Do's and Don'ts of Paver Installation: Pre-Installation and Planning 1/3

People don’t realize the amount of work involved with the installation of our paving stones, I am not saying that to scare anyone off of their project but a little planning will go a long way. Unilock provides an excellent technical guide for the proper installation of pavers, so please refer to it for details. To avoid common mistakes, follow these steps:

Do make a reasonable drawing of the area you intend to work with. It does not need to be a computer generated drawing but a scaled drawing is helpful.  This is needed for a couple of reasons; it will assist in the calculation of all of the materials required and can help with the planning on the site. Don’t forget to include a drainage plan.  It doesn’t need to be elaborate but some people mistakenly think that the water will percolate down through the joints of the paving stones so they don’t need to worry too much about surface drainage. This is a big mistake.  Although a small amount of water will get through the joints (2% to 5%) the surface water does need to be shed off, requiring a slope of 2%. Lastly a good plan will allow the staff at your dealer to assist you in fine tuning your design and selecting product.

Don’t guess at the area you want cover. One of the most common comments I get from customers is that they wish they had made their area bigger.  I am not saying this to sell more product, but most people have trouble visualizing their job and they fail to realize that once their patio is done and they put their patio table, BBQ and the swinging bench on it there’s no room to move. The same can be said for the front walkway and the driveway.  For the small amount of work and materials required making your project a little bit bigger it’s worth the effort. The best tool to use when deciding on the size is your garden hose.  Lay it out so it represents the perimeter of the project.  You can even place your furniture and other outdoor accessories to see how much room you have.

Do plan the receiving of materials. The next stage of planning is trying to coordinate the delivery of new materials and the removal of the existing materials. Remember that you will be dealing with a number of different materials that need to be kept separate.  Collectively, all of the material can add up to a lot of weight and you want to minimize the amount of times you move it. So a plan on where things go as soon as they are delivered is very important.

Don’t over estimate the amount of work you can get done.  If you are going to take on a larger project (500 square feet or more) it might be better to do it over a couple of weekends; one weekend for the removal of existing materials and excavation, and the second one for base and pavers. To save time (and your back) it might be worth hiring a company to come in and complete the excavation process so that you just have to install base materials and pavers.

Once you have a plan in motion the preparation stage can begin and you can watch your ideas unfold.  Stay tuned for next week’s blog that will help you get started on your project and how to properly prepare a base!