Stamped Concrete Pavers: What You Need to Know

This post is meant as a way to clear up some confusion about the term “stamped concrete pavers.” In fact, this is actually the combination of two different things: stamped concrete and concrete pavers. The confusion lies in the fact that stamped concrete can be made to look like concrete pavers. Let’s explore the differences.

Stamped Concrete vs. Real Pavers

First, stamped concrete. Let’s say you are building a patio, though this may also apply to walkways, driveways, and other projects. After pouring your concrete slab, you then use tools to “stamp” patterns and textures into the surface of the wet concrete. If you want to make the concrete look like pavers, then, you simply ‘stamp’ the wet pour with a pattern that makes it look like you’ve got pavers. You can also get particular textures to replicate the look and feel of other types of materials, such as cobblestones, wood, seashells, and more. Stamped concrete pavers, then, is just stamped concrete that has been imprinted in a way to look like concrete pavers.

Concrete pavers are separate pieces of concrete that have been formed into separate brick. These paving stones are laid by hand on an aggregate base and sand bed. They are then filled in with more sand and compacted to make a whole structure. They are thus made from the same material as stamped concrete but put together in a different way.

Thus, stamped concrete pavers don’t really exist – instead, you can either get stamped concrete that looks like paving stones, or you can by concrete pavers themselves. But what’s the difference? Why does this matter anyway?

Let’s look at stamped concrete. Stamped concrete is really just one huge slab of concrete like any other installation. The only difference is that the surface has been modified. Thus, it enjoys the same benefits and drawbacks as any concrete. It is cheap and relatively easy to lay; it is durable and strong; and it can be incorporated into many different designs and themes. On the other hand, these slabs can crack, especially due to the activity of freeze/thaw cycles. This may be exacerbated by the fact that it’s supposed to “look” like something else, so when it does crack, the illusion is revealed and the overall look is worse than usual for concrete.

Pavers, as opposed to stamped concrete, are more expensive than poured concrete, as they must be purchased and laid individually. This increases the materials and labor costs. However, they are as strong as concrete, and perhaps more beautiful. They are certainly more durable as well, as they will resist the cracking that plagues concrete due to the joint system that holds the project together.

Concrete Paver Shapes and Sizes

One of the benefit of concrete pavers is that they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. This allows you to come up with many different paver designs for your next driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck, or garden/landscape project. This is opposed to slab options like concrete and asphalt, which are relatively limited in the designs you can choose for the material.

This variety is definitely a positive – the only problem is that you may also be overwhelmed by all this choice. Of course, you could rely on the suggestions and advice of your contractor, but you may also want to be educated on the options available to you – and this is what this article is for. This will also be very useful for you if you are embarking on a DIY concrete pavers project.

Picking the Right Paver Shapes and Sizes

The most common shape of paver is the Holland stone. It is 6 inches by 9 inches and can be used to create many paver patterns. Another common size of paver is the 6″ x 6″ square. These can be used by themselves or in conjunction with another brick size, such as the 6 x 9, to make a even wider variety of patterns.

For most, if not all, projects, you can’t go wrong with the standard 6 x 9 and 6 x 6 pavers. However, there are also other shapes out there that may useful for you to look into using.

For instance, one popular paver shape is the ‘stop sign’ or octagon. One example of these are Unilock’s stop sign pavers. These don’t offer you many different pattern options, as they must be laid just so, but many enjoy the ease of installation and classic look of the material.

Choosing the right paver shape and size for your depends on a few factors. The most important one is your own tastes and style. In addition, the shape you select will have an impact on the patterns you can do, so if you’re looking for a particular pattern, you will be more limited in the shapes you select.

On a related note, certain project types, like walkways and stoops, and certain dimensions of projects require certain shapes and patterns. Thus, you’ll want to check with a professional to make sure that you’re picking a shape, size, and pattern appropriate for the job.

Of course, if you want to go larger, then you are ranging into the 24 x 24 concrete pavers end, or even the paving slabs end. There are a lot of articles on paving slabs on this site, so check them out here:

Concrete Paving Slabs: What You Need to Know

How to Find Cheap Paving Slabs

A Paving Slabs Prices Guide

Don’t forget that you can also mix shapes and sizes together to form an almost limitless amount of patterns and designs.

