Before embarking on concrete pavers installation, choosing a path or drive must be done. When choosing material for a path, take into account the amount of wear it is likely to get, as well as the appearance – whether it will blend with the house exterior and garden surroundings. Consider also the amount of work that will be involved in laying the material. In general, the cheapest materials are those that are quickest and easiest to lay, but it is worth shopping around to assess the keenest prices.
So after this should you start learning concrete pavers installation now? Not just yet. You must also decide on the proportions of ingredients. The strength of concrete varies with the ingredient proportions. Choose the right mix for the job. The amount of concrete produced from one bag of cement varies with the type of mix. With any mix, the quality of the concrete produced goes down if you add more water than the amount essential to compact it fully, using a generous amount of effort. For example, in areas prone to heavy frosts, ready-mixed concrete is preferable to home-mixed because it can be air entrained a process which traps microscopic air bubbles to prevent the flaking or cracking caused by frost, especially when de-icing salts are carried in from the road. Home-mixed paving cannot be air entrained although its high cement content gives some weather protection.
What are the tools to be used on concrete paver installation? There is the mixing platform, which is useful if you have no clean, firm surface on which to mix concrete. To make one, use either boards nailed to cross battens or a sheet of 12 mm thick plywood. A good size is 1.8 square mm, ideally with a 25 mm lip all round to stop concrete spilling off. For small batches, use oil-tempered hardboard or a wheelbarrow. Wash down within two hours of use. Another tool is the concrete mixer. Most types will mix a load of concrete, and help on concrete pavers installation, in about three minutes. It may be electric or petrol-driven. Other tools include tamping beam, wheelbarrow, shovels, buckets and rake, and surface-finishing tools such as a wood float.
To start installing a concrete paver, position a hardboard filler strip inside the formwork across the width. Support the filler strip on the outside of the first bay to be concreted, using the piece of timber held in position with pegs. Concrete the bay right up to the hardboard filler, then concrete about 300 mm into the second bay. When finishing the concrete surface, use an arising tool on each side of the filler strip. Then pour batches of concrete into the first bay to be laid. Then do the finishing touches as necessary.
Utility Service Inspection
Before any work starts have the utility company check for underground pipes and wires. Stake out location and depth of pipes and wires.
Removal of the existing pavement, turf, or existing soil to the proper depth. The proper depth will be finish surface, less paver thickness, setting bed depth, and base material. The amount of base material is often determined by a soil engineer and depends on the propensity of the soil to expand, saturate, or hold water. (Which would then cause the pavers to move.) Base thickness normally ranges from 6-inches to 12-inches. A base for vehicular traffic is typically 10-inches to 12-inches. In extreme soil or other conditions, the base can be up to 18-inches deep.
Note: Conditions are substantially different on the East Coast versus the West Coast. On the West many jobs are done with 4-6″ base material. It is critical you learn what works best in your area. Soils engineers can provide guidance in this area.
After the grade is down to the proper level (see “Excavation” above), and before the geotextile fabric is installed, the subgrade must be compacted.
If the subgrade is clay, compaction must be done with a roller or rammer so the subgrade is fully compacted. If sandy soils, a vibraplate is often sufficient for subgrade compaction.
Install “Geotextile Fabric”
In moist or wet areas, and where the soil is expansive, geotextile fabric should be installed to separate (and keep separated) virgin soil from the base.
Install Base Material
Base material is installed in “lifts” no more than 4-inches at a time. A compactor is used to compact the material. The base material itself should be a granular type that compacts easily
Install Edge Restraints
The border “edge restraints” are now laid on the base material and secured with steel spikes which hold the edge restraints in place. Edge restraints are an important part of interlocking concrete pavements. By providing lateral resistance to loads, they maintain continuity and interlock among the paving units.
Spread the Setting Bed
A 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch setting bed is spread on top of the compacted base material. Concrete sand, coarse washed concrete sand, or granite stone dust can be used.
Pavers are installed in the desired pattern. Concrete pavers installation should be taken from several pallets or bundles at a time to assure an even color mix..
Compacting and Sweeping
Spread and sweep sand over the top of the pavers. Then the compactor is used over the top of the pavers. The sand will vibrate from below and above into the joints. Add more sand on top and continue the process – which will make for a solid paver surface.
Sealing will accentuate the paver colors and help protect them from staining. Sealing does require reapplication periodically.