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Old 08-26-2011, 02:01 AM   #1
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Making Your Own Pavers... Is It Worth It?


Wanting to start on some backyard landscaping in the spring. That gives me ample time to plan, design, prepare and save up funds. It just so happens that I was looking for something to spend my Amazon gift cards on when I stumbled upon paver molds.

The Quikrete molds make it looks so darn easy. Place, pour, scrape, lift, repeat. They dry in place on top of the underlayment. How realistic is this? Will they last even a fraction of the time a commercially made paver would?

Then I got the idea of framing my own molds. Heck, why not. We've made plenty of our own forms in the past, and they'd be made by somebody who has years of exerpeince building forms for commercial construction. I want to be able to build in phases over a year, but won't be able to buy all of the materials at once if I go with commercially made pavers. I'm afraid that I'll get half of the back yard done and they'll discontinue whatever I'm working with.

Let me say this up front: I know it would be time consuming. But assuming my time is worth exactly $0, is it even worth trying? Would sack quick mix cement even hold up well enough to justify the materials cost?
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:06 AM   #2
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Two questions:
1)How large of an area are you considering doing?
2)Do you have a cement mixer, or are you doing it all by hand?

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I'm afraid that I'll get half of the back yard done and they'll discontinue whatever I'm working with.
Is that any better than doing half of the back yard done and figuring it out that its waaaay too much work.

Our neighbor offered me the use of one of those forms. I passed. I know my limitations, I would have done a bag or two and got tired of the process (and we have a cement mixer).

Last edited by Blondesense; 08-26-2011 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:26 PM   #3
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1) Considering doing several projects that would all connect together in a final phase. At least a 90 sq ft curved walkway first, followed by a 192 sq ft rectangular patio. If it worked out well, I'd consider additional new projects, like a BBQ area. There's also a patchwork of old pours that I'd planned to epoxy or stain, but I'd consider gradual replacement if I could do it in sections and still have it match.

2) Don't own a mixer, not real interested in having to store one. Would eliminate most of the savings earned by making my own.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:44 PM   #4
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Your time must be worth something.

That statement is disturbing. Why not grind your own rocks into sand? That would save money,too.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:51 PM   #5
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Allow me to qualify that statement.

First, I'm a salaried worker. Therefore, there's no opportunity cost from wages for pouring my own. That is, I can't just say "well, I'll go to work for an extra hour/day/whatever to make up the extra $$ that buying pre-made will cost me". When I was paid hourly, that's often the route I'd take.

Second, and this is the odd one, it looks like a lot of fun to me. I don't come into this completely blindly: I worked as a tilesetter's helper for some a period of time, so I'm no stranger to hand-mixing. I've always had an interest in masonry, one that I've never acted on.

Like I said, I'm on the edge about this. And I know that most of the time/cost is going to be in grading/compacting/underlayment.

Maybe I'm going about it the wrong way. Lets take a step back:

Are HD/Lowes sticker prices a reasonable number for estimating materials cost, or would I be better off using a different supplier?
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:53 PM   #6
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That's work 71- 80lb bags just for the areas you gave and $3.50 a bag at Lowes. $248.50 plus $20-25 or the mold. Good thing labor is free.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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Is there a difference in durability between commercially made and DIY sack cement pavers?

Should I be looking at paver prices somewhere other than at HD/Lowes?
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:30 AM   #8
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I wouldn't think of doing this even if materials and a mixer were free. You'll never get the consistency of quality and look that a mfg'd block will provide IMO.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:53 AM   #9
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That's a very good point. I'm looking for a high degree of consistency. In fact, I had assumed that I could maintain better consistency than the manufactured pavers because I would be able to control added dye amounts myself.

Leaning back towards manufactured.
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