Because the installation of paving bricks (Figure 1) is a complex and time consuming procedure many do it yourselfers do not invest in the effort to do the job right – the first time. If proper installation is not followed, the pavers will heave in some spots, settle in others and spread out producing an unsightly outcome.
Figure 1 - Installation of paving bricks
Additional information on paving bricks and concrete stones.
The following information is intended as an overview to the proper installation of paving bricks and concrete stones. These are the steps that would be taken by a reputable contractor who would be providing a guarantee on the work done.
- The first and a very important step is to have the property surveyed for buried cables, power lines and gas pipes before you start digging. Most utility companies in North America provide location services free of charge. All it takes is a phone call.
- Depending on where you are planning on installing your new paving bricks or concrete stones you may want to have a property survey (Figure 2) undertaken, if you don't have one.
- Using survey stakes (Figure 3) and string, map out the area to be excavated. The more intricate the area, the more complex the installation and cutting of the paving stones.
- Remove any and all existing pavement, sod, plants, and trees from the area to be excavated.
- Excavate the soil to the required depth. The depth needed is the basic calculation derived from taking the finished surface minus the thickness of the paver, the depth of the setting bed and the depth of the base material. The required thickness of the base material (commonly 4 to 8-inches for patios and walkways and 6 to 12-inches for driveways and roadways) is totally dependent on local soil conditions, primarily the soils reaction to water.
If you excavate without having the location services flag your property, you will be held responsible for any damages and subsequent repairs. Not to mention the fact that cutting into a buried electrical service or gas pipeline with a shovel could put you out of commission for a very long time. As well, think of the anguish you might create in the community by cutting off utility services to your neighbors.
The primary service companies that should be called are gas, electric, cable TV, and telephone.
Figure 2 - Property survey map showing buffers, easement, drainage and setbacks
Most municipalities have setbacks from the road. As well, there may be drainage courses, easements or a right-away for utilities on the front, sides or back of your property.
Expending a lot of energy and/or money installing paving bricks or concrete stones only to find out after the project has been completed that you have encroached on your neighbors property by 6 inches can become a very expensive exercise.
Figure 3 - Survey stake
Remember that paving bricks and concrete stones are not flexible and hence tight curves and arches can be difficult to fill.
If you are removing trees or shrubs make sure you either remove the plants entire root system or use a root/vegetation killer (Figure 4) to ensure that you will not have new growth trying to poke its way through the gaps in your paving bricks and concrete stones.
Figure 4 - Root killer
Your city or county soil engineer should be able to tell you the required thickness of the base material for your area.