How to Lay Patio Pavers

How to Lay Patio Pavers

Concrete Interlocking Paver Installation

The following guideline is an overview of the proper steps involved when installing interlocking concrete pavers where no special circumstances are present. Your specific project will be unique and may require additional steps.  See the entire selection of Bella Vista Concrete Pavers.

Additional Tips

Plate compactor

When Mark needs a firm, void-free base for a patio, walkway, or stone wall, he puts a single-direction compactor to work. It applies 3,375 foot-pounds of centrifugal force at 5,880 vibrations per minute, which is just right for small jobs.

How to read pitch on a spirit level

Some levels, like the I-beam, have vials with extra lines on both sides that show pitches of 1 and 2 percent. When the bubble in the vial touches the 2 percent line, for instance, the level has a pitch of ¼ inch per foot.


Learn how to hardscape

We understand that no matter how beautiful hardscape is to look at, it’s intimidating to install. That’s why we publish DIY tips, tricks, and step-by-step tutorials at and host a live DIY seminar every month during the summer at one of our manufacturing or distribution facilities.

If you have any questions, please visit our Paving Stone Display at our Manufacturing Facility in Rickreall, OR. Or, give our team of hardscape experts a call at 503-623-9084.

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.

Step 5: Vibrate the Pavers

Once the entire paver field and borders have been placed, you will need to run a vibrating plate compactor over the paver project to being the interlocking process.

Initial Setting and Lock-up:

Rent a vibrating plate compactor from your local equipment rental company. Once the pavers and border have been placed, spread a light layer of sand over the pavers and make a single pass using this plate compactor.

This single pass will help set the pavers into the bedding sand, and cause some sand to move up between the joints of the pavers. This is the initial stage of the “interlock”.

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.

20 Patio Furniture Pieces We’re Buying On Amazon This Month

2. Laying a shallow base

The second most common mistake is not digging a deep enough area for the base. When you read our recommendations for laying a base, you may think to yourself, “That’s a lot of digging!” The truth is, yes, it certainly is. However, gravel is cheap insurance to protect and preserve your pavers.

We recommend that you excavate enough dirt to lay a proper gravel base; 4” for common foot traffic areas and 6–10″ for driveways and residential parking lots. The general rule is to add an extra 2–4″ to your gravel base if you live in colder climates with continually wet or weak soils.

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.

These are the Best Herbs to Grow on a Patio


  • The gravel base must be compacted correctly, or you could risk your pavers shifting out of position due to future settling or movement within the base itself. This is one of the more challenging aspects of laying pavers and why many people choose to work with a professional.

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Reasons for the Cement Option

The flexibility of pavers can become a liability if tree roots grow underneath them and cause the paved surface to buckle. That happens much more easily with pavers than a concrete slab, but it is possible to have the best of both worlds and set pavers into place with cement where buckling is an issue. Another problem inherent with pavers is that they migrate outward along edges, weakening the paved surface’s structural integrity. Various forms of edging can be used to combat the migration tendency, including making a concrete lip that forms a rigid border to hold pavers in place. If, however, pavers are laid in cement to begin with, they are immobilized and will not get pushed outward over time.

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.

What About a Free Estimate?

Do you want to upgrade your patio and lay pavers over concrete, but have no idea how much is gonna cost? What about a free estimate? If you live in Sarasota, Manatee, or any of our surrounding counties contact us, we will be glad to assist you!

S&S Pavers has over 10 years of experience serving the counties of Manatee and Sarasota.

Installation Tips

Using form boards is necessary when pouring a concrete base for pavers so the finished product has a smooth, continuous surface and to ensure a 1-percent slope for drainage. The disadvantage of using a concrete slab under pavers is that the slab must be done one section at a time; the size of each section corresponds to the number of pavers that can be laid in place before the concrete dries. When crushed rock is placed under mortar to create a level base, using form boards is unnecessary. Mortar is spread bit by bit as the pavers are laid. So mortar is more conducive than concrete mix to the slow process of installing pavers. Also, dry mortar can be swept into the cracks between pavers; ambient moisture will cause the dry mortar to stiffen over time. Using dry mortar that way saves a tremendous amount of time compared to mortaring individual joints between pavers, but the dry mortar has to be applied in dry conditions to prevent it from staining the pavers’ surface.


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