No matter how well you lay pavers, the day eventually comes when they start to sink further into the ground. This is usually caused by the weight of the pavers, as well as the general weathering, and shifting of the earth beneath the pavers. However, by actively maintaining your pavers and taking a few steps to prevent sinkage, you can keep your pavers from sinking for many years to come.
To keep pavers from sinking, inspect them regularly, especially after heavy rains or storms. If you notice that they’ve sunken or shifted, use a paver tool to raise them back into place and apply an added layer of polymeric sand to resolidify the joints. Finally, an extra layer of gravel beneath the pavers can help with drainage and a topcoat of sealant can protect the pavers from weathering.
Although it will take a little more work, by properly maintaining your pavers, you can stop them from sinking into the ground. To learn more, continue reading and discover why pavers sink over time, why you should worry about the problem, and how to go about fixing it. By the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to preserve your patio, pathway, or pool deck for years to come.
What Causes Pavers to Sink?
Even with a solid foundation of gravel and sand, your pavers will eventually sink if not properly maintained. The main reason for this is due to erosion of the underlying gravel and sand. Over time, the gravel will start to break down, and the sand will begin to wash away. This process is accelerated by heavy rains, storms, and floods.
Another reason pavers sink is because of the shifting of the earth beneath the pavers. This can be caused by a number of factors, including the freeze-thaw cycle, tree roots, and animal burrowing. Regardless of the reason, when the earth beneath the pavers shifts, it can cause the pavers to sink or settle.
Why Should You Worry About Sinking Pavers?
While it may not seem like a big deal if a few pavers sink, it’s actually a problem you should be concerned about. Once pavers start to sink, they will continue to do so until they’re level with the ground. Not only will this ruin the look of your patio, pathway, or pool deck, but it can also create trip hazards.
Additionally, sinking pavers can lead to drainage problems and allow weeds and grass to grow between the cracks. If you’re not quick to fix the problem, your entire patio could dip into the earth and become swamped by unwanted weeds and water.
Early Prevention is the Best Solution
They say that the best solution to any problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. When it comes to sinking pavers, this is certainly true. Although you can’t stop your pavers from sinking forever, you can slow down the process by regularly inspecting them and making the necessary repairs.
Inspect Your Pavers Regularly
The best way to catch sinking pavers early is to inspect them on a regular basis. This should be done at least once a month, but more often if you live in an area with a lot of rain or storms, or an aggressive freeze-thaw cycle.
During your inspection, look for any pavers that have sunken or shifted out of place. If you notice any problem areas, use a paver tool to raise the pavers back into place or consider replacing them entirely. If you choose the latter option, be sure to rebuild a solid foundation for the new paver. Once level, then apply a new line of polymeric sand to the joints to resolidify them.
Fix Problem Areas Immediately
If you notice any problem areas, it’s important to fix them immediately. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get. Not only will more pavers sink, but the ones that have already sunk will sink further. If the problem is severe, you may need to remove the affected pavers and replace them with new ones. To do so, follow these steps:
- Remove the affected pavers with a trowel or paver tool
- Tamp the ground beneath until it is level
- Apply a layer of gravel and then sand and tamp it again until the foundation is level
- Pour a layer of mortar over the sand and smooth the surface using a trowel
- Press the pavers into the mortar and guarantee that they are even using a leveling tool
Be sure to compact the new pavers and apply a layer of polymeric sand to the joints once the mortar has dried.
Add an Extra Layer of Gravel
Another way to prevent pavers from sinking is to add an extra layer of gravel. This will help with drainage and make it more difficult for the pavers to sink. To do so, simply spread the stones across the top of the existing foundation and compact them into place. Finally, set the pavers back over the foundation and apply a layer of polymeric sand to the joints.
Apply a Sealant to the Top of the Pavers
Applying a sealant is another way to prevent your pavers from sinking. A sealant will protect the pavers from weathering and make it more difficult for water to penetrate and wash away the underlying gravel and sand. Best of all, it will help to keep your pavers looking new and beautiful for many years to come
To apply a sealant, simply roll it over the surface of the pavers with a brush or roller. Be sure to apply a thick layer and avoid getting any on the surrounding grass or plants. Alternatively, you can rent a sprayer from your local hardware store to speed up the process.
Pavers are a great way to add style and function to your home. However, over time, they will start to sink into the ground. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to inspect your pavers regularly and fix any problem areas immediately. Additionally, adding an extra layer of gravel beneath the pavers and applying a sealant can help to prevent sinkage.