only sand for the base of paver patio?

caviramJune 29, 2007

I'm freaking out. I was told by a salesperson that I didn't actually need base for my paver patio, just sand. So I ordered sand and very expensive pavers (they are 24X24, 12X24, & 12X12). They are delivered and we planned everything to just skip the base. We dug 4 inches thick. We planned to put 2 inches of sand and then the pavers. The salesperson told us that if our ground was hard it would be okay, especially because the pavers are large and heavy.

But as I read more and more directions, they all say to have 4" base of gravel. Then our neighbor told us that about 15" into the ground he hit clay. I don't want to pay for gravel and a delivery charge if I don't need to.

HELP PLEASE. Is it okay to lay larger pavers on sand alone? Our ground is fairly hard- we had to water it a bunch just to dig out 4 inches. And if we do get gravel, is 1 inch enough? I thought maybe I'd put down 1 inches of gravel and 1 inch of sand.

I have a driveway full of sand and pavers. I need to get this finished. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.

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Yes, you have been ripped off by that salesman, feel free to take any retaliation you feel appropriate. No it is not OK. Get real people, an electrician tells you he will run an open wire through water and you smell a rat a freakin' 'salesperson' tells you something and you buy it. Search the net and send it back.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 7:29PM
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tufftufa(Z9 coastal SC)

It may not be as bad as you think. Depending on where you live, you may not need 4" or more of gravel under your sand. Here we never have frozen ground to heave. My landscape paver friend tells me he seldom uses gravel for a patio and recommends that I use a well compacted layer of sand over well compacted soil. And, in my case, the only drainage I need to provide for is for rain on the actual patio because the garden is small and there are gutters.

Hope this helps. Unfortunately we have to keep in mind that the salesperson/customer is an adversarial relationship.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 10:59AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Does it freeze where you live? If so, you need a base.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 2:05PM
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My brother installed pavers in his nearly entire back yard. While he tends to "over-engineer" everything he does, he did use four inches of AB road base and then rented a gas-powered tamper to "whack" everything. If you dont get a firm rock base, the pavers will likely move and will allow organic matter to settle between the stones rsulting in an uneven surface with weeds.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 3:55PM
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I would never use 3/4 minus again. The fines mean:
1) the base doesn't drain as well
2) the fines can wash out
3) fines turn mushy when saturated

For me, its
1) woven geotextile
2) limestone *without* fines
3) woven geotextile
4) oourse sand
5) pavers
6) polymeric sand

This drains far better.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 9:45AM
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I had to lift and re-lay about 120 bricks bordering my garden. Old-fashioned bricks once used for roadways.

I ran across something new, to me anyway, at Home Depot. "Paver Base". It's described as "Limestone screenings". Supposed to be better than sand which had all washed away after 20 years. It's very fine. Packs really well. Looks almost like concrete in the trench after you pack it in.

Surprised no one has mentioned this. Has anyone had any experience with this product?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:16AM
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Ok, So I live in Florida, My entire Yard is fine sand, mateer of fact I was watering some grass seed last night and the water just rolls off the sand like silicone. Can I just SKIP the whole foundation and put in good edging??? My yard was JUST churned up for a new leachfield and now is the perfect time to lay out some pavers.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 1:09PM
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tracyvine(6 NE Ohio)

Hi, I thought I would pop in and add my 2 cents here. First let me tell you that when I was a kid my dad put in a sunken patio. It was 18" below grade and he put down sand and then layed in brick. We had very heavy clay soil so it was thought that settling wouldn't be much of an issue. After a few years the bricks had settled here and there, with standing water after steady rains pooled in the low spots and took quite a while to drain off resulting in some areas accumulating moss. A little slick to walk on and a bit of a hazard after a long time. The bricks were also no longer tightly layed next to each other either. After less than 10 years he ended up laying a piece of outdoor carpet over the bricks to hide the unsightly moss and reduce the chance of slipping. Even with scrubbing the moss regularly with bleach to remove it he ended up losing the battle.

My husband (a bricklayer by trade) put a new patio in at our home and used a limestone screen base. It has been 2 years and there is no settling at this point. Weeds are at a minimum. Occasionally we will have a few pop up but they have been very easy to pull. We used large irregular sized pieces of sandstone for the patio that were reclaimed old sidewalk squares that we decided to break and make into an asymetrical pattern with a brick spiral in the center. So far so good with the crushed limestone base. Excellent drainage, no standing water even after heavy rains. we did install a french drain below the crushed stone to promote even better drainage as well though.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:47AM
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