Paver Installation Mistakes to Avoid
Homeowners who love and enjoy their gardens and yards are of 2 types – those who find it best to leave the design, upkeep and landscape maintenance to a professional landscape company and those who enjoy getting their hands dirty and do things themselves. There is nothing wrong with either approach, but there are some projects that, unless you are a landscaping expert, are better left to the professionals. One of them is paver installation. Many people think that this is a simple job – all you need to do is create an even surface, prepare the base and lay the pavers. If only it were that simple. There is much more to the job and making mistakes that could ruin the end result is very easy. To help you avoid these errors, in case you are planning to do the work yourself, here are a few common mistakes that you must avoid.
The Wrong Base
Many people think a layer of dirt is all that is needed to make a backfill. Wrong. Dirt, after it is compacted, will shrink by around 30%. That will soon cause problems. If your backfill is 10 inches of dirt, it will in a short time settle by around 7 inches. That by itself is bad enough, but besides having a sunken walkway, the surface will be uneven because the dirt will not sink evenly all over – the surface will become bumpy and unsafe. To ensure that there is no sinking and the surface is smooth and even, a gravel base must be laid on top of the dirt.
A Shallow Base
Not making the base deep enough is another common error. It involves a lot of digging, but to have a smooth and firm walkway, the gravel should be at least 4 inches for foot traffic areas and 6 to 10 inches for heavy traffic driveways. If you live in a cold climate or an area where there is a lot of rain, add another 2 to 4 inches to the gravel base.
Also Read: What Are the Common Driveway Paving Options? Do You Have the Right One for Your Home?
The gravel base must be completely flat and firmly in place or the pavers will be at varying levels – some raised and some sunken. This will not only make walking difficult, but it is also dangerous and it could cause falls which could leave you open to liability claims from the injured. Using a steel tamper is the right way to do the leveling.
Improper Bedding Sand Installation
Bedding sand has 2 jobs. One is to hold the pavers firmly in place and the second is to even out any minor unevenness in the gravel base. If the sand is not laid down properly, the pavers will either settle unevenly or will become wobbly. Too little sand and the pavers will shift. Too much sand and the pavers will sink.
Not Aligning the Pavers
Minor misalignments that are not easy to notice may not seem like a major problem, but the slight almost unnoticeable misalignment will grow over time and the gaps and unevenness of the pavers will grow more visible.
Installing pavers yourself is not impossible, but it is a tough, time-consuming job and any mistakes you make may only appear once the paving is completed. This will mean that you have to dig it all up and start all over again. Be it in terms of your own convenience, time saved or cost, it does make a lot of sense to get your paver installation done by a professional landscaping company.
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