Do pavers need to be mortared into place?
No mortar is needed to install concrete pavers. It is recommended that you use course granular sand, which will bind the pavers together with a friction joint. This sand is swept into the joints and compacted to achieve the proper installation.
Where can I get a plate compactor and what do I need it for?
Just about any equipment rental yard will have a plate compactor usually renting for about $45-$60. One of the final steps in completing your paver project is running a plate compactor over the top of your paving stones. Simply put, this helps lock your pavers into place. The compactor helps seed your pavers down into your base sand evenly (they will drop approximately 1/4") and also helps to vibrate your joint sand down to fill the entire joint - securely locking the paver into place. There is no better tool for compacting your sub-base after you have tilled your Portland cement into your soil. This is a big time saver from which you can reallyget your money's worth.
What type of sand do I need to use between my pavers?
Use a sharp course river washed sand or sharp sand with multi-sized grains. The course sand will bind together when you go over the pavers with the compactor. This will make the joints between the paver solid and prevent moisture from getting under the pavers. The problem with using fine sand is that it will wash out easily and not create a locking friction joint between the pavers.
Why do you recommend that I till in dry Portland cement into the ground before putting my one inch bed of sand down on a paver project?
By tilling dry Portland into the ground 4 to 5 inches, compacting and moistening it, you are creating a strong sub-base that will resist ground movement and keep your project looking great for years to come. This process is only recommended if you have sandy type soils. If you have the clay type of soils it is recommended that you excavate enough material out to put down 4 to 6 inches of crushed limestone or road base material and compact it before you screed your 1 inch of bedding sand. On paver projects, the base preparation is the most important part, so take a little extra time and effort on your base to make your project look great.
Wouldn't the patio be stronger if I added cement into the cracks?
Actually, one of the benefits of using sand is that it allows the patio to flex with ground movement. When you place cement between the cracks of anything it becomes a single ridge slab that will crack due to ground movement. Also, if you had spilled cement over onto your pavers and didn't clean it off right away, it could permanently stain your pavers. So you would be sacrificing the flexibility and longevity of a mortarless system by placing cement between the pavers plus the possibility of staining them.
Can you place concrete pavers over an existing concrete patio?
Yes you can, in fact your existing concrete slab will be an excellent base, provided it is in good condition. You still need an edge restraint to keep the pavers from spreading or you can mortar a soldier course border around the perimeter of your existing slab. Then set the main field of pavers on a regular sand bed.
What about water drainage off my patio?
Water actually runs off the surface of the pavers as if it were a solid slab; very little water drains into the sand. It is important to consider slope when planning your patio. A 1 inch drop for every 8 ft. to 12 ft. Of run should be sufficient.
How do I control weeds and grass from coming up in my paver patio and walkways?
For the most part, if the pavers were installed properly and a compactor was used on the pavers to lock them into place, you have cut off much of the growing environment. There will still be times when seeds can blow in and start growing in the sand between the cracks. When this happens you can usually pull them out very easily or spray them with a weed killer and then remove them.
Do concrete pavers stain?
There is no way that we can prevent oil from dripping on concrete pavers but because of the fact that they are more dense than regular poured concrete they will be easier to clean if the stain is cleaned soon after it happens. If you are working around your paver patio, walkway, or driveway with paint, cement, or mortar and should accidentally spill this on your paver surface, you should clean it off right away before it has a chance to dry or it will stain your pavers. If cleaning of stained pavers is not possible, you will be able to remove the pieces that are stained and replace them without needing to sawcut and leave a scar in your paving.
Does the water drain through the sand around the pavers?
No, the water does not drain through the sand around the pavers. If they are installed properly, you will only get a little bit of seepage for the first few weeks but after that the silts and dust in the air will seal that off entirely. So you need to build in a natural slope to your paver project for water run off. Typically it is recommended that you allow for a slope of 1 inch for every 8 to 12 feet of paving away from your home. This should be enough slope to carry the water off naturally.
Can I use concrete pavers near a tree? Will it hurt the tree?
On an established tree, if you're not raising the soils around the tree by any more than a couple of inches, it shouldn't hurt the tree. Well established trees normally get their water from underground sources. Solid poured concrete can actually suffocate a tree by not letting the roots breath but using concrete pavers allows the transfer of air to the tree. Do not pave over the dripline of a newly planted tree.
How hot are concrete pavers if I use them around a pool as a pool deck?
Concrete pavers won't be as cool as a cool deck, but it will be the next coolest thing that can be used instead of cool deck. In fact cool deck isn't as cool as it used to be because of the requirement to remove the asbestos used to give it some of its coolness. Concrete pavers, being individual pieces won't build up heat like a solid sheet of concrete and the heat will tend to dissipate between each stone making pavers a cool product to use around a pool. One cool tip is to always use light colors for a pool deck.