Tired of poured concrete for a driveway or pathway? Brick pavers may be an excellent option! With a little planning and some work, you can end up with a durable and beautiful addition to your home. Below are the easy steps to installing brick pavers for most any outdoor project.
Step One: Draft a plan! Sketch out what you envision your project to look like when it is done.
Step Two: Look at similar projects! Search online for what you like as well as what you don’t like. Visit stores that sell brick pavers. Go to home shows. Take pictures!
Step Three: Now, go back to your draft plan and measure out the space accurately. If you are installing brick pavers in a location that is known to hold water, you will need to account for drainage. A good rule of thumb is to create a slope of at least 1/8” per linear foot at a minimum. Most contractors recommend a slope of ¼” per linear foot.
Step Four: Mark the area where you will be installing your pavers with paint or with stakes and string. Depending upon where your project is located, you may need to find out if there are any utilities located in that space under ground. Call 811 or your local area dig line. Your local utilities will come out and mark the location of any electrical, cable, water, or other under ground utilities so that you do not dig them up or cut them.
Step Five: Purchase the brick pavers. Measure the square footage of your project to calculate how many pavers you will need. Then, purchase an addition 5% just in case you incorrectly measure and/or some of the pavers get broken or chipped. Some designs, such as those that are not simply square or rectangular but have various curves, may require you to purchase 10% more brick pavers than you need. Various curves or other shapes will require you to cut pavers accordingly.
Step Six: Have the pavers delivered. Pavers are extremely heavy and it is just easier to have them delivered rather than loading and unloading them onto a truck yourself. You will need to add the delivery fee into your budget.
Step Seven: This step will take a little doing, calculation, and some patience. You will need to construct the slope so that water does not pool on the pavers. Begin with the area closest to your home. Find the high point where the pavers will meet the house, such as near a door. Place a stake at that high point and mark that high point with a string.
Next, place a stake at the lowest point of your area. This is most likely the end boundary of the area. Place a string on this stake and make sure it is level with the string on the highest point.
Starting at the highest point, measure one linear foot and lower the string 1/8”. Put a stake in the ground at that point and mark the stake (with paint). Repeat the process measuring and adding stakes until you are at the boundary of your project. If you find this part of the process too tedious, hire an experienced surveyor to measure and mark the slope.
Step Eight: Now you are ready to start digging! Read the brick paver manufacturer’s instructions to determine how deep you will need to dig. Brick paving projects require a base plus a sand layer and then the pavers. You will need to calculate all of these to find out how deep you will need to dig. For example, you might have 6” of base material, then 1” of sand, and then the height of the pavers. Another very important item is to make sure that you dig 6” to 12” beyond the boundaries of your project so that you can install the edges properly. Don’t forget to follow the depth to include the slope.
Step Nine: Once you have dug the space to the proper depth, take a hand or motorized tamper (you can rent one at a local equipment rental store) and tamp down the surface of the ground so that it is smooth and level and follows the slope.
Step Ten: Add the base material. Read the manufacturer’s instructions as to what type of base to purchase. Most times the base is crushed stone. You will need to tamp down the crushed stone, too. Add the base beyond the boundaries as well.
Step Eleven: At this point you will add edge restraints around the edges of your project. These will hold the pavers in place for years to come. Most edge restraints are made from aluminum, steel, or heavy plastic and are secured with stakes pounded into the ground.
Step Twelve: Now you will add the sand. Read the manufacturer’s instructions as to how deep the sand layer needs to be. You may want to add weed barrier fabric before you put down the sand.
Step Thirteen: It’s finally time to install the pavers! Again, read the manufacturer’s directions on how best to install the pavers. Take your time. Keep a level handy to check your work every few feet. Pavers should be placed side-by-side, very closely. During installation, do not walk on the sand that you just laid down. Stay on the pavers that you have just installed.
Step Fourteen: When all of the pavers are in place, take a plate compactor (again, you can rent this from a local equipment store) and tamp the pavers down into the sand.
Step Fifteen: Next, you will need to fill in any spaces between the pavers by taking the sand used in the sand layer, spreading it over the pavers, then, using a large push broom, push the sand into the cracks with diagonal strokes. The sand must be completely dry at this step in the process.
Step Sixteen: Finally, and, again, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, add a sealing product to seal the pavers.
You have just completed a project that you will be able to enjoy for many years to come as well as a project that adds value to your home.