Top Tips for Paver Patios
By Tom Matthews
The time-honored look of brick paver patios is as popular today as ever. For homeowners in search of a backyard retreat for relaxing and entertaining, installing a paver patio makes an excellent do-it-yourself project to enhance the backyard and increase the value of the home. EHT offers a few building tips from the patio pros.
Use Clay Pavers
For patios, sidewalks and any walking surface, clay pavers represent the best value for the money because they’re manufactured with the intention to be pavers rather than intended for vertical applications.
Years ago, clay pavers were made at the end of a “batch” of face bricks—the bricks that are used to build the walls of homes and businesses. As a result, they were fired in a kiln the same length of time as the face bricks. And while face bricks do a fine job of holding up a wall when they are expertly laid by an experienced bricklayer, they are not engineered to support vehicular traffic.
Clay pavers that are meant to be pavers are more durable than face bricks (they withstand up to 13,000 lbs. per square-inch of pressure, which is greater than concrete). They’re colorfast, they do well in extreme heat and freezing cold, and they are a consistent size, which makes installation easier.
Plan Size & Layout According to Use
Gather all the furniture and amenities that you will regularly want on your patio—grill, table and chairs, fire pit, etc.—and arrange everything in a logical and user-friendly location. You can then use a rope or spray paint to outline the patio area to give you a visual estimate of its size requirements.
Locate Underground Utilities
Before breaking ground on your patio, call 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” number, designated by the FCC to protect American homeowners and professional excavators from the injuries, expenses and penalties caused by digging-related accidents that result in damages to underground utilities.
Sometimes, the design of the patio will depend on what’s already there. Keep in mind where the utilities are located and determine a safe way to get materials in and out of the construction site.
Choose your Base
A paver patio can be built with two methods of constructing the sub-base. A patio with a rigid base has pavers that are mortared in place. A patio with a flexible base is built with sub-layers of compacted gravel and sand.