How to lay pavers for a driveway

How to lay pavers for a driveway

Why choose concrete pavers for your driveway?

Among other benefits, a concrete paver driveway delivers the following.

Strength, durability and longevity: Sheet concrete and asphalt look good, but they really aren’t as strong and durable as you might think. Your driveway becomes nothing more than one giant slab. Although strong when in good condition, it won’t handle age or freezing and thawing very well. Eventually, it will crack, calling for major repair work or replacement.

Concrete pavers, in contrast, combine the strength and comfort of newly poured, solid driveway surfaces with the flexibility they lack. Concrete pavers will not crack from weather and will likely last for decades. The biggest drawback is that pavers may settle if the foundation material underneath shifts. The fix is simple, however: Remove, readjust and reset the affected pavers.

Ease of maintenance: Whether you have to recoat, reseal, spread more of it, grade it or replace it, it seems like there’s always something your driveway needs when you have a traditional driveway material. A concrete paver driveway is about as close as you can get to “install it and forget it.” Once laid and sealed, it’s virtually maintenance-free unless you need to adjust or replace a paver or two.

Cost: Sure, concrete pavers typically cost more upfront than stone and slab paving materials. However, a concrete paver driveway pays for itself over time in both lower maintenance costs (including time and money) and the fact that long after other driveway materials fail, your concrete pavers will likely still look — and work — wonderfully.

DIY installation: Ask anyone who has ever poured concrete or asphalt — it’s hard work. Done improperly, the material is likely to fail. Even spreading dirt or rock is tiring. In contrast, most concrete pavers are fairly DIY-friendly. The hardest portion is grading and preparing the base material, and any specialized equipment is easily rented. Alternatively, consider hiring a contractor for this part of the driveway project. Next, simply start laying pavers in place like a jigsaw puzzle.

5. Lay geotextile

Now, lay geotextile down over the soil. This material will provide a barrier between the gravel and the ground, keeping dirt and gravel from mixing.

Geotextile also encourages proper compaction and settling. It’s one of those things that you could easily leave out. However, it’s the details that make the difference between a good base and a great base.


Driveway Paver Thickness and Base

Traditionally, driveways have been constructed using 80mm (3 inch) pavers with a standard 6″ base. However, it is becoming more common practice to use a lighter 60mm (2-3/8 inch) paver with a thicker base. In rainier climates, the required base depth can be up to 12 inches because of absorbent clays that can cause soils to shift when wet. With these types of site conditions, a thin base puts pavers in danger of separating or cracking from soil shifts. A layer of geo-fabric between the soil and the aggregate layer can add extra protection from this type of shifting, but a thicker base is still recommended. In arid climates, 60mm pavers can be successfully used for driveways with only a 4 to 6 inch base, as shifting clays are not a factor.

A sound residential concrete slab driveway without foundation cracks can be overlayed with 30mm thin pavers. In many cases, DriBond™ advanced mudset can be used to facilitate the entire overlay. Another option would be to DriBond the perimeter and sand-set the primary paver field, if there’s a possibility of shifting soils. Keep in mind that an overlay will add 2.5 to 3 inches of elevation to the existing slab, which could affect transitions to the garage, home, street or walkways.

Steps on How to Install a Permeable Paver Driveway

1. Test the Soil and Excavate

Photo by William Wright

First, call 811 for an underground utilities check. Next, do a percolation test to see how fast the soil absorbs water. (Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for details.) Remove the existing pavement, and dig to a minimum depth of 15 inches, unless the perc rate is less than 0.52 inches per hour. In that case, you may need a deeper base or drainage pipe.

2. Prepare the Stone Base Layers

Photo by William Wright

Cover the excavation with a 6-inch layer of ¾- to 2-inch washed crushed stone, which has sharp edges that knit together. (River gravel, with its rounded profile, is unacceptable.) Go over it twice with a plate compactor, across and lengthwise. Top with one 4-inch layer of ¼- to 1½-inch washed crushed stone, and compact that twice, too.

3. Screed the Bedding Layer

Photo by William Wright

Install a concrete or hard-plastic edging to keep the pavers from shifting. Then, starting from one corner, lay two 2-inch-diameter steel pipes about 6 feet apart and parallel on the compacted base. Cover them with ¼-inch stone, then pull a 2×4 screed board over the pipes to create a flat bed for setting the pavers. Lift out the pipes, fill the gaps, and repeat across the remaining area.5.

4. Place the Layers

Photo by William Wright

Starting at the lowest corner, set the pavers on the bedding layer, tight to the edging and one another. (Nibs on the sides of the pavers automatically create the drainage gaps.) Check every 6 to 10 feet to make sure the pavers are square to the first row. Place all the full-size pieces, then go back and cut pieces to fit in any gaps along the edges.

5. Fill the Joints

Photo by William Wright

Once the pavers are in, sprinkle ¼-inch stone, the same used in Step 3, on the surface, and sweep it into the gaps with a wide push broom. Push the broom diagonally across the grid so that you don’t dislodge any stones already in the joints.

