12. Water the polymeric sand. Use a hose to direct the water at the joints. This will activate the hardeners in the sand to secure everything in place.
  13. Give it time to cure. Do not step on the area for at least an hour.

There you go! Those are the steps for your concrete paver installation. You may opt to make it a DIY job if you have the skills for it, but it's always recommended to get a trusted contractor to do the job so that you can be sure about its quality.

Final Thoughts

Close up of the gloved hands of a builder laying outdoor paving slabs on a prepared base.

There should be a gap in between your concrete pavers, and they need to be filled with the appropriate paving material. This will ensure that they are secure in their place and won't shift over time.

If you're interested in reading more about pavers, take a look at these posts:

Are Concrete Pavers Slippery When Wet?

Can You Use Stone Dust Between Pavers?