«  View All Posts

How to Properly Install Pavers: A Step-by-Step Guide

June 19th, 2023 | 2 min. read

By Phil Parsons

Installing pavers can be a great way to improve the look and functionality of your outdoor space. Whether you're building a new patio or just sprucing up your existing one, the process can be a bit daunting. But don't worry.  KP Contracting has you covered with this step-by-step guide on how to properly install pavers.

Step 1: Plan and Prepare the Patio: The first step in any successful paver project is planning. Determine the size and shape of your patio and mark it off with stakes and string. Measure the area and calculate how many pavers you'll need. Your local hardscape supplier can help you with the calculations.  Once you have your plan in place, it's time to prepare the area. Clear the site of any vegetation, rocks, or debris, and level the ground as best you can.

Step 2: Excavate the Patio Site

Now it's time to start digging. Excavate the site to a depth of at least 6 inches, or deeper if your patio is used for heavy traffic or vehicle parking. Make sure to slope the ground away from your house to prevent water from collecting on your patio. You can use a string level to ensure the proper slope of approximately 1 inch of fall for every 5 feet of patio.  

Step 3: Install a Base Stone

 Next, it's time to create a stable base for your pavers. Add a layer of crushed gravel or stone dust to the excavated area and compact it with a plate compactor. You want the base to be 4 to 6 inches thick, so you may need to add additional layers of crushed stone and compact each layer before moving on.

Step 4: Add and Screed the Sand

After you've installed your base layer, it's time to add sand. Spread a layer of sand over the compacted base, and screed it level with a long, straight board. You want the sand layer to be about 1 inch thick.

Step 5: Lay the Pavers in Desired Pattern

Now comes the fun part – laying the pavers. Start at one corner of your patio and work your way out, laying each paver in the pattern of your choice. Make sure to leave a small gap between each paver for joint sand. As you lay each paver, tap it down gently with a rubber mallet to ensure its level.  Many pavers have a tab on the sides of the paver to ensure uniform spacing.

Step 6: Cut Pavers as Needed

If you need to cut pavers to fit around the edges of your patio or to fill in gaps, you can use a diamond blade saw or a chisel and hammer. Be sure to wear eye and ear protection while cutting.  Saws and blades can be found at most equipment rental stores.

Step 7: Install Edge Restraints

Once you've laid all your pavers, it's time to install edge restraints. These can be made of plastic, metal, or concrete, and they'll help keep your pavers in place. Install them around the perimeter of your patio, making sure they're level and secure.  This step may appear unnecessary to some.  But trust me, you will be very disappointed after skipping this step and the sand washes out, the pavers spread and your hard work on a beautiful patio was for nothing.  

Step 8: Add Polymeric or Wet Joint Sand: Finally, it's time to add joint sand. Sweep a layer of sand over your patio and use a broom to work it into the gaps between the pavers. This will help keep the pavers in place and prevent weeds from growing between them.  Give the patio a very light watering to activate the adhesives in the polymer sand. 

Congratulations, you've successfully installed pavers! With a little bit of planning and some elbow grease, you can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and functional oasis. Happy paving!

Phil Parsons

Phil Parsons is an owner at KP Contracting with 20-years’ experience in custom remodeling and the development of outdoor living spaces that bring friends and family together. He is a degreed engineer, and his work has been featured on HGTV.