Paver patio questions

lsumanMarch 17, 2008

Im new at building my backyard paver patio. I have a question on why to use paver base/ it necessary and why? I did small portion of a paver before with the base/sand but ended up becoming uneven anyway. Why can't I just set it on top of dirt?

Open to suggestions and comments

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karinl(BC Z8)

You don't give your zone, so your question is hard to answer.

What climate do you live in?

How big an area are you doing?

What kind of a slope are you working on?

Are you zealous about doing maintenance?


    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 3:27PM
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In louisiana,hot and humid.Plan on doing 10x10 area. Just need advice on how important the base is...why is it necessary?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 4:11AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Crap, you didn't answer all my questions. That means I either can't fully answer your question, or it means I have to type more. I've got lots of other typing to do today so I'll have to leave the issue of slope for you to figure out on your own.

OK, the main purpose of the base is to reduce frost heave and also to provide drainage. They are related... water collection means more frost effect. No freezing temps means you don't need the gravel base. You probably don't need the sand (in our climate, some freeze, we prefer to use the sand, though we skip the packed gravel).

If you've previously had sinkage of a patio you built with no frost, it is likely you didn't do the site prep well enough, specifically the compacting. No matter what is under the pavers, it needs to be compacted AND HELD IN PLACE (that's where slope can come in, but even without, you need edging). Ants can also create cavities underground that cause sinkage.

If you put the pavers just on dirt, you will have more problems with weed growth than if you have sand under, just because there is more good rooting medium just through those cracks. If you let them get big you won't get rid of them. It becomes more important to sweep often, weed regularly to keep weeds from getting a foothold (unless you like using poisons, in which case you're poisoning yourself, your choice).


    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 2:06PM
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The reason for the base is so that life doesn't mess up all the hard work you just did. Between people walking on it, moving heavy things over it, rain, drainage, roots, etc., the pavers move around unless you put them on top of something that won't move around. Or atlease move around more gradually!!!

We saw this play out on a side yard walkway. We used 18" square pavers. At first, we just laid them on the dirt. Not even a year later, they were all turned the wrong way and serious weed problems. Then, we tore it all up, dug down 2 inches and laid a very fine gravel base. It's been going strong for 3-4 years now.

It's a pain, but it's worth it. Just ask yourself how many times you want to redo this.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 11:35PM
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