Having the right tools and materials for the job is incredibly important when it comes to installing a new paver project. To help you out with your next DIY paving project, here is a listing of both the paver tools that you need as well as the materials you will need to do the job right. Don’t skimp on any of this list – quality of the project over quantity of money saved is what I always say!
Paver Tools You Need
Here is a general list of the paver tools necessary in order to install concrete pavers on your own. Eventually we hope to provide links for more information, such as where to get the product, how much it will cost, reviews, and more!
Shovels: A very important paver tool. You will need both flat and pointed shovels in order to dig out fill and spread top soil and sand.
Gloves: Use these to protect your hands while shoveling, wheelbarrowing, and carrying and laying brick. Bricklayer gloves are the best option – these are cloth gloves covered with paint on the hand portion. This gives you both grip and protection while digging, carrying and laying brick, etc.
Tape measure: Needed to measure out the length and width of your installation, as well as the necessary depths.
Wood stakes: Used with string line to mark out the dimensions of your project.
String line: With wooden stakes, used to mark out the dimensions of your project. Can also be used to mark relevant heights.
3 lb. hammer (aka mini-sledge, lump hammer):Used to drive in wooden stakes; metal stakes for edging; can be used to lightly tap pavers into place or to forcefully bang brick into line. You can also use a rubber hammer for this as well if you want to avoid potentially damaging the paving stones.
Levels: Used to check grades and make sure concrete pavers are level and laid straightly. Either a hand level can be used or a laser level can be purchased, though obviously the laser level is more expensive and a bit more tricky to use. A laser level may be required, however, if you have to do significant grading work (i.e. make sure the project pitches water in a safe direction).
24” square: Used to make sure corners are square, edges are straight – in other words, to make sure everything is straight and laid properly.
Rake: Used to rake any debris out of the way; also used to level out recycled concrete or to backfill with mulch or topsoil.
Broom: Sweeps off sand and dirt when project is complete; also used to sweep in sand/joint material into the spaces between the brick before the final compacting.
Wheelbarrow: Used to transport material (pavers, sand, recycled concrete) from place to place, if necessary. Hopefully you will be able to move the materials needed as close as possible to the project, because the more wheelbarrowing you have to do will significantly slow down the work process.
Pick: Use this to break up any solid ground.
Marking Crayon: If cuts need to be made, this crayon (or pencil) can be used to make the cut lines.
1″ PVC Pipes: Very important pavers tools. You will probably need two 8′ long pipes. These are laid down on the compacted aggregate base, covered with sand, and then used to screed the sand to a level 1″. The pipes should not be left in, but instead sand should fill in their holes when they are removed from the sand bed.
Screed: Either a long wooden or metal (aluminum) board, this is used to make sand (and sometimes, if needed, crushed aggregate) very precisely level. Use with 1″ PVC pipes.
Utility knife: Used to cut the bands on the pallets of paving stones and for other miscellaneous purposes.
Mason’s chisel: Used to cut pavers (with lump hammer) or for other purposes.
Wooden Board: When laying pavers, it is important not to disturb the sand bed or the already laid pavers. Leaning on the pavers with disproportionate weight and pressure will cause some pavers to sink and get knocked out of place, potentially causing dips and other problems. Thus, when walking on pavers before they are compacted, and when kneeling while installing pavers, lay down long planks of wood to more evenly distribute your weight.
Spray Marking Paint: Can be used to paint lines (of the design) onto grass, dirt, etc. or for making general markings (such as locations of utility lines).
Knee Pads: Because you will be kneeling on pavers and the ground while installing them, these are very important.
Safety Glasses: When cutting brick, wear these to protect your eyes.
Metal Spikes: Used to nail in edging.
Powerwasher or hose: Use the hose to clean down the area and remove excess sand that can’t be swept up. A powerwasher would be overkill for this in the first few months, but eventually you may need it to help remove stains.
Stain remover: There are many different kinds of stain removers out there. Muriatic acid is very harsh but effective. Have some on hand just in case you need to clean pavers.
This is a list of some other stuff you may need on the job site to make the process more fun or less hazardous.
Radio: Listen to music while you work!
Sunscreen: It gets crazy hot when you are on the ground laying the brick. Avoid a nasty sunburn and other harmful effects by applying this liberally.
Drinks: Along the same vein, make sure you have plenty of beverages to keep you hydrated during the day. Water and Gatorade work the best here, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages not so much.
Materials Needed to Install Pavers
Here is a general, and certainly not exhaustive, list of materials you will need for your project. Note that some projects may require other materials, and thus other tools, depending on the kind of work that needs to be done.
Aggregate (base for pavers): Also known as recycled concrete or ¾ modified crushed stone, this is used to provide the paver base on which the paving stones will lay. This type of pavers base is both solid, resisting settling, while also being flexible enough to deal with freeze/thaw cycles and prevent cracking.
Bedding sand (concrete sand, fine sand, paver sand): Pavers sand on top of the aggregate to be the bed for the concrete pavers to lay. Sand for pavers can can also be used in between the joints.
Concrete Pavers: Obviously the most important material for the job. They come on pallets of varying numbers of brick. It’s good to keep some extra ones lying around just in case you need to replace a stained or broken brick sometime down the line.
Edging: Comes in different varieties and materials. The best is aluminum edging, though it’s a bit more pricey. Poured concrete is NEVER a good edging material! All edging products share the same goal: keep the paving stones together and border the new installation. This must be laid down before compacting, otherwise you risk ruining your hard work.
Mulch or Top Soil: Used to back fill around the pavers, especially to cover up the edging or for replanting grass that had to be excavated for the project. Also useful for garden applications.
Fill: Only needed if major grading work needs to be done (that is, leveling out major holes or humps).
Sealer: You will not need this right after installing the pavers, but after a few months you may consider sealing the pavers to protect them from stains and the effects of your climate.