paver patio and walkways - basic design - nanaimo
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A quality, long lasting paver patio starts with the prep work and base.  In order to build a functional but also durable paver patio, there are a handful of simple steps that must be followed if you hope to enjoy your patio 10,15 or 20 years from now.

STEP 1: The patio area must be excavated deep enough to provide space for at least 5' of compacted road base, 1' of sand, and the thickness of the pavers (usually 2 3/8").  In some instances more base may be needed if there is an issue with the stability of the ground beneath the patio.  

STEP 2: After excavation, the sub base is compacted and a layer of geo textile filter fabric is laid down to keep the base separated from the ground below, it is more important in certain types of soil.  Many patios are built without this fabric but at $175 for a 1000 square foot roll, it is basically a cheap insurance policy on your patio.  Paver patios are not meant to be sinking and uneven after just a few short years.

STEP 3: We will then spread crushed road base 2" at a time while compacting and levelling it to the proper grade for drainage.  A patio should have a slight pitch away from your home, usually dropping 1/8" for every foot for drainage, water is a paver patios worst enemy.  

A pedestrian walkways must have a minimum of a 4" base, while a driveway which will sustain much heavier loads, should have 12". All contractors in Nanaimo will have a slightly different way of doing things, but these general guidelines should always be followed.

STEP 4: After the base is perfect, we will then lay down another layer of filter cloth, before spreading 1" of masonry sand which is what the pavers will be set upon.  This layer of filter fabric is usually forgone by most, but it will also keep the sand from mixing into the base below.  It is important that no more than 1" of sand is used.

STEP 5: After the pavers have all been laid in the correct pattern, we use a wet saw to make the cuts on any curves or leftover gaps.  This can be a time consuming task but must be done carefully.

STEP 6: A plastic edge restraint is installed tight along the pavers and secured with galvanized spikes.   The edging can then be covered up with soil, enabling grass or gardens to be right next to the pavers, where as concrete edging will look unsightly in many cases.

STEP 7: The pavers will then be compacted before a layer of polymeric sand is spread and swept into the cracks of the pavers, before compacting one final time.  A light mist is applied to the pavers which will set and harden the polymeric sand, making a great looking finish.

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How much does a patio COst?

There are many variables to a paver patio such as access for materials and excavation, types of paver used, amount of curves and necessary cutting, patterns, etc.  Nanaimo is known to have some difficult terrain.  There are a lot of labour intensive steps and materials aren't exactly cheap.  The bigger the job, the less per square foot cost, but expect the price to be anywhere from $15-20/square foot for most projects.

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New Home?

When a new home is built, the area near the foundation will be backfilled with loose fill several feet down.  This area, a few feet wide, will settle for a few years after completion and it is not wise to build any sort of hardscaping on this area called the "over dig".  In order to successfully build near a freshly completed foundation, the area must be excavated all the way down to the native soil, filled with gravel while being compacted, which is possible but will be expensive.  It is impossible to compact that much fill with conventional machinery, when the ground settles, it settles from the bottom, so you can compact the top but it will have little effect.  It is usually a better idea to just wait, or build a patio/walkway somewhere away from the house.  Be sure to remember this during any consultations you have with local contractors in Nanaimo.