Paver Installation & Maintenance
Easy Installation of Interlocking Pavers?Interlocking paving systems are laid on a bed of sand and the joints are stabilized with the use of sand particles. The sand not only stabilizes the interlocking pavers, but also allows them some flexibility and movement. This will inevitably prevent cracks from heavy use or harsh weather conditions.
Interlocking Pavers Installation TIPSince a few pavers might need replaced years down the road it is sometimes useful to place a few pavers in an area near to your paver installation so that they wear and age with the other pavers. Then if you do need to replace a paver in your installation you have one right there.
Planning and LayoutPlanning your paved area is your first step. The patio or driveway must be allocated the correct amount of floor space. Decide where your pavers will go and if there is enough space for them. Your plan can be drawn out and measured onto graph paper. Now you are ready to layout your plan. Using a hose or some wood, form the outline of your paved area. Then mark or spray paint your outline, approximately eight inches outside that outline.
Also remember to consider that the area needs to have gradient or slope, so as water can runoff the pavers to prevent pooling, which could damage the pavement over the long term.
Calculating Amount of Pavers NeededFirst, measure the width and the length of the area to be paved. Then you multiply the width and the length together, which will give you the area to be paved, either in square meters or square feet.
Now you should always add 5% to this figure, this is to cover the pavers that will be cut to fit curves and odd spaces. If you feel that you will be cutting a lot of pavers, you should add 10%.
You will now know how many square feet of pavers you need to complete your area.
ExcavationEstablish the height that the pavers should reach and not exceed.
Remember: the slab should slope downwards away from the house, to allow water drainage. Every 4 feet, you should go down one inch.
Place stakes around the parameter and mark stakes with slope decline.
Place string tightly on stakes, to indicate the height level to follow.
Calculate the total depth of excavation needed. Do this by adding together the inches required for the base, the sand bedding and the pavers thickness. This will give you the total depth at which you should excavate.
Now you can dig out to this depth, and afterwards compact the ground with a compacting machine.
Base MaterialOnce the excavation is complete, the next step is the laying of the base material.
The base material usually consists of crushed stones, such as; limestone or gravel. The crushed stone should have varying sized stones and sharp edges. This is important when compacting the base material, the sharp edges and size variance makes for easy compaction. It is also recommended to use crushed stone that has a little moisture in it, for it will compact together much easier.
The base material should be laid in a thickness, depending upon your sub-base material. If your sub-base is soft clay, then a thicker layer will be required. Just so your base is strong and will make a good foundation.
Now spread the crushed stone over the area in an even layer. It is suggested that you divide it into three smaller layers, and compact in between each layer, for best results. Once its spread evenly, use a compacting machine, to go over the area several times, in a circular motion.
Edge RestraintsEdging is essential in the maintenance of your paved area. If edge restraints are not implemented, your pavers may move and separate. Harsh weather and high traffic usage, along with no edge restraints, will ruin your paved surface. Edge restraints can be made of plastic, pre-cast concrete, steel and aluminum.
Sand BeddingIt is time now for the sand to be laid over your base material. This next layer provides the pavers with bedding to set into. The sand bedding will also protect your sand joints from being eroded away.
Spread a layer of sand between one and one and a half inches thick. This layer can not be too thick. It has to be just enough sand to set the pavers into, but not too much so that the sand sinks into the base material.
It is also important to use the right type of sand, one that has the same consistency as your base material. The sand has to be sharp edged and varied in sizes; this will result in greater compaction.
Laying PaversNow you have reached the easy part of the installation process.
Lay the pavers in the pattern and design of your choice. Lay them quite close together. If pavers need to be cut to size, use a saw or mechanical splitter and safety glasses.
Now that all the pavers are laid, use a mechanical compactor to help set in the pavers, into the sand bedding.
Sand JointsThis step involves sweeping sand over the surface, while filling up the joints.
It is important to use fine grained sand, rather than a coarse one. The reason for this is that fine sand will compact much better and fill up joints quicker. However, if the sand is too fine, it will not do the job correctly. This will also be the case if the sand is moist, so be sure to use dry sand.
SealingFirst, clean and sweep the newly paved area, in order to remove all materials and debris.
Seal the area with a sand binding sealant, this will ensure that the joint sand will not disappear. This will also prevent the growth of vegetation between the joints.
Sealing your pavers can also help prevent stains from oil, grease, grime, rust, moss, algae, tire markings and day to day spills. The sealant allows you to clean such stains with greater ease.
Sealing your pavers will also improve the brightness of their appearance and sustain it over a long period of time. Not only appearance, but the durability and longevity of your pavers will increase significantly.
MaintenanceMaintenance is not really an issue when it comes to pavers, if they have been laid properly. The overall function and use of your paved surfaces should be stable.
Re-sealing your pavers may be necessary on a regular basis, just to maintain color and appearance. Also, it will help protect your pavers against stains, algae and loss of joint sand.
Regular cleaning and sweeping of your pavers is highly recommended. This is particularly needed if your pavers are in shaded or damp areas, where they are prone to efflorescence (chalky salt deposits) and moss build-up.
There are large ranges of cleaning products available on the market; there is something for all types of situations.