What is a fair price for patio install?

xroxOctober 19, 2010

We live in Ontario Canada and we have received 4 quotes for a patio(pavers stone) and listed below is the installed price per square foot (cheapest to most expensive).





The contractor who quoted 18.00$ told us the going rate in ontario is 20-24$ per square foot and he was giving us a deal at 18$. He broke it down like this:

4$ for the stone

5$ for the dig

5$ for the fill

5$ for the level

5$ for the pavers install

- discount

I can't believe the going install rate is 4x the materials cost or more? Was he correct?

I know the 4.99 guy is going to be shady and I will avoid him but I'm not going to pay 4x the materials for install.

What do you think?

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It's impossible to evaluate a quote without seeing the site and knowing the particulars. When you say 4x the materials cost, are you including the crushed stone base, the bedding sand, the poly sand, the edge restraint, the spikes, the separation fabric, and the wasted pavers from cuts?

You got four quotes. Who has the best looking work?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 4:09PM
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Here in IL, my friend just had his patio installed. The rate is $9-$11 per square foot for complete patio. If removing the existing concrete step attached to the house and making it nice looking, additional $1000. If just putting pavers on existing concrete step, no additional cost. $500 for additional firepit. $300 for one pillar. $500 for sitting which looks like a low retaining wall.

The pavers are Unilock but just the simple pavers. Getting nicer pavers will increase the cost but not the labor.

So if you want 400 sqft paver patio with no firepit, no pillars, any shape, it would range from $4500-$5500. This includes everything. They don't make it complicated.

$18, wow, that is way to expensive!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 4:58PM
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I've looked at work done by all 4 contractors and they all look good. However, I was not surprised to learn the 4.99$ guy has a poor reputation. I like the job of the 11.50$ guy the most and he has a good reputation. I was just taken back by the 20-24$ number as the "going rate".

Nothing special about the job. Just a patio like every other patio in the area. If you need specifics about the soil type then it is red clay based as we live in Oakville. The contractor listed the "going rate" for each individual service (as I listed).

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:11PM
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Looking at your quotes, it would appear that there is no "going rate". But it looks like the average rate is $12-14 which is comparable to my area for basic pavers installed in a "normal" situation.

You had the experience of getting prices that did not come close to $24, so why would you conclude that this is the going rate?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:26PM
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Actually I did not conclude as such. That is why I've posted here. I wanted to know what the true "going rate" was or even if there was one.

The contractor I speak of suggested that anyone at a lower price than he is offering cannot make money if the job is done right and therefore must be cutting costs somewhere. He suggested we run away from anyone offering 11-12$ prices.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 6:21PM
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In your area, digging out to below frost line and filling with appropriate fill to prevent heaving would be a major expanse.

Here I can just drop slabs of sandstone on dirt and call it done.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 7:04PM
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There is no reason to dig below the frost line because it is a dry laid installation which is flexible.

Concrete flat work is also not dug down to the frost line. Expansion and control joints are used to prevent some cracks and "controlling" the location of others by creating weak lines in a designed crack in order to hide them. This is a moot point because it is a dry laid flexible installation.


$24 is an excessively high price for any concrete paver product patio installation. Certainly, there are higher end pavers that can cost quite a bit more than others for the material, but $24 is on the high side of a natural bluestone installation which is both more expensive as a material and more labor intensive to set.

If the guy can get $18 per square foot to install pavers, I have no problem with that. But if someone else is willing and able to do a quality installation at $11 per square foot, I have no problem with that. I also respect any consumer who balances their values of cost vs. quality within reason. Patios are a long term investment, so there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to saving money, but it never makes sense to over pay if there is nothing to be gained by throwing more money at someone.

My belief is that it never makes sense to deal with anyone that is not being honest with you. I said that I have no problem if the giy can get $19 per square foot, but I would only respect him if he could honestly tell me that he can charge that because his work and reputation have people willing to pay that much or that his overhead is high because of the craftsman that he has to pay. If telling you that the going rate is 30% more than his price when it is clearly not is a totally different story.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:59PM
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Thanks laag and everyone else. I will be accepting the offer from the 11.50$ contractor.

The total job cost will be ~ 12K$ for the following

56 foot retaining wall - armor stone
crushed gravel fill
drainage (weeping tile)
550sqft patio
4 stone steps

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:37AM
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What type of paver? The price changes when you choose a simple paver vs a beautiful paver.

I can't wait to see your new patio. I love retaining walls. Please post it when it's done. :)

I am also building my patio(you can see it on my thread in this forum). I'm almost complete but I still need to work on the firepit and sitting. My overall total cost for my patio/pergola project is roughly $2600-$2700. It's 630-650 sqft. However, it's me who did everything that's why I saved a lot of money. It ate up a lot of time though. Quite a lot! :)

I'm guessing that it will cost $3k final once I add the lighting and the pillars next year.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:58PM
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I took a look and love your design. Great job too.

The paver we chose is techo bloc blu 60 which is about 4$ per sqft.



2 Likes    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:35PM
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Those are nice pavers too! Mine has 5 different sizes

9.5 in x 9.5 in x 3.5 in
11.5 in x 9.5 in x 3.5 in
13.5 in x 9.5 in x 3.5 in
15.5 in x 9.5 in x 3.5 in
17.5 in x 9.5 in x 3.5 in

When are they going to start your patio project? Your patio is really going to look awesome!!! Share the pic to us please. :)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:11PM
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The price of a concrete 'anything' can vary wildly! I've been building and installing built in pools and spas for about 30 years. I know what bulk supply costs, what a concrete pumper costs, what each qualified laborer cost, etc. etc....