Finally, some brands have ‘irregular’ shaped pavers and slabs – this can be a quite interesting and unique pattern to lay in your yard, but know that laying this irregular pattern properly may take some skill and shouldn’t be attempted by DIYers.

Specific Brand Shapes and Sizes of Pavers

There are many different pavers shapes and paver sizes available from different manufacturers. Some examples are listed below. Check with the manufacturer for more information and for local availability. Keep in mind that the paver shape and paver size you select have a profound impact on your intended design, and vice versa. Note that at this point we are just evaluating the pavers available from one company, Nicolock, but in the future we will discuss more. Note, however, that Nicolock’s selection is a good sub for the selections of most paver companies, so at least you’ll get a solid idea of the types available.

Nicolock

Holland Stone: 200mm x 100mm (7 13/16” x 3-7/8”). 1 Bundle is 120 sq. ft (540 brick). These are basically rectangular brick, and one of the most popular sizes of concrete paving stones. There are many different patterns that can be created by using Holland Stone, with or without borders.

Cobblestone: Fullstone, 222mm x 157mm, 8-13/16” x 6-3/16”. 1 Bundle is 111 sq. ft (400 brick); Edgestone, same as above except 500 brick.

Multiweave: Full stone 222mm x 112 mm, 9” x 4-1/2”; 1 bundle is 109 sq. ft. (400 brick)

Circles and Fans: Large circle stone, 80mm x 120 mm, 3-1/8” x 4-3/4”, 360/bundle; center stone, 118 mm, 4-5/8”, 9/bundle; ¾ normal stone 90mm x 120mm, 3-9/16”x4-3/4”, 288/bundle; small circle stone 50mm x 120mm 2” x 4-3/4”, 27/bundle. Amount of stones needed for circles depends on the layout of the job, size of circle (in layers), etc.

Roma Series Pavers: Roma 1 1-1/2 Normal Stone, 120mm x 180mm, 4-3/4” x 7-3/16”, 560/bundle (131 sq. ft.); Roma 2 – Normal stone 120mm x 120mm, 4-3/4” x 4-3/4”, ½ stone 60mm x 120mm, 2-3/8” x 4-3/4”; 1  bundle = 126 sq. ft, each bundle has 760 pieces

Rustico: Full Stone 150mm x 150mm, 5-7/8” x 5-7/8”; half stone 150mm x 150mm, 5-7/8” x 2-15/16”; 1 bundle – 120 sq. ft. and 490 pieces

Simmetria: Diamond, 366mm x 150mm, 13-1/8 x 5-7/16”; 1 bundle = 105 sq. ft (260 pcs); Bishop Hat: 11-1/16” x 3-7/8” x 7-13/16”. 1 Bundle = 84 sq ft (160 pieces); 4×4 100mm x 100mm 3-7/8” x 3-7/8”, 1 bundle – 80 sq. ft (720 pieces); 8×8 200mm x 200mm, 7-13/16” x 7-13/16”, 1 bundle – 120 sq. ft., 270 pieces [many different patterns available, but needs to be manufactured as it isn’t stocked]

Utility Edge Stones: Bullnose, Fullnose, Pool Coping, 8×12 Fullnose, 4×12 Fullnose

SF-Verona: 140mm x 202mm, 5-1/2” x 8” – 1 bundle – 120 sq. ft (490 pieces) [many patterns available]

Heritage Pavers: 8”x16”, 12”x12”, 18”x18”, 18” round, 24”x24”, 24”x36”, straight scallop and scallop curve

Colonial Cobble: ½ Normal stone, 3-1/8” x 6-5/16”, 106 sq. ft (770); Normal stone 6-5/16” x 6-5/16”, 116 sq ft (420); ¾ normal stone 4-3/4”x6-5/16”, 115.7 sq. ft (560); 1-1/2 normal stone 6-5/16”x9-7/16”, 124 sq. ft (300) [many many patterns available given the variety of sizes)

Colonial Cobble Circle: Large wedge, center stone, small wedge, small rectangle, medium rectangle.

