How to Install Pavers

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to Lay Pavers

How to Install Pavers

A paver project, when properly installed, can enhance your property appearance and value. The use of concrete pavers in the United States has become more and more popular due to paver flexibility, looks, durability and DIY capabilities. While this is not a project for everyone, most do-it-yourselfers will find that they can properly install a paver patio, walkway, or driveway, as long as the correct tools are available.

Getting Started

A DIY paver project can seem daunting. However, with the correct tools, patience, and time commitment, laying pavers yourself can be a rewarding project. Utilizing the instructions below will help you achieve success.


Tools for Laying Pavers

While you may not have all the necessary tools for laying pavers on hand, you can contact your local equipment rental yard or even your local landscape supply yard, and rent the tools. If you do need to rent tools, plan out your work schedule to ensure you can return them in a timely manner. The following list will help you determine what tools you have/need to rent for your paver project:

  1. Shovel
  2. Flat blade shovel
  3. Wheelbarrow
  4. Gloves
  5. Dust mask
  6. Rubber mallet
  7. Knee pads (optional)
  8. Garden hose
  9. Chisel or Masonry wet saw with Diamond Blade (can be rented)
  10. Chalk Box String Line
  11. Level
  12. String line
  13. Wood or metal stakes
  14. Line levels
  15. Hammer
  16. 2- 8 foot sticks of 1” pipe or wood
  17. Plate compactor or hand tamper
  18. Leaf Blower

Choosing a Concrete Paver

Concrete pavers come in a variety of shapes and sizes from a 12 X 12 large to an octagonal shape paver, to a tulip-shaped paver. The paver that meets your needs will depend on your budget and taste.

Pavers vary in price based on the colors, texture and sizes. A few things to consider when selecting your pavers:

  1. Do you want a color that will compliment the house color (remember you may change the house color one day) or do you want a color that will contrast with the house? It is better to choose a color that will be neutral to the house and complimentary to the yard. Basalite’s most popular paver colors are Positano and Venice.
  2. The more colors visible in the paver, the more expensive the paver will be.
  3. The more vibrant the paver’s colors, the more costly the paver will be.

Pavers come in a variety of textures. In choosing a texture for your DIY paver project, you have multiple options to choose from:

  1. Smooth-topped pavers or Cobblestone pavers: the standard in the industry. You can purchase inexpensive pavers with this texture.
  2. Textured pavers: this is the newest trend in pavers- a top that looks and feels like a slate stone. These textures may seem aggressive, but are actually pretty minimal. The slate look increases the beauty and color appearance in your paver project.

Most people will install multiple sizes to enhance the look and feel. A few tips on sizes:

  1. The more sizes you choose, the more difficult the installation will be. When installing 3 or more sizes, you have to remember that your patterns will be more complicated and will require more time, (and potentially more frustration in the beginning).
  1. A variety of sizes will showcase your project. Using a small, medium and large paver will break up the lines and give you a random look and feel. Our newest paver “Heartland” will give you the look of a multiple-piece paver system, yet it is a single-sized paver with vertical and horizontal lines.
  2. Other paver sizes such as Basalite’s Classic or Arrowhead and Eurostone can change things up dramatically in your project.

When determining which paver pattern, size, and color, check with your local supplier and ask if you can purchase different sizes and take them home and place them in the area. This will help you in determining if the pavers look good and are esthetically pleasing.


Choose a Paver Design

You have selected a paver and the paver color, and now it’s time to choose the design or pattern that you will be laying it in. All pavers are capable of being installed in multiple patterns, from the standard running bond to an elegant Ashlar pattern with a Soldier course, however, keep in mind that a pattern that requires multiple sizes and multiple pieces will be more difficult to lay, and beginning a pattern is the most difficult part of laying pavers. Practice your pattern a couple of feet away from your work area, leave the pattern there so you can go back and look at it if you need visual assistance. This will save you time and frustration.  When you choose your pattern, let the sales representative know, so he can order the correct paver sizes and quantity required. The easiest and fastest pattern to install is the running bond pattern however, if you want beauty and elegance then select a random or Ashlar pattern.

Ordering Your Pavers and Calculating the Materials Required

Now that you have chosen your pavers, it’s time to figure out how many of each size you will need. Calculate the width and length of your project, and talk to your local supply yard. They can figure out the square footage based on your selected pattern, and will know what size of each paver will be required. Normally, ordering 5% extra is good insurance.

Here are the steps required to figuring out the square footage and the pavers required:

Take a piece of graph paper and draw out your project, measuring out the lengths-widths. Figure out the square footage of pavers, cubic yards of base rock, cubic yards of sand and how many bags of 30 mesh sand is required.

How to perform these calculations:
Take the length and width of you patio and multiply them together (L X W). Hence, if your project is a patio 10 ft. wide by 15 ft. long; 10 X 15=150 square feet of pavers will be required. Now, let’s look at the amount of base rock is required. For a patio, your base needs to be between 4-6 inches thick, (for a driveway, it should be 6-8 inches thick). Your paver area is 150 square feet and your depth is 6 inches which is 150 X .6 = 90 cu yards 90/27=3.33 yards, (27 is the amount of material in 1 cubic yard). Your bedding sand requirements are 150 X .08 (1 inch) =12 12/27=.44 yards. For the joint sand, you will need to use clean, dry 30-mesh sand. A 50 lb bag will normally cover 100 to 125 square feet, depending on the size of the paver joints. Let’s recap:

  1. 150 square feet of pavers
  2. 3.33 yards of road base
  3. .44 yards of bedding sand
  4. 2 bags of 30 mesh clean dry joint sand



Paver Construction


To establish a layout or outline for your paver project, lay down a garden hose and 2 X 4’s to form an outline of your patio. Now spray paint a line 8 inches outside the outline of the patio, to act as your excavating lines.  If your project is a square box or has a right angle, then you can use the *3-4-5 triangle method to determine perpendicular lines; start by marking an outline of your project using a can of line marking spray paint. This mark should be 8 inches outside of your project footprint.  If your project is more elaborate and has curves, then the easiest way to lay this out is to use your garden hose and create your design.