6. Tamp

Photo by William Wright

Sweep the surface clean, then run a plate compactor diagonally over the entire driveway. The machine’s vibrations pack the pavers firmly into the bedding layer and lock them in place. Refill joints that have settled deeply, and compact again. Now your driveway is open for business, rain or shine.

How Thick Is A Driveway?

A thick base is highly recommended for a durable pavers driveway. The typical pavers base should be around 4-6 inches thick. It should consist of a layer of crushed concrete mixed with a soil base. The paver base is arguably as important as the pavers themselves. Traditionally, driveways have been constructed with 80mm pavers with a standard six inches base. Nowadays, the common practice employs a 60mm paver with a thicker base. The thick base is especially critical in a rainy climate with clay soils.

DIY concrete paver installation

Even if you prefer to have someone build your concrete paver driveway for you, it’s still useful to understand the general process.

The most important part of the job is a properly prepared and compacted substrate. The driveway foundation is essential for a quality installation that lasts. While the following information covers the basic steps, it isn’t intended to be an exhaustive guide. If you’re uncertain about any procedure or have questions, consult a concrete paver installation professional.

  • Call 811 to request an underground utilities check. Never dig without first checking for these.
  • Excavate the driveway area to at least 15 inches. Your area may need a deeper drainage base. Talk to local building professionals if you’re uncertain. Depth depends on the results of a percolation test, which measures how fast the soil absorbs rainwater. Contact your local Cooperative Extension for more details.
  • Compact the subgrade to provide a solid, stable soil base.
  • Install screen, if desired, to discourage weed growth.
  • Spread and compact a layer of paver base. Typically this is a 6-inch layer of washed, crushed stone (not river gravel or other rounded rock). Choose rock with a 3/4- to 2-inch diameter.
  • Cover the base with a 1-inch layer of concrete sand. Screed the surface — take a long flat edge and pull it across the surface to leave it perfectly smooth and level.
  • Set the edging around the driveway borders. Edging, called restraints, is critical — it isn’t just ornamental. It helps keep each paver from shifting.
  • Place the concrete pavers according to your design. Set pavers together closely to minimize joints.
  • Spread mason sand over the pavers. Tamp down the pavers mechanically to force sand into the joints.
  • Finish with a layer of concrete sealer once the driveway is completely set. Spray on with a garden sprayer, following the product instructions for best results.

Note: In colder climates, consider installing a special snow-melting system beneath the pavers. Much like radiant heating systems indoors, these driveway-warming devices use heated cables to keep ice and snow off your driving surface. Ask a professional for further information.

The Right Pavers Can Make or Break Your Driveway

Solid concrete and asphalt driveways are being phased out of use as we enter the new decade. With so many more options available than ever before, you’re sure to find the paver that suits you best. Style, durability, cost, and eco-friendliness are sure to factor into your decision,  so if you want the best driveway pavers that perform highly in all of these categories, you should install a permeable paver driveway from TRUEGRID.

When it comes to your driveway, you want something that is going to last a long time on its own, without any maintenance, while simultaneously being eco-friendly and helping to prevent driveway flooding. If you want a driveway that solves all of your erosion and flooding problems without breaking your bank, boost your curb appeal by going with TRUEGRID. They have the best pavers for driveways, hands down.

If you want to build your gravel driveway the maintenance-free way, get in touch with the pavement professionals at TRUEGRID today for a quote.

option for the base layer of a gravel driveway is item #4. Item #4 is comprised of sand, dirt, and golf ball-sized stones. This type of gravel is available in a few different variations including recycled item # 4, which is made up of recycled stones, brick, blacktop, concrete, and rock. 

There is also quarry item # 4, or crushed limestone, gray item # 4 which appears dark grey in color, and crushed bluestone item #4. Crushed bluestone item #4 is usually found in municipal driveways, though. 

The middle layer of a gravel driveway features stones closer to golf ball size, with #57 stone being the prominent type of gravel. Otherwise known simply as crushed gravel, #57 stone also helps promote drainage. 

2. What Type of Driveway Do You Want?

Is drainage important? Do you wish added protection to keep water away from your home? This is in reference to either an impermeable driveway or a permeable one. A permeable driveway allows water to drain right through it, while an impermeable one does not. If you have a driveway that is prone to flooding or erosion, this type of driveway will eliminate those water damage problems when installed with a drainage rock base. You can even have some type of heating system installed beneath your permeable paver driveway to prevent the buildup of snow or ice, which already melts and dissolves faster than an asphalt or concrete driveway. Snow plowing is no problem in cold climates. 

Pavers Make Appealing Driveways

How Thick Should Driveway Pavers Be?

How Thick Should Driveway Pavers Be?

Paver driveways have a distinctive appeal and character. A bit of planning and creativity results in driveways that are colorful, eye-catching, and stunning. Paver driveways enhance property value as well as personal satisfaction to owners.

The stylish elegance of pavers driveways has led contractors to copy its appearance with stamped concrete. Concrete slabs can be given a similar color and patterns to pavers but ultimately the durability, low maintenance, and permeability of pavers cannot be simulated.

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