Tumbled: Certain varieties come in tumbled variety, including Holland stone, rustico 6×6 and 6×9, tumbled 8×8, Tuscany pavers

Color Varieties of Concrete Pavers

One of the major benefits of concrete pavers is that they come in a wide variety of colors. This is in direct contrast to materials like poured concrete and asphalt, which typically come in one color (unless special coloring is added before they are laid). With this burst of color, you can do much more with your design than you would with the typical greys and blacks of slab materials. For instance, you can match your hardscape to your landscape or to the color palette of your home. Many homeowners fret over picking the right color. Note that there’s not going to be one ‘right’ choice out of a bunch of ‘wrong’ choices – many different blends of brick will work with your project, so pick the one that YOU like the most or that your contractor recommends.

How to Pick the Right Colors

Of course, the colors you pick for your new project, whether driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck, garden, or other application, mostly depend on your taste. Some colors will go well with any environment, especially naturals and neutrals like grey, black, brown, and beige. However, sometimes certain colors will go best with your already existing home style, landscape, and other hardscape projects. This includes reds, oranges, yellows, and pastel colors – these colors can really draw the eye and look great given the right environment, as they can easily clash with other aspects of your home and yard.

Another thing to keep in mind is how the color affects the way the area looks. Lighter colors will generally make a project look larger, while darker colors will make it look smaller. In addition, single color pavers usually show stains much more easily, while blends will hide stains better. However, note that there are plenty of ways to remove stains and clean pavers, so don’t worry about this that much.

Another thing to keep in mind is the heat that may be generated by the pavers you select. If people will be walking on the surface of the pavers with bare feet, it will be best if you take a lighter looking paver. For instance, you will want to go with a lighter color for a pool deck project or a patio versus a driveway. Driveways, in general, are better with darker colors, as this color will hide stains and marks better than a lighter color.

An important note: pavers even within the same colors may differ from order to order. Thus, if you want to use the same color pavers for different projects, its probably best to have those projects completed at the same time to ensure that you won’t have major differences in color between different areas – this is completed by mixing the pallets together as much as possible. You (or whoever is doing the installation) should be sure to take brick from different parts of each pallet and from different pallets at once to ensure an even distribution of the brick.

A Selection of Concrete Paver Colors

In general pavers come in different blends of colors. The most popular are two color blends. This can either mean two bricks of an entirely different color each (for instance, one red and another gold). More commonly, however, this means a set of bricks where the two colors exist in varying quantities. For instance, one brick may contain almost all of Color A, while another can contain almost all Color B, and where other bricks may contain mixtures of A and B at varying amounts.

There are many different paver color blends available from many different concrete paver manufacturers, so an exhaustive list isn’t possible at this point. Please check with your selected manufacturer to determine both paving stone colors selection and availability. (Some paver colors and shapes require manufacturing time as they aren’t kept in stock).

Single color blends – one solid color throughout the pavers. Examples include Nicolock’s charcoal, pewter, chocolate, salmon, chamois, red, limestone, and mojave tan; Grinnell’s charcoal, red, and sand; Cambridge’s Salmon, Sahara, Ruby, Onyx, Chestnut, and Shell;

Two color blends – some of the most popular concrete paver colors. When installing these bricks, the color should be ‘randomized’ as much as is possible. This requires the installer to not take from the top of a single pallet of concrete pavers down through each layer. Instead, the installer should work from multiple pallets at the same time, and work through entire sections. This is to ensure concrete paver color variability throughout the finished product.

Examples of two pavers colors blends include Nicolock’s granite city blend, terra cotta blend, golden brown blend, harvest gold blend, fire island blend, adobe blend, cocoa blend, autumn blend, marble blend, crab orchard blend, bayberry blend, oyster blend, sahara blend, mocha blend, and sage blend; Grinnell’s hickory, buckskin, chestnut, brown flash, gray flash, and multicolor; Camrbidge’s Ruby/Onyx, Sahara/Chestnut, Chestnut/Salmon, Onyx/Natural,  Salmon/Onyx, Onyx/Chestnut, Golden/Onyx, Canyon Blend, Toffee/Onyx, Chestnut/Bronze; and Rinox’s Ash Charcoal, Burgundy Wine, Morocco Beige, Ivory Beige, Milton Grey, and Panama Beige.

