This paver project used sand joints, and the construction method is referred to as an interlocking paver system. The pavers are not mortared, but laid on a sand bed abutting each other. The interlocking concept means that the pavers can’t move independently, when they are held in place by angular sand particles and edging restraints.
The interlocking method usually refers to a concrete paver installation, although it can be used for other types of dimensional pavers like the clay paver that was used in this project. It is a DIY-friendly construction method (no mortar), and can be used for a variety of projects including walks, driveways, and patios.
This was the final phase of the walk project. In Phase 1, we covered the demolition of the old walk, the excavation for the relocated new walk, and installing a drainage pipe for a downspout.
In Phase 2, the subbase was prepared, and the aggregate base for the walk was installed and compacted, and we talked about why slope is important.
Phase 2 was probably more labor intensive than Phase 3. The project has come a long way from what it used to look like, and in this last phase you can see the finish line – a beautiful new brick paver walk is about to happen! Here’s a little peek –
Materials Used to Create the Finished Surface
The main materials used to finish the walk were: plastic paver edge restraints, bedding sand, and the pavers. A deep reddish earth tone clay paver was selected for this project. The edge restraints were installed first. They were installed with the inside dimension of 4 feet 8 inches apart (this was the designed width of this project) using spikes, and centered on the aggregate base.
Handy Tip For Creating the Sand Bed
After the edging was installed, a specified depth of bedding sand (use paver or other angular construction sand, not silica sand) was used to set the pavers on.
It is easy to get a uniform depth for the sand in a residential paver project. Use 2 lengths (two 8’ lengths is usually good) of PVC pipe with a diameter that is the same as the required depth of the bedding sand for your project. Lay the pipes on top of the compacted aggregate base between the paver edge restraints and pour the bedding sand on top of the pipes.
Then take a board (1 x 4 works well) and use it to spread, screed, and smooth the sand to create the paver bed– the pipes will keep you from removing too much sand. After smoothing the sand bed, remove the pipes, and move them to the next section of the project. Use extra sand to fill in the depressions left by the pipes.
Installing the Pavers
After the sand was in place, the pavers were installed. Because of the predetermined dimensions of the project, and the straight edges of the walk (no curves), none of the pavers had to be cut. This is a good thing to keep in mind if you don’t want to have to make cuts. If you have the space, design your walk by using the actual dimensions of the full paver.
Placing the pavers as you go, is a good idea, especially if the project is wide like a driveway, because the installed pavers can be used to stand and knee on to set the other pavers. Usually a rubber mallet is used when laying the pavers to keep them aligned and to tighten the joints.
When the pavers were completely installed, the next step was to use a plate compactor over the pavers. This process sets the paver to the sand, which helps to create a uniform and firm surface.
The last step is to place a little sand on top of the installed pavers and sweep the sand into the joints. The clay pavers used in this project have smooth surfaces on all the sides, which produces a very tight thin joint.
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