Saturday, December 14, 2013

Paver Pathway

A little detour from the before and afters... There are a couple of unfinished projects that are SOOO close to being finished I can not bring myself to posting the afters of the inside yet.  For example, today we are finally going to hang one of the mantels on our fire place.  This house has been around 37 years with out fire place mantels! There is also a chandelier I am almost done refinishing that goes in the kitchen... 

Several people have asked if I would put up a post on how I laid my pavers.  Here is a step by step on how I did it.  

First of all, they way I laid them is not the typical way you lay pavers.  I'll tell you why in a second. And second of all, it is not hard but if you do it right it is a little time consuming.  Coincidentally, yesterday I was flipping through an HGTV magazine and it said you should always be sure to hire a professional if you choose to go the standard 3 x 6 brick pavers.   The reason being, every brick has to line up properly or it will look crooked and sloppy!  I am in no way a professional but I am meticulous about details.  I think my paver pathway looks pretty good.  I will be sure to share a few tricks I learned along the way.

  1. Paver base - I laid our bricks on top of cement.  A lot of times pavers are put on top of a sand base.  A long time ago and my husband and I laid pavers on top of a sand base.  It worked out great but it takes time and patients and was just one more step.  You can find youtube videos on how to do the sand base.  When we were having the driveway poured we had the path poured  a couple inches lower than the driveway height so we could put the pavers right on top.  I did not cement or glue the pavers to the concrete.  I just laid them dry.
  2.  Lay out all the bricks in top of the paver base -  I started in the center of the path (the spot between the front door and driveway)  Since my path is an hour glass that is the most narrow at that point in the path.  Of all the places in the path, the most narrow spot is alway the most obvious if the patten is not centered.  We snapped a chalk line going from my front door to the driveway.  The chalk line was a good guide to keep the pattern straight as we were laying it.

    3. Make sure the pavers are straight and the pattern is straight! - The chalk line was very helpful as a guide to keep the pattern straight but I still had to check from every angle.  If you are doing herring bone you need to check the diagonal and straight on.   Here is how I checked for straightness looking straight on; in the above picture my daughter Amelia is standing at the top of a haring bone point.  You can draw an imaginary straight line from where she is standing alway to the bottom concave point where the pavers have not been laid yet.  I used a rubber mallet (only use rubber or the bricks will break), straight edge and a big chisel pictured below (Sorry don't know what to call it). Most of this part is just eyeing it from every angle.  If I saw an area that was really off I laid the straight edge or a long level on top of the bricks to see where the bricks were the most crooked then hit them into place with the mallet.  I only had to do this on a few rows. I also used the yellow chisel in between bricks to shift middle bricks.  A herring bone pattern along with tumbled brick seem to be more forgiving.  I also did a border around the outside to soften the edge of the path.

    4. Making the cuts-  I used the saw below to make all the cuts.  A friend let me barrow it.  It does not look like much but it made the job so much easier!   It has a 10 inch diamond blade and is like a miter saw and a radial arm saw all in one.  You can cut your pavers with a number of different saws.  But if you have access to one like this it will make your job so much easier. Its probably the best saw cut pavers with.

    Always mark the brick before you cut.  I drew all my marks with a sharpie.  Lay your brick down where you want it to be then use a ruler or something straight to  draw a line where you need to cut the brick.  

    5. Apply jointing sand - The jointing sand is a sand concrete mixture.  You can buy it in the gardening department by the pavers at Lowes or Home Depot.  After all the brick was down and the cuts were made I did one final check for straightness then swept the jointing sand into the cracks.  
    After all the cracks are filled you should use a blower or vacuum to get all the jointing sand off the tops of the brick.  This could take some time but very important.  Once the tops are clean water down the pavers to activate the jointing sand.  Read the directions on the bag.  For my path I had to water it every 15-20 minutes for an hour.   

    *** I did not realize I needed to remove the jointing sand off the tops of the pavers and consequently once the concrete in the jointing sand mix dried I had a gray haze over the top of all my bricks.  This can be remedied with acid.  I mopped on a very diluted mixture of Muriatic Acid (swimming pool acid) and water.  I started with 8 parts water to 1 part acid.  I might have reduced the concentration to 5 parts water to 1 part acid on the final mopping.  It was really easy.  I just used an old yarn mop and generously spread the acid all over the bricks. It bubbled and fizzed for a few seconds.  I had to be careful.  The acid can eat away your pavers if it is on for too long.  And it can burn you.  Wear gloves, boots, glasses and a mask.  With in 5 minutes I washed it off with water.  I repeated the process 3 times.  It probably only took 30 minutes.

    My pavers still have a little gray on top but we like it.  It looks like the pavers have always been there.


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  2. Glad to read the post. Your hard work has came out to be successful result from pictures. Really appreciable work done. Brick paver cleaning sealing michigan is one of the top service to follow.

  3. Installation of the commercial pavers is daunting task, and it cannot be done without seeking professional help from the paving experts in your locality.

    1. Scott-
      Obviously it can be done by a non professional, otherwise this lady wouldn't have been able to complete this tutorial. Thanks for your opinion though!