How to Cover a Concrete Patio With Pavers (DIY)

How to Cover a Concrete Patio With Pavers (DIY)

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Deciding On The Patio Design

When it comes to concrete patios, there’s only one option for design because they are concrete slabs. Sure you can color the concrete, or stamp it, but it’s going to be one solid piece. 

With pavers, there are different types of pavers so you’ll need to choose among a variety of sizes and shapes. 

Pavers can be natural stone or engineered. Concrete pavers are engineered stones. They are used to create patios, paths or walkways. They can be square or come in natural stone shapes and be laid in a wide variety of patterns.

Popular choices for pavers are:

  • Brick pavers
  • Flagstone
  • Fieldstone
  • Cobblestone
  • Concrete patio stone

If you want a natural look, you’ll either want a natural stone patio, or go the DIY concrete stepping stone route like I did for this front yard walkway.

With concrete paving stones are a minimum of 1½” thick and can be laid with large or narrow gaps. With large gaps, you have the option of filling them in with decorative stone or moss.

If you need to add a little privacy to your patio, check out these amazing DIY patio privacy screen ideas. Here are 39 other easy and budget-friendly patio ideas.

And to prepare for the cooler weather, when you’ll be working on those indoor home improvements, here are 37 amazing fireplace remodel ideas.


Pavers Over Concrete: Assemble the materials

The materials for this 12 x 14-ft. patio cost about $850, or $5 per sq. ft. Using less expensive pavers, you could cut the cost by almost half. Most landscape suppliers and home centers stock all the materials, but you may have to do a little hunting for the right combination of pavers. The pavers used for the border must be at least 3/4 in. thicker than the “field” pavers, which cover the area between the borders. That thickness difference will allow for a bed of sand under the field. A difference of more than 3/4 in. is fine; you’ll just need a little more sand. If you can’t find thick pavers you like, consider retaining wall cap blocks for the border. We used cement pavers (concrete patio blocks) for the border and clay pavers for the field.

To estimate how much sand you’ll need, grab your calculator. First determine the square footage of the sand bed. Then divide that number by 12 for a 1-in. bed or 18 for a 3/4-in. bed. That will tell you how many cubic feet of sand to get. You can have a load of sand delivered or save the delivery fee by picking up a load yourself with a truck or trailer. Most home centers also sell bagged sand. A 50-lb. bag (1/2 cu. ft.) costs about $3.

Figure A: Pavers Over Concrete Slab

This technique requires two types of pavers. Glue

This technique requires two types of pavers. Glue thicker pavers to the concrete on the perimeter and lay thinner pavers on a sand bed. The resulting look is one of our favorite patio block ideas.

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Step 4: Laying the Pavers

It is now time to begin laying the pavers onto the bedding sand and fitting them into the desired area of your paver project.

Field and Border Stones:

When laying the pavers onto the bedding sand, you want to work in a forward motion. Start the process in either a 90° corner or within the field by using a pre set string to guide straightness of pavers. Do NOT step on the bedding sand.

Place pavers flat on the sand bed. Do not tilt the pavers into place as this will disturb the level of the bedding sand. When a row or pattern is in place, use them as a guide for subsequent pavers. The spacing between the pavers should be hand tight (pavers have built-in spacers on their edges to provide a 1/8″ joint).

PRO TIP: When laying pavers, check every few feet with a string line to maintain a straight line.

Trimming May Be Required:

As the field moves closer to the edge restraint or concrete border, cutting may be required to fit the pavers to the desired space. Cutting of pavers should be done with a diamond masonry blade and saw or if needed, it can be accomplished using a block splitter, but a splitter will not allow the precision cut provided by a masonry saw.

Step 1: Preparing the Base

It is important to provide a well compacted, stable base on which to begin the paver installation. In some cases, this will require extensive excavation of unsuitable sub-grade material.

Excavate the Site:

Excavate all unsuitable, unstable, or unconsolidated sub-grade material. When estimating the depth of excavation, consider the final grade of the project. Add the height of the paver unit, the depth of bedding sand, and the thickness of the compacted base material to get an estimate of needed depth.

Fill and Compact the Base:

Thickness of Compacted Base:

  • Pedestrian Traffic: 3″–4″
  • Vehicular Traffic: 4″–5″
  • Large Vehicular Traffic (e.g. motor homes): 6″–8″

Fill the excavated site with the appropriate amount of paver base material (Class II Road Base is recommended), and compact using a vibrating plate compactor. The base must be well compacted and level to provide a smooth, even surface on which to lay the bedding sand.

NOTE: When preparing the grade of the base, be sure to provide a 1/8″–1/4″ of drop per foot for proper drainage.

Safety Considerations

Moving large amounts of heavy materials can take a toll on your body. Use a wheelbarrow. When shoveling, lift from your legs, not your back. Keep in mind that base materials (crushed gravel) are heavier than dirt, so use only partial shovel loads.

Wear breathing protection. Frequently spray the area with water to keep the dust down.

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Mortar or Concrete Mix

Cement is the ingredient that forms the “glue” in both mortar and concrete mix. Both products can be used with pavers, but they have differing properties and installation techniques. A 4- to 6-inch-thick concrete slab is suitable as a base for pavers, which can be laid directly onto the wet concrete so they are held in place when it dries. Mortar can be used as a 1/2-inch to 1-inch-thick base under pavers as long as a 4- to 6-inch-deep layer of crushed rock is underneath the mortar to form a foundation. Mortar also can be used in the joints between pavers, just like grout is used between tiles.


Mark installed Andover Collection Stone Cleft pavers in the Richfield Blend color, which are manufactured by Ideal Concrete Block.

Compactors can be rented at most home centers and landscape supply stores.

The other materials Mark used, including pack, concrete sand, and polymeric sand can be purchased at landscape supply stores.

Spread a flat bed of sand

Spread fabric, then sand

Lay down landscape fabric to keep the sand from wa

Lay down landscape fabric to keep the sand from washing down into cracks. Then position the screed pipe and spread the sand.

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About This Article

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 32,328 times. 42 votes – 83% Co-authors: 6 Updated: September 15, 2021 Views: 32,328 Categories: Concrete | Paths and Paving

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 32,328 times.


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