Why We Spend So Much Time Preparing for Brick Pavers
We love brick pavers for patios, driveways, walkways and retaining walls. They are pretty much the perfect landscaping material. They are made to withstand immense pressure, so they are great for driveways and roads (even an airport runway in Hong Kong is made entirely of brick pavers). They are designed to interlock together creating a solid, yet movable surface. And frankly, they look so much better than other hardscape materials like concrete or asphalt. With all of these great benefits, it’s easy to assume that there isn’t much that needs to be done to prepare an area for a brick paver surface. Many of our Macomb County clients are surprised to learn that there is a lot of preparation before we start laying the pavers. Here is why we spend so much time preparing before we install your brick pavers.
Excavation is the process of removing soil and existing material to make space for your brick paver surface. We may start by removing any old landscaping or hardscape materials that may be in the way, before it’s time to start digging. Excavating soil from the area where you are going to install a new brick paver surface is an exact science. It may not look like we are being particular, but removing the right amount of soil and grading the area the right way is important to creating a level working area and paver surface that will drain water correctly. If we are working in expansive soils or soils that have a lot of clay content, we may actually excavate more material than necessary and then bring in “fill material” or a better quality soil to create the base of your paver hardscape. This critical first step is important to creating a stable and strong paver hardscape.
We use compaction to ensure that the surface we will be laying your brick pavers on, will not settle very much. Soils will settle and move over time – that is inevitable. However, an area that is well compacted will settle less and show less movement over time. We start by compacting the base soil, and any fill material that we bring in. This gives a really good foundation for your brick paver hardscape. Then we add a material called road base. This material is ideal for creating a smooth and easily compacted subbase for your hardscape. We may fill in the area with a few layers of road base and compact each layer, to make a smooth, solid surface for your pavers. If we don’t compact these lower base layers, you would certainly see movement in your pavers after the first big rain storm.
Finishing and Sealing
Just before we start laying your brick pavers, we install a thin, usually 1-inch thick layer of sand over the base. This sand layer will give your pavers a cushioned surface to sit on, and allows for some minor movement and adjustment in your pavers. Following the installation of your pavers, we’ll fill the joints with more sand, to “lock together” the pavers and to create a nearly solid surface. Sealing your brick paver hardscape is the last step, and it isn’t always a necessary step. Some homeowners like the natural look and prefer to leave their pavers unsealed. However, sealing your pavers keeps the sand in joints longer and does provide some protection from water, ice and plants that may want to grow between pavers.
Creating a good base for your new brick paver hardscape is an important first step to creating a beautiful and long-lasting product. We take the time to do this part of the process right, so your new brick paver patio, driveway or walkway will stand the test of time. You are making a big investment with a new paver hardscape, so it should be done right. Fresh Cut Lawn and Landscape has many years of experience installing beautiful paver hardscapes in Macomb County. If you are ready for a home exterior upgrade, call us today at (586) 739-6646 or (248) 650-3600 to schedule an estimate.