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Old 07-17-2010, 09:25 AM   #1
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paver patio - is plate compactor necessary?

Hello, got a question for you all...
Just finished laying abt. 250 sq. ft of pavers. We did compact all layers of the foundation with a plate vibrator. My first course of pavers is butting against the house, with about 3 inches of each paver resting directly on top of the foundation footing, (only about 1/4 in bedding sand between that half of the pavers and the cement footing) which juts out from the house about 3 inches. The other half of that first course is resting on the base sand like the rest of the pavers. We had to lay the first course on the foundation footing like this because of height issues. We compacted the base sand before laying the pavers, then added a little more sand to seat them in. I am a little worried about running a plate compactor over the finished patio. Problem is, we'll have to skip this first course when we run the compactor, bc/ it'll break them right where they cross over the foundation footing, right? However, if we skip that first course, then run the compactor over the rest, will they sink too much and look lower than that first uncompacted course of pavers? Can we just sweep in lots of joint sand and water it to settle the sand and lock in the pavers, or is the compactor totally necessary?

Thanks! Jake


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Old 07-17-2010, 11:05 AM   #2
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Clay pavers or interlocking concrete pavers? The concrete are most common and get the interlock from the laying pattern and the fine sand (masonry sand - not concrete sand) that is spread the pavers and vibrated into the tight joints for strength and to even out the surface. This also increase the stability and prevents any "rocking" and differential settlement. Since this is just a patio and not a driveway, street or a taxiway for a jumbo jet, it might be adequate.

For your paver sitting on the concrete footing, you may get the usual settlement brcause of the different bases. The best way to handle this is to lay a paver or solid concrete block on the concrete and butt the pavers up to the portion on concrete.

Since you did not give your location, it is impossible what effect the frost heaving, if any, will have over the life of the patio. Except for the thin 1" layer of sand for a setting bed, your base should really be a compacted base material (used under most pavements).

For the next project, the Interlocking concrete Paving Institute has a great web site ( for installation suggestions for all types of pavers.



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Old 07-17-2010, 01:45 PM   #3
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Jake, final compaction is necessary. That is what stabilizes and provides interlock amongst the pavers. If your concerned about elavation difference in the field, then you should most likely incorporate additional bedding material within the first foot or two into the field from your soldier course. Make sure that the field elevation is slightly higher then your soldier course, approx 1/8" - 1/4". Once you compact your field it should drop down to the same elevation as your soldier course. Hope this helps. Here's a link on final compaction.

Good Luck.

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Old 07-18-2010, 05:52 AM   #4
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You definitely want to compact the pavers into the sand bed. There will be a height difference between the pavers over the concrete and the rest of the patio.

Here is what I would do: pull up the pavers that are sitting on top of the concrete footing (yes , they could break if you run the plate compactor over them). Run your compactor over the pavers- sweep more sand between the joints and repeat. Now go back to the pavers you pulled up- you'll need a saw to cut down the thickness of these pavers to match the finished elevation of the rest of the patio. I would cut thickness about 1/2" additional to allow for sand. Set the pavers in place, use a mallet to tamp them down and add sand to the joints.
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