Installing concrete pavers..

Design tips-concrete pavers.

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 Installing concrete pavers

 

Concrete pavers resemble brick in their versatility and installation. Once made only as gray squares, they are now manufactured in a variety of shapes and colors. In fact, rectangular concrete pavers are used less now than other shapes, circles, chamfered squares, diamonds, hexagons, octagons and more.

Textures also abound from smooth to stamped to aggregate surfaces. Colors come in a narrow range, typically reminiscent of brick reds, brown and tan earth tones, but also in blacks, grays, and off whites. Some concrete pavers look remarkably like brick, stone, adobe, marble or cobblestone.

Look carefully at the depth of the color and avoid concrete pavers with color that looks shallow. Colors applied just to the surface can wear off quickly.

Concrete pavers are manufactured from dense, pressure formed, cast concrete. They are cured unlike bricks which are made from fired clay. They are as durable as brick but lighter in weight and less costly. Many are thinner too starting at about 1 ½ inches and running up to the size of brick 2 ½ inches and larger. You’ll find larger rectangles about 4-6 inches and up to about 9 inches.

Concrete pavers come in different categories base on how they are designed to be installed. Interlocking pavers resist lateral movement because their sides contoured more than four sided, S-shaped or crescents fit together to keep the units stable. They’ll stay in place even under heavy use and dramatic changes in the weather. Manufactured corner and end pieces don’t need cutting. Standard concrete pavers are rectangular and not as stable as the interlocking variety. They may shift over time, especially if your pathway gets hard use or is set in poorly draining soil.

 

 

 

Design tips-concrete pavers

 

Because of their regularity many concrete pavers look best in formal design schemes. The  pavers itself creates the pattern. Pay close attention to the scale when you make your dimensioned plan. A small paver can make any path look busy. Large concrete pavers take less time to set because each unit covers more area but don’t let their size overwhelm the width of your installation. In the planning stages if you sense that your design will look too busy use larger pavers or consider spacing them farther apart. You can reduce the busy look by planting in the gaps.

 

                  Tools needed to install concrete pavers

 

·         Stakes, mason’s line, 4 foot level

·         Wheelbarrow

·         Round and square nose shovels or spades.

·         Garden rake

·         Tamper

·         Saw, for cutting drain pipe

·         Scissors, for cutting landscape fabric.

·         Tape measure

·         Hammer

·         Garden hose.

 

Installing concrete pavers

Precast pavers are made for the do-it-yourselfers. Uniform shapes and repeating patterns make layout and design decisions easy. Interlocking edges make pavers perfect for sand bed projects and uniform sizes make them easy to estimate. Easy-to-install performed plastic edging keeps them in place and isn’t visible after backfilling.

 

 

 

 

Setting precast pavers

 

Like other materials pavers need a well-drained base and level sand bed.

Build the base for your precast pavers

1. Lay out the path. If you’re using plastic edging be sure to include its width in the layout and allow enough room to drive the anchor pins into the soil. Excavate to a depth that will accommodate the materials and leave the paving about ½ inch above grade. Add 4 to 6 inches of gravel, depending on how well your soil drains. Level and tamp the gravel. Cut landscape fabric and lay it on the gravel. Install any other type of edging on the fabric.

 

Lay the sand bed for the precast pavers

2. Shovel in and spread about 2 inches of washed sand. Dampen the sand screed it level, and tamp it.

 

Setting the precast pavers or concrete pavers

3. Pavers must be set precisely and interlocking edges on many styles make this easy. Some have integral lugs that keep the pavers aligned and spaced.

Starting in a corner, lay the first pavers snugly against the edging. Tap each block with a rubber mallet to set it firmly into the sand. Push the next rows of pavers against each other, spacing un-lugged pavers with 1/8 inch plywood strips. As you lay the pavers work in two directions to keep your design from shifting to either side. Every few courses, lay a carpenter’s level or a long straight 2-4 across the surface to make sure the pavers are at a consistent height.

It’s almost impossible to avoid high and low spots. To adjust pavers, remove several from the area, remove or add sand as necessary and reset the pavers. It’s best to check the surface as you set each row because pavers fit tightly and can be difficult to remove. To remove a stubborn paver, pry it from opposite sides at the same time with two straight screwdrivers gripping the sides about ¼ inch below the surface.

 

 

                            Cutting precast pavers or concrete pavers

 

1.     Precast pavers are made of concrete and concrete won’t fracture cleanly like brick. Use a masonry saw to cut pavers.

2.     Filling the gaps between the interlocking pavers

3.     Fill joints in the path with sand. You can fill them in sections or wait until you complete the entire path. Shovel sand between the joints, brushing it with a push broom.  When it nearly fills the joint, dampen it. Top off the joints by sweeping in more sand from all directions, leaving it about 1/8 inch below the surface or at the bottom of the chamfer on chamfered pavers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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