Note as well that three color blends also do exist, but they are rarer than the ones described above. They are also more difficult to work with, as keeping an even distribution of the color throughout the project can be a challenge. In addition, minimum size requirements for projects with three-color blends are required to allow for proper mixtures of colors.

Note that it is possible to mix colors of different blends together. This is done most often with single colors as the paver pattern or paver design requires. For example, many like to use standard grey brick for the major part of the patio or driveway with a darker border used as a soldier course. However, mixing more than three colors may lead to a very confusing and messy installation. Thus, it’s best to stick with the blends that the manufacturers have provided.

Other Things to Consider

Preserving the color over time is an important aspect of this choice to consider. The best way to do this is to pick a paver that will not fade due to the sun or to rain; in addition, pavers near pools must be able to withstand the effects of chlorinated water. Another way to preserve or heighten the effect of the colors of your brick is to seal the pavers every year or two. This will give them the ‘wet’ look that makes their colors pop from the landscape.

Concrete Pavers and Hardscaping FAQ

Listed here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about pavers and hardscaping – everything from product selection to hardscape maintenance and everything in between. Check back often for new additions.

Why should I pick concrete pavers over other choices for my driveway/walkway/patio/etc.?

Concrete pavers enjoy many advantages over their competitors:

  • concrete pavers are available in a wide variety of styles and colors to complement any design or personal style and taste; hardscape design is fun, easy, and exciting;
  • they are relatively easy to install;
  • a paver driveway can be easily plowed, shoveled, or de-iced in the winter;
  • paver installations withstand freeze/thaw cycles without cracking or breaking;
  • they require little to no maintenance, year-round
  • individual pavers, if damaged or stained, can be replaced by simply removing the flawed paver and replacing it with a new one;
  • pavers can be removed and replaced if you need to install new cables or sprinklers, or any other lines need to be run underneath your installation – the entire project doesn’t need to be damaged;
  • paving stone projects increase the value of your home;
  • your beautiful new project increases the quality of life of you, your family and your friends;
  • cost-effective over the life of the project.

For more information on the pros and cons of pavers versus asphalt, concrete, or stone, see this page.

What other materials can I use for my hardscape project?

Though concrete pavers are very popular, they are not the only paving material suitable for most hardscapes. In the paver family you can also find brick pavers and natural stone pavers. Within the natural stone family there is even more variation, as you can use flagstone pavers, granite, limestone, sandstone, and much more for your project. In the slab family, there exists asphalt, concrete, and macadam. You can also use loose stone if you want to go a less expensive route.

What brand should I use?

This depends on a large number of factors, most notably which paver manufacturer is available to you. Other important factors include your budget, your design needs (such as the sizes, shapes, and colors of pavers you want to use), and what your contractor usually works with.

What are the different ways I can use concrete pavers?

There are many different uses for paving stones; the only limit is your imagination! The most popular hardscape ideas include driveway pavers, paver walkway, patio pavers, and pool pavers. Other options include paver steps and stoops, retaining wall pavers, and complements to landscaping. Don’t forget garden pavers and grass pavers, too. Pavers are also installed for commercial clients, and are a great way to increase the beauty and professionalism of your business.

What are the patterns and designs I can make?

Given the creative properties of concrete paving stones, you have a near limitless selection of possibilities to pursue for your next project. For a more detailed discussion of some of your choices, see these articles on paver patterns and paver designs.

Aren’t pavers expensive?

They are not as costly as you think. Pavers are installed by hand and do require a lot of preparation and time in order to be laid correctly and solidly. However, the many benefits of hardscapes outway this initial cost. Asphalt, concrete, or stone driveways, for example, need to be replaced as they crack and shift over time. Concrete paver installations, however, stay beautiful and strong for longer periods of time. Plus, investing in hardscaping is an investment in the property value of your home. See this link for a more detailed discussion of pavers cost.

How do I save money on my pavers project?

The major way to save money on your application is to install it all yourself. Barring this possibility, you could look for pavers for sale to help defray the costs of the materials.

Can I make concrete pavers?

Absolutely! If you want to know how to make concrete pavers, read this article. In short, find or make some paver molds, mix your concrete, pour it, and let it cure. You can make pavers for many projects this way, though it may not be recommended for large scale projects.

