LEARN FROM THE PROS: OUR NINE PAVER PATIO TIPS
While hardscaping is not something most homeowners should take on without a professional hardscaping contractor, for those who have some skills and a real DIY ethic, it’s important to understand a bit more about the process to achieve professional results when installing a paver patio.
Here at Bayside Pavers, we’ve been providing San Francisco Bay Area homeowners with high-quality hardscape since 2009. While we always recommend working with a professional hardscape contractor, we’ve come up with these nine tips to help Oakland, CA homeowners achieve professional results. Even if you’re planning on installing your patio yourself, remember Bayside carries a wide variety of paver choices from the top manufacturers in the industry.
1. ALWAYS HAVE EXTRA PAVERS
While pavers are durable, and when properly installed can literally last a lifetime, occasionally you will experience damage. Whether it’s during the cutting process, or through simple wear and tear, pavers can get broken. That’s why it’s important to always have extra material on hand so you can quickly replace and damaged ones.
If you do have damage and need to remove a cracked patio paver, you can use a pry bar to remove the damaged paver, then simply replace the broken one and you’re good to go. If you don’t have a pry bar, you can use two flathead screwdrivers. Just wedge them into the seam on one side of the damaged paver, and push down on the handles. This should free the damaged tile.
2. MAKE SURE YOU COMPACT THE SAND BASE SUFFICIENTLY
Sand is used as the final layer of the base before the tiles are applied. The sand granules build up in the crevices between stones and help to keep the pavers in place. This layer should be repeatedly compacted until water does not wash the sand away. The compaction makes sure that your pavers will stay in place, and it also allows the surface to properly drain.
Dense well compacted sand when combined with a weed barrier, is a great way to prevent weeds from growing between the stones.
3. KEEP YOUR EDGE!
No matter what design you choose for your patio, you want it to look perfect. To create some of the more complex patterns, you may be required to cut the stones, sometimes making multiple cuts. While you can use a cold chisel to do this, you may want to consider renting a wet saw. It’s not prohibitively expensive, and in the end, this rental can save you a lot of time and reduce the amount of material.
4. BE AWARE OF COLOR VARIATIONS
While some concrete pavers are uniform in color and appearance, many natural, concrete and even brick pavers used in patio paving will show variations in color. These slight differences can help you to create a more fluid design. A perfectly uniform color can create a checkerboard appearance. It’s best to avoid this and choose materials that offer a pleasant color variation for a more natural look.
5. CREATE AN EDGE FOR PATIO PAVER STABILITY
No matter how compact the sand base, without a stable edge, patio pavers will naturally slip and shift as the settle and with changes in the weather. This is why it’s important to set a very stable permanent edge. Whether you choose to use a steel edge or incorporate a brick edge into your design, this can save you a lot of stress later, when you don’t have to redo everything.
Borders are especially important in climates that experience a lot of rain or an intense rainy season. Whether the pavers you choose are solid, like a porcelain paver, or porous, all pavers are subject to the changes in weather.
6. DON’T FORGET TO ALLOW FOR DRAINAGE
This is where a professional can help. Drainage is the most important aspect of installing a patio. If it’s installed improperly and the patio is close to the house, during heavy rain you can experience flooding inside your home. You need to plan ahead. When you create a level foundation to install your patio paver stones, make sure it slopes away from the house. Experts recommend a drop of about 1/4” every two feet.
7. PROPERLY COMPACT EVERYTHING!
Along with drainage, proper compaction of each layer of your patio foundation is critical. An improperly compacted base can cause stones to become uneven as they settle. While you can use a hand tamper to compact the stone and sand layers, by renting a Wacker plate compactor you’ll ensure a level, stable, properly compacted base for your patio.
8. BLOCK THE WEEDS
Nothing is worse than laying the perfect patio, only to go out in the spring and see weeds coming up through the gaps in the stone. While you can pick them out, they will keep coming back. Today, thanks to advances in agricultural technology, weeds can be eliminated through the use of chemicals, which while effective, are not environmentally friendly.
A better option is to plan ahead when installing your patio. Adding a layer of landscaping cloth before building your patio foundation can create a great barrier for unwanted weeds. When planning for materials, add about 10% to your square footage estimate to allow for variations in topography when using landscaping cloth.
9. DIG YOUR FOUNDATION DEEP!
To get a perfect end result, digging a slightly deeper foundation can really help. The goal is to get below the root level of any vegetation. If you can get about six inches below the root level, you can rest assured that you’ll have little problems with weeds later.
If you are planning on taking this advice, make sure to contact your local utility and cable companies and ask about their “Dig Safe” program. They will send someone out to check for any lines in the area and will use spray paint to mark areas where lines are running. Having this information before you start can save you a lot of time, and potential expense later!
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR NEED PAVER PATIO MATERIALS, CONTACT THE EXPERTS AT BAYSIDE PAVERS
Here at Bayside Pavers, we’ve been providing San Francisco Bay Area homeowners with high-quality hardscape and high-quality materials since 2009. Our professional crews are known for their highly skilled craftsmanship and top quality work. We’ve built our reputation by completing our projects on time and we warranty our work for a full 5-years.
Whether you’re looking to add curb appeal, value, or add pavers to your residence or business, we’re always happy to talk to you. We offer a free consultation to provide you with cost-effective solutions for achieving your creative vision, whether it’s a patio, courtyard, retaining wall, driveway, or any hardscaping project.
If you’d like to learn more, and you live in the greater San Francisco Bay area, visit one of two locations.