Installing interlocking stone pavers is an easy and simple. Basically Pavers are set on a dry bed of quarry dust or sand.
For large paved areas compact the surface of the excavated soil with a plate compactor. However, sometimes it may be necessary to use a heavy vibrating roller to compact the base depending on the soil condition of the site. For walkways, a hand tamper may be sufficient. Fill the area with 3/4” minus crushed stone, solid soil or aggregate approximately 5” thick. Compact this with the plate compactor. Wetting the gravel lightly with water will help with the compacting. When you can walk on the gravel without causing an indentation you can add the next layer of gravel and compact it. Continue to add gravel in layers until the base is approximately 3” to 3-1/2” from the desired level of the finished grade. Make sure to provide a slope to the surface.
Constructing the Setting Bed
A simple and accurate way to establish final grading and a good setting bed is to use a process known as screeding. Obtain screeding rails of approximately 25 mm (1") diameter or thickness (pipe is ideal). Set the screeding rails on the compacted base and use a transit or 4’ hand level to check that the grades are accurate. Allow for a 20-25% rate of compaction for the uncompacted setting bed when setting rails. Carefully shovel the bedding sand around and between the rails. Run a screeding board, such as a straight 2x4 timber along the top of the rails to level the sand evenly. Reset the rails as needed to screed the entire project. Screed only the area you are able to cover with product on that same day.
Starting in a 90º corner, lay the interlocking pavers in the pattern you have chosen. Work outwards keeping all joint lines straight. Use string lines pulled along joint lines and parallel to the edge restraints or, chalk lines snapped on the surface of the sand bed to keep the joint lines straight.
Periodically check the alignment of the rows by stringing a line along the front edge of the leading row. Each paver should touch the string. If adjustment is needed use a screwdriver and hammer to move it into place. Work off the pavers you have already installed but stay away from the edge so you do not disturb the sand bed. Install remaining edge restraints. Do not try to turn the pavers with curves in your laying pattern. Cut pavers to fit along the edge restraints.
Edge Restraint installation
The purpose of edge restraints is to provide a solid barrier to prevent the pavers from rolling or spreading. They should always be used. You can use concrete or Precast concrete curbs. BELGARD recommends using precast curbs because they are easy to install, are very durable and will accent your paving stone. However if additional curb cost is over the budget, you may use a concrete barrier as edge restraint.
Compacting & Setting
Sweep the surface with a brush to remove any debris. Spread masonry sand over the surface, sweeping it into the joints leaving surplus sand on the pavers. Tamp the pavers down using the plate compactor. The excess sand on the pavers will cushion the surface and the vibration will assist in filling the joints. Spread more masonry sand if required. Make two or three passes at 90º to each other and re-sweep the surface.
Sweep the remaining excess dry sand over the surface filling the joints. You will have to repeat this few times to fill the gaps correctly with sand. Then a plate compactor can be used to even out the blocks. The next rain will settle the surface well.