Layers of Strength
Paving stones are a versatile, and good-looking addition to any outdoor landscape project. Installation is fairly simple, and the homeowner can make use of them right away. To make certain they last though it is important to have a good paving stone base (foundation) and use proper materials.
When preparing a foundation for pavers there are 3 layers to consider. The “subgrade” is the undisturbed soil beneath the future installation. The “subbase” is what covers the subgrade and makes up the middle support layer. And the “grade material” is what you set your paving stones directly on. It represents the final ability to level the stone and fine tunes the finished product.
There are many different materials you can use for your foundation or base all with different qualities and costs. But when choosing a good contractor keeps in mind the following.
- Does the material provide proper drainage?
- How much weight and force does the material withstand?
- Is there enough material and is it deep enough to keep frost from heaving your work?
- Does the material give you the ability to level everything properly?
A few Good Choices
Here are two good materials and why they are commonly used for paving stone and masonry bases.
Washed Concrete Sand
Sand is popular as it spreads easy and is usually available as a building product. On its own, sand tends to move or shift, and a perfectly level surface can quickly look unstable and ununiformed. That is why, at varying degrees, crushed stone is mixed with sand to firm up the base. Not all sand is the same. Washed concrete sand is the best texture and consistency for pavers.
Crushed Stone consists of small pieces of similar sized stone pieces. Usually, granite, dolomite and limestone are the best types of crushed stone. Not only does it drain water well, but the uniformity of stone size easily compacts into a concrete like density. A ¾” stone that includes the dust produced from its manufacturing process combines to be the subbase.
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