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Paver 101: Installing A Flat Concrete Paver Walkway

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If you have decided to install your own walkway during your next remodeling project, but do not want to deal with pouring concrete, then you should use inexpensive concrete pavers. Concrete pavers come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Pavers compliment any landscaping and home style when they are correctly installed.

Use these three things to install your walkway so that it is flat and stays that way for its entire useful life:

Order the Right Bedding Materials

The key to a smooth, long-lasting surface for your new walkway is to provide it with a very stable and flat foundational layer. This layer has two parts:

  • the gravel base
  • the upper sand layer

You can accomplish a stable foundational layer by ordering gravel that is small rock graded down to dust size. The large rocks fill in the majority of the space, and then the smaller rocks fill in the holes between them. The dust contained within the rock will penetrate down into the cracks and act as a cement to hold the gravel layer in place.

For paver walkways, you should use a coarse-grained sand on top of the gravel layer. This layer of sand will stay in place better after the walkway is all finished and in use than a finer sand will.

Rent a Plate Compactor Machine

Rather than trying to use a drum roller or other weighted tool to compact your new walkway's gravel and sand, instead, rent a machine called a plate compactor. Plate compactors have flat steel plates that are connected to hydraulic cylinders. The hydraulics give them a lot of force and the ability to compact gravel and sand with much more force than anything else you could use.

To keep your walkway flat for years to come, you need to use the plate compactor on the gravel layer, sand layer, and then again over the top of the pavers after you have grouted them with sand.

Buy Edge Restraint Strips

Finally, if you install your new walkway and do not edge it with restraint strips, then over time people walking on the surface will push the pavers towards the edge of the walkway. Over time, this will cause the pavers to shift and then heave in the rains and snow. To prevent this damage to your walkway, purchase edge restraint strips to install around the entire perimeter of your new walkway.

Edge restraint strips are installed by placing their tongue between the sand and gravel layers of your walkway. Tap them into place gently using a hammer, and then drive steel gravel spikes into their anchoring holes to keep them in place. Only drive the stakes into the ground until their heads are flush with the edge strip to prevent damaging it.

To learn more, contact a company like JK Landscape Construction