Laying pavers can add a touch of class and style to your outdoor design but, if you’ve never worked with pavers, the installation process can seem quite stressful. From leveling the ground to building a foundation, there are several important steps that you have to get right. For example, something as simple as not laying enough sand can affect the quality of your patio, walkway, or pool deck.
The amount of sand needed for a paver project depends on the size of the project and the thickness of the sand layer. Generally, you need about 2-3 inches of sand for a patio or walkway, and 3-4 inches of sand for a pool deck. To calculate the amount of sand you need, you need to know the area of the project, the thickness of the sand layer, and the density of the sand.
While this may sound like a lot to calculate, this guide will explain everything you need to know to perfectly lay pavers. We’ll discuss why sand matters, how to prepare the foundation, and how to measure the amount of sand you’ll need to get a professional quality finish.
Understanding the Layers of a Foundation
Although you could technically lay pavers directly over the topsoil, this isn’t recommended as your patio, walkway, or pool deck won’t last long before subsidence and movement occur. This is why you need to create a sturdy foundation, so the pavers are secure in place and can withstand the weight of foot traffic and furniture.
Before you start laying sand, you’ll need to prepare the ground properly. First, you need to remove any grass, weeds, and vegetation, and then excavate between 4 and 12 inches into the ground, depending on the surface. For walkways, the ideal foundation should sit between 4 to 6 inches deep, and, for driveways, it should go as far as 12 inches.
You’ll then begin to create the foundation for your pavers. This consists of three layers:
- Base Layer: The base layer is usually made up of gravel and crushed stones, which act as a foundation for the pavers and help with drainage.
- Sand Layer: The sand layer is placed on top of the base layer, and it helps to fill in any gaps and provide a level surface for the pavers.
- Paver Layer: The paver layer is the top layer, and it consists of the actual pavers that you’ll be using.
You may even choose to add layers of geotextile fabric between the gravel and sand, as well as interlocking sand to bond the pavers together.
Calculating the Amount of Sand You’ll Need
Now that you understand the importance of the sand layer and the other layers, it’s time to calculate how much sand you’ll need for your project. To do this, you’ll need to know the area of your project, the sand layer’s thickness, and the sand’s density.
The area of your project is simply the length multiplied by the width, and it can be easily calculated with a measuring tape. The thickness of the sand layer depends on the size of the project, but it’s usually between 2 and 4 inches. Finally, the density of the sand should be determined by the manufacturer.
Once you have all this information, you can use the following equation to calculate the amount of sand you need:
Amount of Sand (in cubic feet) = Project Area (in square feet) x Sand Layer Thickness (in feet) x Sand Density (lbs/cubic feet)
For example, if you’re creating a patio that’s 20 feet long and 10 feet wide, with a sand layer thickness of 3 inches and a sand density of 100 lbs/cubic feet, the amount of sand you need would be 20 ft x 10 ft x 0.25 ft x 100 lbs/cubic feet = 500 cubic feet of sand.
As you can see, calculating the amount of sand you need for your paver project is relatively easy and, once you have the right measurements, you can begin laying your pavers.
Why the Type of Sand You Use Matters?
Before you start excavating or laying a foundation, it’s important that you use the correct type of sand when building a foundation for pavers. If you try to use standard fine-grained sand, it may contain small particles that could make your foundation unstable. For the best results, we recommend using coarse-grained cement sand made especially for construction purposes.
This type of sand is made from quartz and its large particles make it ideal for use with pavers. Not only can it help to create a stable foundation, but it also has a low water absorption rate, which can help to prevent mold and mildew, as well as subsidence.
Brush Polymeric Sand Between the Pavers After Setting Them in Place
Last but not least, you’ll also what to use an additional type of sand known as polymeric sand. This type of sand is made from a mixture of sand and polymers, and it’s designed to fill in all the gaps and crevices between the pavers. Not only does this help to prevent weeds and grass growth, but it also helps to keep the pavers in place.
Once you’ve laid all the pavers in place, you can use a brush to sweep the polymeric sand over the top and into the cracks. Then, spray the surface of the pavers with water to seal the polymeric sand into place. This will help to create a strong bond between the pavers, and it can also help to prevent water from seeping into the foundation.
As you can see, laying pavers requires careful planning and preparation. From excavating the ground to measuring the amount of sand needed, there are several essential steps that must be followed to ensure the best results. Now that you know how to calculate the amount of sand you need for your paver project, you can begin laying the foundation and create your dream patio, walkway, or pool deck.