Installing brick pavers can produce a multitude of patterns and colors, all chosen by the DIY’er. There are just tons of brick paver sizes, shapes and colors available at home centers and masonry suppliers today. Make sure you take the time to visit several sellers before picking out the final products for your walkways. Installing a paver walkway is not very difficult but does require a good deal of manual labor. If the walkway is not directly adjacent to an area that the pallets can be placed when delivered, then the amount of labor increases as you have to move the pavers over a distance to the actual work area. This is the area of work where friends can be a great help.
Start your project by laying out the walkway itself. A garden hose is an excellent tool for layout if the new walkway will have curves. Layout the hose as close to the shape as you desire and then fine tune it until it is exactly correct. Using regular lawn lime and a paper cup, mark the hose location and that will be one side of the new walk. Wash the hose and make sure you wash the lime from your hands. It is great for lawns and eco-friendly. A handy tool you will use over and over is to cut a two by four, six inches longer than your walkway is wide. It can be used during layout to assure you have prepared a wide enough area for the pavers and then as a screed board to level the base sand under the pavers themselves. Now, remove the soil, gravel, earth, etc. from the walkway area plus at least three inches on each side. You want to excavate the walkway at least two inches deeper than the thickness of the paver stones. If you want the stones to be flush with the adjoining lawn or driveway, measure the stones thickness and add two inches and excavate to that depth.
Once the excavation is completed, you will place at least two inches of stone dust or concrete sand in the bottom of the excavation. Using your two by four screed board and a carpenters level, level the sand keeping it slightly higher than what you want the finished product. Once the sand is in place, a gasoline powered mechanical tamper must be used to thoroughly compact the sand. Keep in mind that the sand will settle when compacted and additional material may have to be added across the walk to attain the final finished compacted height. You want to be very fussy when doing this work. The final walkway surface will reflect whatever defects you have left behind in the way of dips or bumps in the sand. Make sure the compacted sand/dust is at least three inches wider on each side than the finished walkway width.
Using a string line to maintain the location of one side of the walk is always a good idea. If one side is straight the other side will follow. Start laying your paver stones in whatever pattern you chose. Straight line, lap bond, diagonal, herringbone or any pattern you can think of is fine. Work across the full width of the walk and if you have a helper using a wet saw, cutting and placing any smaller pieces will greatly speed the work. As you complete an area, install a plastic brick edge retainer strip along with the supplied ground nails or stakes. Holding the retainer as tight to the pavers as possible, drive the ground nails into the ground securing the retainer strip in place. This prevents any sideways movement of the pavers. Proceed with paver installation until all pavers are installed.
Using whatever material you used as a sub base for the walkway, cast this material across the top of all the pavers and using a good stiff broom, sweep the sand/dust back and forth and diagonally over the pavers forcing as much material down into the joints as they will accept. When using stone dust, many contractors will also soak the dust making it settle even more tightly into the joints. You must now run compactor back and forth over the entire walkway surface. The compactor will not only settle the sand/dust into the joints it also pushes the pavers down into the sub base locking them into place. Use some hearing protection during this phase as it will be very, very noisy.
Once the paver compaction work is complete, go ahead and replace whatever the surrounding area materials were. If it was lawn area, topsoil and seed the disturbed areas, burying the plastic retainer strip as you proceed. A brick paver walkway will last your lifetime and will become prettier with age.
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