Who can install paving stones?

Most homeowners allow paver contractors, or masons, to come in and do the work. However, many hardscaping projects are well within the skills of some homeowners, such that these pavers can be used in DIY paving projects. See this article for a detailed discussion of paver installation.

What is the most important part of my installation?

If you are installing the pavers yourself, or even if you are having someone else do the work for you, it’s best to spend most of your effort and attention on the sub-base to the project. If this foundation isn’t secure, the pavers above will not be as strong as they can be. This entails using concrete sand as the bed underneath the pavers and crushed aggregate as the main ingredient for the sub-base.

How quickly can I walk on my paver project?

As soon as it has been properly edged and compacted with a plate compactor.

How much maintenance do I need to do?

Very little, actually. You may want to try sealing pavers occasionally with concrete sealer, though this is not required. You will have to clean it occasionally when it gets dirty, and potentially refill some of the joints with sand. Otherwise, the project is near maintenance free. Even if you left it untouched, it would probably last for many decades, assuming it was installed well.

What is this white chalky residue on my pavers?

This is called efflorescence, and it is totally normal, especially when pavers are laid over a concrete base. This will go away over time, and will not affect the structural integrity of the pavers.

How do I remove stains on my pavers?

For tips, see this page on stain removal.

Will weeds grow in between the pavers?

Depending on the joint material used to fill in the cracks between pavers, growth of weeds should be minimal. In the case of weed growth, the simple application of weed killer will help remove any growth.

Will any settling of my patio, driveway, or walkway occur?

Proper installation of your project should minimize any settling over time. Other factors may be important, however, such as the material on which the pavers are installed. Make sure you find out what your contractor’s policy is with settling. Many offer a one-year warranty against any settling.

Can my installation be shoveled, plowed, or salted in the winter?

Yes! Shoveling or plowing your walkway, driveway, or patio will not damage your project as long as care is taken. De-icing salts may be used with some brands of concrete pavers, as long as the salts are not used excessively. Check with your contractor or paver manufacturer or supplier for more details about your specific brand.

Is there any warranty on my installation?

It depends on the contractor and manufacturer. Some contractors offer a one year (or more) warranty against settling or cracking, especially after one or two winters or as the hardscaping settles over time. Make clear ahead of time the conditions for the warranty with your contractor. In addition, the specific manufacturer of your brand of pavers may offer a warranty against long-term damage, color fastness, or other features. For example, Nicolock has lifetime limited warranty in residential installations. They guarantee their pavers through their “Paver-Shield” technology: where other pavers have color only on the surface, Nicolock’s pavers have color all the way through, and they guarantee this color for a lifetime. They say: “Paver-Shield is an advanced manufacturing technology that concentrates the highest grade of cement, a selection of the finest sands, and the most vibrant pigment available on the surface to create a durable, color-rich paver.” Cambridge pavers, on the other hand, have their own “ArmorTec” technology, offering a smooth, rich finish: “Manufactured into the top 3/8 inch of Cambridge Pavingstones is color saturated, extra dense concrete made with super-fine sand granules and devoid of any large aggregate (stones). We call it ArmorTec. As a result of this manufacturing marvel, the color remains rich looking and the surface stays smooth, yet skid-resistant.”

How to Install Concrete Pavers Yourself

Perhaps you’ve decided that hiring a professional might cost too much or be too expensive or risky; perhaps you trust in your own abilities to install concrete pavers, or you have a friend or family member in the trade, willing to help you. How do you go about installing paving stones for your driveway, patio, or walkway? Keep reading for some great hints, tips, and secrets for concrete pavers installation, straight from the source: someone who’s done it before! Installing pavers yourself is a great way to get a discount on your own project, as the labor costs are one of the major reasons for the relatively high prices of these installations.

Before beginning your installation, make sure you have all the paver tools and materials you’ll need to complete the project. This process also assumes that you’ve already selected the paver sizes, shape, style and colorof your brick.

Note that many of these instructions also apply to other paver materials – natural stone like flagstone pavers and cobblestone, brick pavers and clay pavers, rubber pavers, and even grass pavers. However, find instructions for these particular materials, as details may and will vary.

