Renovating your backyard patio or driveway can take a lot of time, energy, and money, especially if you’re laying pavers. Understandably, you may be wondering whether you can cut costs and reduce labor by only using sand rather than pouring a solid foundation. While it may seem like a good idea in the short term, you should know a few things ahead of time.
Using only sand to lay your pavers will not be as stable as using a solid foundation, and over time the sand will begin to shift and settle. This can cause your pavers to become uneven and can eventually lead to cracking and breaking. In the long run, it is best to use a solid foundation to lay your pavers.
If you were only planning to use sand to lay your pavers, continue reading to learn more. This guide will explain what can happen if you fail to create a solid foundation beneath your pavers and also offer a handful of tips to improve your backyard or driveway renovation.
Why a Solid Foundation Matters?
Whenever you are laying pavers, it is important to start with a solid foundation. This will help to ensure that your pavers stay level and even. It will also help to prevent shifting and settling, which can cause your pavers to crack and break.
Without a solid foundation, your pavers will be more likely to settle into the ground and become uneven. This can create a trip hazard and make it difficult to walk on your patio or driveway. In addition, any cracks or breaks in your pavers will become more visible.
A solid foundation will also help to prevent weeds from growing up through your pavers. Weeds can be difficult to remove, and they can cause cracks to form in your driveway or patio.
What Goes Into a Solid Foundation?
There are several different ways that you can create a solid foundation for your pavers. One way is to use gravel, mortar, and sand. To start, you will need to excavate the area where you will be laying your pavers. Next, you will need to add a layer of gravel. The gravel will help to improve drainage and will also provide a solid base for your pavers.
After you have added the gravel, you will need to add a layer of mortar. The mortar will help to hold your pavers in place and will also prevent them from shifting. Finally, you should add a layer of sand. The sand will help to level out your pavers and will also provide a smooth surface for them to rest on.
Then, after you have added all of the layers, you will need to compact the area. This will help to ensure that your pavers are level and even. Using a leveling tool, double-check that the pavers are properly in place and then spread jointing sand over the top.
Sweep any excess away, leaving just enough between the cracks, and then use a hose to spray water over the pavers. The jointing sand will harden into a bond, keeping your pavers firmly in place.
How Deep Should the Foundation Be?
The depth of your foundation will depend on the type of pavers that you are using and the quality of your soil. Soil rich in clay will shift more over time and heavier pavers will sink if not supported by a deep foundation:
- If you are using concrete pavers, you will need to excavate the area to a depth of at least six inches.
- If you are using brick pavers, you will need to excavate the area to a depth of at least eight inches.
- If you are using stone pavers, you will need to excavate the area to a depth of at least 10 inches.
Once you have excavated the area to the appropriate depth, you will need to add the gravel, mortar, and sand.
How Much of the Foundation Should be Sand?
Although you should dig a fairly deep foundation, only a small portion of it will be occupied by sand. The rest of the foundation will be made up of gravel and mortar. As a general rule, you shouldn’t use more than 1 inch of sand, otherwise, it will begin to shift and settle. This doesn’t include jointing sand, though. For jointing, use as much as is needed to fill the cracks in the pavers.
How Can You Cut Costs Without Sacrificing the Foundation?
One way to cut costs is to use less mortar. Although mortar is important, you only need a thin layer. If you use too much, it will begin to crack and crumble over time. For a thinner layer of mortar, mix one part cement with three parts sand. This will still be sturdy enough to support your pavers without costing as much.
Another way to cut costs is to use recycled materials. You can often find recycled pavers, gravel, and sand at your local home improvement store. These materials are just as good as new ones and will cost a fraction of the price. If you cannot find recycled materials, speak with a customer service representative at your local hardware store.
You can also cut costs by doing some of the work yourself. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can excavate the area, add the gravel, and add the mortar. If you are unsure of how to do any of these things, you can always ask for help at your local home improvement store or speak to a professional landscaper.
Although you may be tempted to use only sand to lay your pavers, it is not recommended. Over time, the sand will begin to shift and settle, which can cause your pavers to become uneven and can eventually lead to cracking and breaking. In the long run, it is best to use a solid foundation to lay your pavers. For more assistance, contact a professional landscaper today.