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By: Stacey Smith

Preliminary Planning

Initial planning and preparation are key factors that will ensure a successful and lasting paving stone installation. Proper planning guarantees fine quality work and makes everyone's task easier.

Sketch a detailed diagram of the area to be paved, including all measurements required to calculate the amount of material needed. The area being paved should contain some form of edge restraint.

Certain equipment is required to complete this work adequately. You will need a rake, shovel, tape measure, coarse bristle broom, masonry string line, line level, mechanical plate tamper, and some form of stone cutting equipment. Pavingstones, LLC as well as our distributors and contractors can assist you in obtaining the necessary materials and equipment needed to complete your paving stone installation.

Base Preparation

Before you dig call the following companies to ensure your safety: Hydro, Telephone, Gas, Cable Television, etc. They will provide you the location of underground services.

1. Remove old pavement and/or existing soil, then excavate to the proper depth depending on the type of traffic.

2. Spread gravel (also referred to as 3/4" crushed rock or equivalent), uniformly throughout the excavated area. Using the mechanical tamper, compact the entire area evenly. A sprinkling of water, prior to compaction, will increase the density of the base material and control dust. Do not compact the base material in layers of more than 3 inches. NOTE: Prior to base preparation, water run-off and grade detail should be considered.

3. The compacted base must be uniform and should conform to contour of finished job. The elevation of the compacted base should be uniform 3 1/4" to 3 3/4" below the finished paving stone surface. (The measurement below finished grade will depend on choice of paver thickness used on job)

4. Following the completed base preparation, edge restraints are installed to prevent lateral movement of interlocking stones and to enhance the aesthetic appearance of your installation. Edge restraints may be set in a manner to sit flush with, or slightly, below your completed paving stone surface. Granular material is used as backfill on the outer edge of restraint which meets sod or softer material.

NOTE: Care should be taken in determining the width of the area being paved in order to minimize cutting of pavers, and optimize the use of edge pieces.


5. Spread 1" deep of 5/16" crushed gravel evenly over the compacted base to establish a bedding for placement of concrete pavers. Using 1" diameter pipe for this process will ensure proper depth. (note: the national standard is sand, but we have found sand to absorb moisture and produce rolling/heaving motions over time)

6. Screeding must be done to ensure that an even bedding surface is established. A screed board (i.e. 2"x4") is used to smooth the bedding layer to the shape of the completed surface. For distances greater than 12 feet, use a screed guide to level the bedding layer. Avoid walking on the screeded surface.

Installation of Pavingstones

7. Commence placing pavers on the screeded bed in the pattern you wish to use. It is important that the pavers being installed are being taken from 2 to 3 bundles to ensure a proper color dispersion. Start installation of pavers at the edge and in a corner if possible. This will maximize the use of edge stones and minimize the amount of cutting. You may also need to take into consideration if designing a picture/design with pavers for placement.

8. Hand place the stones close together. Spaces between individual units should be consistent with an allowable maximum of 1/8". With the installer standing on the laid paving stones, the next row is placed. The occasional use of masonry string will ensure that your installation pattern will continue to run true throughout the project. To verify accuracy, the string should run along the front row of pavers. A screwdriver or small pry bar is used to move the pavers into proper alignment.

9. Any paving stone cutting should be done upon completion of laying your paving stone pattern. Using a stone cutter or masonry saw, stone should be cut to fill the spaces. If cut pavers leave small gaps, these can be filled with jointing sand (ASTM 30).

10. Once all pavers have been placed, sweep the entire paving stone surface clean in preparation for tamping. Sweeping also aids in the removal of any foreign deposits that are on the pavers.

Job Completion

11. Using a mechanical plate tamper, begin tamping the entire paving surface in both directions until the surface is bedded down uniformly. Replace any damaged stones at this time.

12. Broadcast jointing sand (ASTM C-33) over entire paving stone surface. Begin sweeping sand to ensure that all joints are completely filled.

13. Leaving all excess jointing sand on the paving stone surface, tamp the finished area a second time and continue sweeping jointing sand and compacting until all joints are completely filled.

14. You may decide to use a paving stone sealer to enhance and protect the natural beauty of the paving stone. It is recommended that you seal the pavers several months after installation. Contact Pavingstones, LLC @ 208-887-9600 to obtain the proper type of sealer.

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