What is the best base for brick pavers?
A brick patio, walkway or driveway is a serious project that you want installed properly so it lasts for many, many years. As with most construction projects, the base or foundation is the most important part of this process.
Being that we are in the Northeast here in Cicero, NY and the greater Syracuse region, we also have to be concerned with the freeze/thaw cycles that our area endures. This process causes the ground to heave and then settle under a paver patio, driveway or walkway. For this reason, the base is an even more important part of brick paver installation.
How to install a proper base for your brick patio, driveway or walkway.
Patios and walkways only experience pedestrian traffic so a 6 inch base is adequate for these areas. Driveways that will have only light to medium duty vehicles require a 10 inch base due to the weight of the vehicles and the turning forces experienced from the vehicle wheels.
The beginning of installation starts with excavation.
We always excavate a minimum of 8 inches for patios/walkways and 12 inches for driveways. The width of the excavated area must also be 6 inches wider than the desired brick area to support the brick on all sides. Here in the Syracuse area some soils may require additional excavation but we won’t get that in depth here.
The next step is to start installing the base material for your pavers.
We use limestone runner crush for our base material here in the Syracuse area. Base material is compacted in lifts of 4 inches at a time with a gas compactor. When the base material is dry you will want to spray water lightly to aid in the compaction before running the compactor over it. This will help the small and large pieces of stone lock together to form a strong base.
Now is a good time to look for high or low spots and add stone or rake it around for a more even base. Run compactor over entire base again after leveling. The paver base should be pretty flat now, with not more than a ¼” variation in base height.
The final step in brick paver base installation is to install the bedding sand.
We recommend using concrete sand for this base level. Being ICPI Certified Brick Paver Installers we install according to their requirements and that is using concrete sand. The concrete sand is installed between 1” and 2” using galvanized pipes to get a smooth, level base to install the pavers on.
Remember, any deviation in the sand base from completely flat will be seen when you install the bricks so get your base flat with the proper pitch before beginning to lay any pavers.