If you are ever unsure, it’s best to consult with a professional pavers contractor who can give you advice about your specific project. You may also get contractors to do particular parts of the installation; for instance, you can hire someone to do the excavation while you act as the installer.

For visual hints and tips on how to lay concrete pavers, see the videos at the bottom of this article.

  1. Determine the area in which the pavers will be installed, whether front yard, backyard, or the side of your house. Pavers can be used in many projects, including driveway driveway pavers, patio pavers, walkway pavers, garden pavers, and more. Come up with paver designs (yourself or professionally) for how the project will look. How long and wide will it be? Will it have pedestrian or vehicular traffic? Obtain or make a sketch or plan for your paving stone installation; you can draw it out on graph paper or regular paper, just make sure you have all the dimensions and important features of the terrain marked out. Also make sure that there are no utility lines where you will do the excavation.  TOOLS & MATERIALS: Paper, tape measure, pencil, camera.
  2. You’ll want to figure out the total square footage of the installation, as this will determine how much material (sand, aggregate, pavers, edging, etc.) you’ll need for the project. Don’t look to skimp on the cost of the project by not getting enough material – this will compromise the strength and beauty of the  project.
  3. Once you’re ready to begin the project, sketch out your project dimensions in the area in your yard. You can use spray paint, for instance, to mark out the grass and soil for excavation. Add a buffer of about 8 inches along the sides of the project, as you’ll want to leave extra room around the entire project to complete the job. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Spray paint.
  4. Excavate the area to the appropriate depth (6-8″ pedestrian,9-12″ vehicular). Use shovels and wheelbarrows to remove the grass, sod, soil, and fill as necessary. You may also use a Bobcat or other machine to help this process. Make sure to remove it from everywhere you’ve marked, even the extra 8 inches that you’ve added to all the sides of the project as a buffer. Be careful to note any utility or electrical lines in the area – you don’t want to dig up a nasty surprise! Call utility companies as necessary to prevent any further problems. Note: Make sure you complete your project during the warm months, because if the ground is frozen this step may be impossible or very difficult. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Shovels, wheelbarrow, pick, Bobcat (optional), container/truck (to remove dirt/grass).
  5. Establish grade (slope) to let water flow/drain. Make sure the driveway (or walkway or patio) doesn’t pitch towards the house, as then you may have flooding. Also make sure there are no holes or dips where water can congregate. Interlocking pavers do drain naturally, and advantage it has over poured concrete or asphalt, but you still need to be mindful of where the water is going to go once you’ve installed your concrete pavers. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Level (a laser level is best).
  6. Lay lines and corners with string and stakes to mark out your intended paver installation. Don’t forget to include some breathing room (about 6-8 inches) around the entire design, but make sure to mark out exactly where the pavers are going. Make sure they are straight and parallel/perpendicular to the house, pool, or whatever reference point you are using for your design. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Level, stakes, string, tape measure.
  7. Determine the amount of materials you will require – aggregate, sand, and concrete pavers (and joint dust, if necessary). Make allowances in your order for waste and for cuts – leave some room so you order enough! It is possible to order less than full pallets. You’ll want to add 5% to your square footage for pavers to account for cuts and waste; make it 10% if your project will have lots of cutting. When you order material, simply tell the supplier the square footage of the pavers you need. Note that some pavers and color blends don’t work well with particular sized installations, particularly if they are small.
  8. Compact sub base. You will need to obtain either a hand tamper or a compactor for this. A compactor can be bought, rented, or borrowed. This step will provide you with a solid, compacted base. After compacting, ensure that the grade is correct, as well as the depth. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Hand tamper/compactor, tape measure, shovel.
  9. Spread aggregate base (3-5″ pedestrian, 6-10″ vehicular) and compact. This serves as the main layer of the paver base. You might want to add some moisture to the project before compacting to help it compact together more tightly. You might have to add more aggregate base if the ground is soft, such as if it made of clay, to ensure a more stable installation. Make sure that the grade/depth is correct. You can obtain this aggregate base (recycled concrete) at your local mason or supply yard. You can also use gravel, limestone, or any other large stone material. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Recycled concrete/aggregate base, shovels, Bobcat (optional), wheelbarrow, compactor/hand tamper, tape measure.
