Pavers for Patios

October 4, 2011
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Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when building your paver patio.

Tip 1: Pave the way to long-term savings by using pavers.

Your options for an outside area are vast, but if you want the best value with the lowest maintenance, a paver patio is the way to go. While it may cost more up front, the savings over having to stain and seal it year after year will pay for itself in the long run.

Tip 2: Make sure to dig enough ground to provide stability.

You will need to dig at least 6 inches under the surface to prepare the ground below so the pavers won’t shift over time.

Tip 3: Make sure to block out the weeds.

Weeds have a way of springing up even between pavers. Lay down a barrier to help stifle their growth and if they are a notorious problem, you may want to consider a soil additive.

Tip 4: You need to use a plate to pack the base.

Pavers for patios are only as good as the foundation they’re built on. Packing the soil underneath helps ensure a smooth top surface and less chance of the pavers loosening or cracking. But don’t stop there: You have to repack the base after every new tier (sand, gravel, etc.).

Tip 5: Be careful NOT to guide water runoff into your home.

Flat surfaces on the outside of your home have the same properties as your roof; it’s going to wash toward the lowest point. If your paver patio is attached to or close to your house you will need to guide water runoff away from the home by creating a drop. For every two feet of linear distance, a quarter-inch drop will suffice in keeping your home dry.

Tip 6: A solid paver patio should have a tight edge.

Your finished paver patio should be a tight, level and evenly spaced patio; any movement will separate your pavers and ruin your hard work. Prevent this from happening by building an edge around your work. You can use extra pavers, a cement lip, or a vinyl or metal edging. After these are installed, backfill to the edge with loose dirt to give the patio a professional appeal.

Tip 7: Use a variety of colored pavers to create an organic look.

When it comes to color uniformity, pavers can be treated the same as paint, carpeting and wallpaper: different lots or runs can appear similar, but slight color shading variations are almost always present. Blend the separate piles together and achieve a more natural look, without a patchy appearance.

Tip 8: Use a wet saw to make cuts.

Unless you’ve made your patio a complete rectangle, you are going to have to make cuts. Rent a wet saw from your local home improvement store to easily cut your pavers for patio to fit your design.

Tip 9: Use sand to fill in the spaces between the pavers.

After your patio pavers have been installed, spread sand along the surface, and sweep it into the cracks all around. This allows drainage but keeps each paver tightly wrapped with material, making it far more difficult to move them out of place.

Tip 10: How to replace a broken paver.

It’s always good to have a few extra pavers lying around for the occasional repair. A paver patio is relatively simple to fix. Use two screwdrivers to pry out the old paver. Cut a new paver 1/8 inch shorter than the old paver. Set it in the space. If it doesn’t fit, keep trimming and then fill with sand.