Here's a safe price guide for 2012 in middle Amaerica. Add 10% in the extreme West and subtract 10% for the rural America folks.

REGULAR flat work for between 600-1500SF:
$6/SF formed, placed and broom finished

ADDITIONS: Will be anything out of the norm. Like Color, Uneven grade, Reinforcement rod requirement, Stamping, on infinitude.

Suggestions: Don't be lazy and simply call too many contractors. That gets confusing for you, because they'll all tell you something different. AND, if the contractors know they are just one of many bids, it tends to set them off!
[1] Stop at working job sites in your area and politely and briefly inquire as to who is doing the concrete work. [It's listed on the permit checklist inside the job box, usually]
You can also call your local building department to make this same inquiry. They can not recommend, but they sure can tell you the name of a decent licensed contractor that they are familiar with.
[2] Call [2] people who are working directly in your neighborhood. Be very clear as to what you want from them first. Apples to Apples.

The above $6 figure is a good figure for comparison. It allows room for the contractor if he runs into some job difficulties, so that he doesn't have to come back to you with a request surprise for more money. It also weeds out the fly by night [maybe not quite legal] contractor who is low balling to get work!

Hope this helps some of you.

Watercolors Contracting CO

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I recently installed a 20 ft. x 12 ft. Unilock RAISED patio, (approx. 8 inches above ground) arch design, brussel pavers, limestone,with two retaining wall benches to seat four (I used my existing steps therefore no charge for steps).

The whole cost came to $5,200.
Any valuable comments on this will be appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:08PM
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I am late to the conversation, what one means is that industry standard pricing @ $24 per square foot is what the big companies charge, so the companies running crews with company trucks high waged experienced people doing the job for you. Strata layers are very important to building a secure patio that lasts forever, too often we have had to repair others works, 18 " of sand doesn't a base make. The basics are you want someone reputable, as an independent they dont have the overheads of the big companies, so they are typically less expensive. But too often when a customer states material costs are 4X as much as they are retail, there are all those extra costs that the other poster included. if you are gauging average pricing you are between $12 and $16 psf, but when you see commercial city projects bid on the costs run as high as $30 psf depending on all sorts of factors. Material costs can triple depending on the materials you wish to use. Some small contractors may be renting equipment, that is a higher cost. The best thing to do is to get a quote, meaning the price quoted say is the price you pay. Deal with someone reputable, insured and licensed. It's important for homeowners to save money on projects... but it can end up costing twice as much if the job is done wrong and too many guys with trucks call themselves experts...

1 Like    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Hi all, we are just finishing a 1500 sq ft paver project consisting of two patios, two walkways and an elevated stage area set in the larger of the two patios. In the beginning, a 1300 sq ft concrete patio slab and walkway had to be demo'ed before the excavation could begin that would lower ground level to the proper depth for four inches of road base. The pavers were made by Belgard and are the Lafitt Patio pattern (4.50 sq ft). The total project cost, including demo, excavation, road base, sand, edging, stakes, polymeric sand, and pavers is 15,500. I acted as the general and sub'ed out the demo, excavation, and installation to different local companies. We live in Laguna Beach, CA.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Here is a walkway pix.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:02PM
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Yay, Craigslist? Good lord that's cheap. I hope they address the two issues that jumped out at me right away.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Ha-ha, no, not Craigslist. Local subs who actually do the work for front companies. Yes, the walkway was under construction when the pix was taken. Since then, the issues I think you refer to have been addressed.

This post was edited by llblasi on Sun, Apr 28, 13 at 16:26

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 2:44PM
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DJSquire Designs

In Southern California, one of my 2D - 3D imaging clients, GoPavers.com, list the costs of pavers right on the website.

That should help a bit with hardscape and paving stone comparisons around the country.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paver Prices

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:32PM
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How does that help with comparisons around the country? I looked at the prices shown. You can't get a quality job on most of the east coast for anywhere near those prices.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 7:02PM
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DJSquire Designs


Because it always helps to know what quality installation contractors in other parts of the country are charging.

In Southern California there are *several* paver manufacturers to choose from... Belgard Sierra, Olsen Pavingstone, Orco Block, and Angelus Pavers. It may be that the "heated" level of competition in SoCal drops the costs relative to other regional paver manufacturers country-wide.

As you may also be aware shipping costs of pallets at any distance, increases costs.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 7:20PM
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I know of a company, Sugarlandpatio.com, but it offers their patio services mainly in Sugarland and surrounding areas.Their prices are much lower than what you have highlighted above.However, bear in mind that some process like digging can be a challenge and require a lot of labor which is why they are expensive. You would rather pay for quality services at the end of the day.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sugarland outdoor patios

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 6:23AM
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There are so many factors to consider when estimating the cost of a paver patio (location, accessibility, soil conditions, time of year, ect.) Although theres no exact cost per square foot factor you can use, the estimates below should be helpful. These prices do not include the cost of pavers and assume your hiring a quality masonry/hardscape contractor.

10 to 100 square feet: $25.00 per square foot
101 to 300 square feet: $20.00 per square foot
301+ square feet: $15.00 per square foot

Here is a link that might be useful: Paver Patio Cost

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Hello xrox and everyone else,

I'm also in Ontario and thought I'd put the feelers out if anyone can recommend reputable installers in the Hamilton area.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:29AM
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