A patio enhances a backyard with a stylish surface for sharing outdoor meals and entertaining. Laying a patio with pavers is a fitting project for do-it-yourselfers because you can customize the design and lay the pavers over a basic gravel and sand foundation. Sand-setting pavers uses a dry method of installation that makes it simple to adjust or replace pavers as needed. Paver patios take days to install and last for years.
Pavers are carved or molded from stone, brick or concrete. They're strong and weather-resistant, and come in a range of colors, including the natural hues of stones. You can blend reds and grays or choose stained concrete pavers in forest green or gold. Compared with tiles and snapped stones, pavers are more affordable and easier to install because they are smaller and lighter.
The uniform shape of pavers make them a versatile option if you want to create your own pattern or follow a classic design like a basket weave. You can also purchase interlocking paver kits, which includes pavers that are pre-cut to lock together in an intricate pattern. Once you have the patio site staked out, dry-lay the pavers according to your design. If you need to cut any to fit the shape, snap a chalk line over the pavers and use a dry chisel and a hammer or a diamond-chipped blade to make the cut.
Paver patios last a long time when built over a solid foundation. One advantage to installing a paver patio on sand is that you don't have to rush as you do with mortar. Sand set pavers are typically laid over a 6-to-8-inch foundation of compacted aggregate. The aggregate allows moisture to escape from beneath the patio while supporting the pavers above. Edge restraints are installed around the interior borders to keep the pavers from moving, and the sand bedding levels the base. When placing the pavers, sand is added or removed to adjust the height of the pavers until they are even with one another.
The final step to installing a paver patio is compacting masonry sand between the joints to pad the pavers from each other and keep debris from the crevices. Though pavers are waterproof, applying a coat of sealant over the patio will preserve the color, hold the sand in the joints and make it easier to clean stains and dirt from the surface. Reapply sealant every two or three years according to the amount of traffic and chemicals the surface is exposed to.
- Photo Credit patio image by fotogisÃ¨le from Fotolia.com
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