Brick and concrete pavers are a system of brick or decorative concrete pieces that are dry-set on a bed of sand that is floating on top of a compacted stone base or perhaps a concrete base. The vast majority of the paver installers in the area rough grade an area very roughly, throw down quarry screenings and then quickly lay the pavers on top of the screenings and then mix up a bag of mortar and install a thin band of it along the edges to try to retain the pavers to prevent them from separating later. The problem with this type of installation is that it does not provide the pavers with a stable base and they will begin to settle and fluxuate with the soil subgrade over time and become wavy and uneven. The other issue is that by using mortar as the retainment system, it has no structural integrity and will flux with the ground and will break up into little pieces and cause the pavers to begin to separate over time.
The correct method is to install a minimum 4″ thick compacted stone sub-base using ABC stone, then screeding an ASTM C-33 approved sand (not play sand or masonry sand) over the stone sub-base, then installing the pavers on the sand bedding. The sand should then be carved away from around the perimeter of the pavers and secured in place with a manufacturer’s approved HDPE restraint edging and secured to the ground using 6″ galvanized spikes. The pavers should then be tamped with a 500 lb (not a standard) vibratory plate tamp to bed the pavers into the sand base. A bedding sand or polymeric sand should then be brushed into the joints of the pavers and the tamp run over them again vibrate the sand down into the joints to interlock the pavers.
There is a certifying agency that will train, test, and certify installers to approve them as knowledgeable and capable of installing pavers in an industry approved method. The certifying agency is called the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI). We have been ICPI for many years and will properly install all of our paver systems to the manufacturer’s standards to provide you with a quality paver system that will remain smooth and last you for many years.
Click on Photo to enlarge.