As I mentioned in my previous note about our design process, I would like to share some of our installation procedures and explain why our installations look great for so long.
First, I wanted to remind you that this is all we do – Outdoor Living Spaces that is. We’re not landscapers or handymen, we’re a professional company with an absorbant amount of experience just installing pavers, stone and outdoor living spaces. That being said, let me share just a couple of the tips we’ve picked up over the years that make our patios stand the test of time, and here in Ohio – the winters too!! Plus, I’ll mention some tips we utilize that keep our patios nearly maintenance free.
Design – A project starts with a design. In my previous note I discussed design as it pertains to asthetics, but there is another side to design that we equally focus on. A design that looks good on paper is great, but what if it can’t actually be accomplished in real life. We make sure to take both into consideration.
Foundation – Chances are, if you’ve done any research at all about pavers and hardscapes you’ve probably come accross someone talking about how important the base and foundation is. We take a very methodical approach to base installation.
Some contractors get caught up in how thick the gravel base is. I’m by no means discounting how important base depth is, but there are other equally important areas of base installation to be concerned about. Like base width, how far the base extends beyond the perimeter of the patio. In addition to base depth and base width there is installation of the base, how its installed. A vibratory plate compactor is used to compact the gravel once it’s placed, however, it can only compact 2″-4″ in depth at most. So its extremely important to install the base in 2″-4″ thick layers compacting after each layer.
Here are some more tips we’ve learned over the past 10 years:
- Not all pavers are made the same, some rarely crack and keep their colors longer – those are the only ones we use.
- After a house with a basement is built, the area up against the basement walls will settle for 2-5 years if not addressed during installation.
- Never use play sand or fine sand in-between each paver. Although its much easier to fill in the joints, pavers are called interlocking because of the friction thats achieved when course sand is forced into the joints. Pavers then become a flexible pavement able to move during freeze thaws and heavy loads.
Lastly, let me talk about weeds – If you’ve heard of polymeric sand, let me explain what it is and why you don’t want to use it. Polymeric sand is simply a mixture of sand and a substance that sets up when wet. It was originally created for Do-It-Yourselfers as an alternative to the product we use called Joint Stabilizing Sealer, which can be very tricky to apply correctly. Polymeric Sand’s biggest down fall is that its very fine, and although its rock hard, the sand is not lodged into the joint and can easily come out during freeze thaws and heavy rains.
Our Joint Stabilizing Sealer allows us to use the recommended course sand in the joints of the pavers. Once we apply the sealer to it sets up like mortar hardening the sand in the joints which makes it extremely difficult for weeds to grow or for the sand to get washed out. The sealer also protects the pavers from stains and helps the pavers keep their colors longer.
I could go on for pages, but I wont :). I’ll save some stuff for our meeting, which I’m looking forward to. Just remember, this is all we do.
See you real soon,