Advice on how to lay pavers is easily found (in fact, you can check out our handy guide here and almost anyone is able to lay pavers successfully with a little bit of instruction. However, it’s the little tricks that the professionals know that make all the difference. Here are some professional concrete paver installation tricks and tips that will make your outdoor area look – and function – like a dream.
Order all in one batch
It’s best to order all the concrete pavers you need in one hit. This is due to the fact that colours may vary from batch to batch due to natural variations in the materials and weather conditions during the paver-making process. To make sure you don’t need to order any extra pavers that may end up looking different, order 5% more pavers than you think you need. This will allow for any mishaps during installation and give you a few spares to repair any future issues.
Store correctly before you lay
Don’t be tempted to unpack your shiny new pavers too early – leave them securely wrapped up until the day you plan to install them. Particularly refrain from stacking them in “star-stacks” for any length of time, as this will cause the corners exposed to the air to lighten up in comparison to the rest of the paver. This odd effect is probably not the look you are going for, so make sure you unwrap them and expose them to the air evenly on the day you lay them.
Blend multiple pallets
If you have ordered multiple pallets of concrete pavers, make sure you blend them from a variety of pallets as you install them. The colours will naturally vary a little from pallet to pallet, so mixing them in ensures they look cohesive and well-blended.
Slope your pavers away from the house
Water doesn’t pool and puddle on paving stones like it does on other surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. Thus, you always need to ensure that your pavers fall on a slight angle away from the house or structural foundation. This only needs to be slight – a quarter of an inch decline for every two feet of pavers is usually enough to ensure good drainage.
Stay away from using crusher dust or dirt as bedding
These materials are prone to moving and sinking, and don’t drain particularly well, which will lead to uneven and unstable pavers. As well, crusher dust contains fine materials that will migrate through the pavers and stain them. Use a solid base layer such as gravel or road base for the best results and longevity.
Establish paving lines with string
To keep the joints straight and give a neat and professional look, use string lines at right angles to establish the lines of paving. Take a step back every now and then during the installation process for a visual check along the lines.
Don’t lay too shallow
It can be tempting to dig a shallow base for your pavers – but that would be a mistake and your paved area won’t last as long. The ideal depth allows for a 4-inch-deep base for areas subject to foot traffic, and a 6 to 10-inch base for driveways and parking areas. If you live in a colder climate, add an extra 2 to 4 inches of base to account for wet and weak soil. If you do your base prep properly you won’t have problems in the future.
Don’t allow paver joints to line up
It’s best not to lay your pavers in a pattern that produces a long, linear line of paver joints, or to have four corners of paving stones regularly meeting. This can lead to structural instability, with shifting and warping likely to occur at the weak joints over time. Stagger the joints in a pattern and your paved area will be much more stable.
Leave room for jointing sand
Don’t lay your pavers completely flush with each other – you need to leave room for jointing sand between each paver. Many pavers come with built-in gaps to allow for this.
Consider your plant choice
If you’re going to include plants or trees within your paved space, consider your plant choice carefully. Some plants are not an ideal choice, as their root growth will disturb the pavers in the future. Talk to a professional before planting so that you chose a non-disruptive species to feature in your paved area.