  10. Note that this process uses no mortar or poured concrete. This material will just crack and decay over time, damaging the integrity of your paving stone project.
  11. You may want to add the aggregate base in multiple layers instead of one single layer – some compactors can only handle 3 inches of material at a time, so make sure you keep the layer thicknesses manageable. The more time and care you put into the base, the better. Once the broad grading is done, you’ll want to go in and confirm that all the levels and grades are correct. You can use pipes and screeds to make sure the aggregate base is at the perfect level. Compact one last time. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Aggregate base, metal pipes, metal screeds.
  12. Spread 1 to 1-1/2” of sand over base and screed. You can either use fine sand or polymeric sand that you purchase from your mason supply yard or paver manufacturer. To screed, lay down 1″ PVC pipes parallel to each other, and use a wooden plank or metal plank to level out the sand. Fill in the pipe holes with sand and level out by hand. This sand base should not be disturbed. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Sand, shovels, 1″ PVC pipes, screed.
  13. Place your concrete pavers in the paver patterns according to your designs, making sure to keep them tight to each other. Carefully think out your laying concrete pavers strategy – will you start the paver installation near the edge of the house? Near another landmark? Somewhere else? Which direction will you go? This is all important to prevent future delays and problems. If you have a border, like a soldier course, you may want to start there first. Make sure you inspect the pallets to ensure you have the right shape and color of concrete pavers that you ordered. When removing bricks from the pallets, don’t just take from one pallet, working from the top down. To ensure color variety, you need to take each column of pavers (from top to bottom) from multiple pallets in order to get the right color blend. Periodically check for depth, alignment, and straightness (using tape measure, carpenter’s square, etc.). Use a rubber mallet to keep the pavers tight together, if necessary, or to level out any individual paver. Make sure you put down a wooden board where you are kneeling, or where you may be walking back and forth, in order to prevent the pavers from being smashed into the ground and thus becoming unlevel and creating holes or dips. Also keep away from the edges of the project totally, as these are the most vulnerable to weight and shifting. While you’re laying pavers, make sure to continually check on the pattern – have you made any mistakes? Catch them and correct them before you lay too many more. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Concrete pavers, mallet, level, tape measure, wooden boards, knee pads.
  14. Cut borders/other stones as necessary. Use a pencil/crayon to mark the pavers as necessary in order to make the cuts. This will be especially important if you will be installing patio pavers near an immovable structure (such as a house or pool or yard) and if you need to have any circular patterns or curves. To make smooth curves, consider using a thin piece of wood and bend it along your edge, marking each brick as a piece of this curve. Use a wet saw with a diamond blade if you will have to do a lot of cuts; if only a few are required, a dry saw will do. If cutting the bricks when they are dry, be extra careful of particles that could damage your eyes, nose, etc. Wear proper safety equipment – gloves, safety glasses, and respiratory protection. Make sure you know cutting concrete pavers tips and methods before attempting it, as you could ruin the brick or hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. TOOLS & MATERIALS: Wet/dry saw, pencil/crayon, straight edge.
  15. Put in edge restraints. There are many different kinds of paver edging, from plastic to aluminum to concrete. The best, in general, is aluminum edging. Make sure they are tight and backfilled with fill/topsoil if necessary. Pound in the spikes with your mini sledge hammer.
  16. If you are installing pool pavers, you may have to add coping or other material to surround the pool and pool deck aside from edging.
  17. You may want to give the paver project a first compacting without any more sand added to the joints. This first compacting will begin the process by which the pavers interlock.
  18. Sweep the surface clean, and then sweep in more sand (or other joint material) into the spaces between the bricks. You’ll want to make sure the sand is somewhat coarse and irregular to encourage proper compacting. There are special kinds of paver sand out there for you to use for this step if you want to. Then compact with a compactor; this will “lock in” your project due to the interlocking action of concrete pavers. You may have to compact more than once.
  19. Clear off the pavers with a gentle flow of water – make sure everything drains correctly through and across the paving stone project.

Congratulations! You’re done installing pavers, and you’ve finished your concrete pavers driveway, patio, walkway, or pool deck! Eventually, you’ll want to seal your pavers according to the instructions given to you by your manufacturer, but you won’t have to do this until the pavers have settled for a bit.

If you need more help, check out these installation videos.

First, a video on how to install the base for your paving stones:

Next, here’s how to install your pavers once the base has been laid:

The Basics of Concrete Pavers and Paving Stones

 

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/freddy/444395421/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Paving stones being installed.

What Are Concrete Pavers?

Concrete pavers (also known as paving stones) are interlocking bricks made out of concrete. They can be used to make beautiful and resilient (and near maintenance free) driveways, patios, walkways, or pool decks, among other uses (including commercial applications). Concrete paving stones have a long history, but have only recently become popular in the United States. Old ruins and archaeological finds have shown how ancient civilizations used them (in stone, not concrete form) for roads and pathways. The first concrete pavers made and installed were in Holland in the 1940s – this is where “Holland Stones” get their name today.

Concrete pavers are a very durable and robust material. Normal concrete can withstand 2000 pounds per square inch (psi). Paving stones, however, must meet a minimum of 8000 psi, and many exceed this number. Thus, a project made with paving stones will be at least four times as strong and durable as the same project made with concrete. These paving stones are built to last.

How They Work

Interlocking pavers interlock because they are bound to their neighbors very closely. The sides of the pavers are very rough, and get caught with each other. The friction prevents each paver from moving, thus keeping the structure together. Furthemore, the joint sand used in between the pavers increases this friction even further, helping bond the brick together in one interconnected whole. In addition, the pavers are “edged,” which helps keep outward pressure on the whole, maintaining the total friction between the blocks. Thus, pavers combine the best of both worlds – the strength of concrete with the flexibility required to withstand the freeze/thaw cycles and other forces of nature that would otherwise crack slabbed materials like concrete and asphalt.

How are Pavers Installed?

Either installed by the homeowner or by qualified and licensed and insured paver contractors (sometime known as a “mason”), these pavers are laid over a bed of compacted crushed aggregate base and fine (a.k.a. concrete) sand. The base of the project is the most important part; if little time is spent on the underlying foundation, the whole project will suffer. The brick are then filled with sand and compacted one more time. Depending on the size of the project, installation of the pavers can take from one to two days to a week or more.

Homeowners with the right skills and tools can also try to install concrete pavers themselves. A DIY paving project can help reduce the cost of the overall paving stone application while ultimately providing the homeowner with a wonderful hardscape creation.

How Can Paving Stones Be Used?

There are many potential projects for pavers, including driveways, patios, walkways, pool decks, garden and landscape applications, retaining walls, and more. Since the same pavers – colors blends and sizes – can be used for all these projects, homeowners can have a yard that looks professionally planned and created; there’s no need to have a hodge podge of materials dotting your hardscape and landscape! In addition, the wide variety of paver shapes, sizes and colors affords the homeowner many design possibilities. Thus, paving stones go well with nearly any home design and theme, as they are a very versatile and useful material.

What Are the Benefits of Paving Stones?

Installing concrete pavers in a new backyard patio or pool deck is a great way to increase the quality time spent with friends and family at your own home, potentially saving you travel costs for expensive vacations. They also offer numerous safety benefits – pool pavers, for instance, do not get slippery when wet, making it safe if people walk or run on them during summer play. Paving stone installations also increase the property value of your home, thus also representing an investment in your family’s financial future. For commercial projects, installing paving stones gives businesses a clean, professional, and aesthetically pleasing look – first impressions are important, and paver stones can give a great first impression to  customers.

Pavers are also relatively maintenance free, especially compared to certain materials options like loose stone and asphalt. Snow removal is quite easy, and sealing pavers occasionally will keep them looking beautiful for many years, though this is not required. In addition, as long as the pavers are well-installed, a paver project should last for many decades. They thus represent a fantastic long-term investment.

How Much Do They Cost?

Paving stones are of moderate cost, usually ranging from $8 to $15 per square foot for materials and installation by a contractor. The pavers cost can be reduced by installing them yourself or by looking for pavers for sale.

Many paving stones companies will guarantee their products with a warranty, so hoemowners won’t have to worry about the material cracking or coming apart for a long time. If any damage does occur, the offending pavers can be easily removed and replaced with fresh, undamaged pavers.

More information about pavers can be by reading this hardscaping FAQ.