38 Hedges Pond Rd.
     Plymouth, MA 02360
     p: (508)888-8828
     f: (508)833-1296

Paver FAQ

Emerald Landscape Supply is a customer focused supplier of quality landscaping materials. Our mission is to provide our customers with superior quality, value and service.  We have listed a number of common paver questions along with answers below for your convenience and we urge you to visit us at 38 Hedges Pond Rd. in Plymouth, MA, or call us at (508) 888-8828.

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Do pavers need to be mortared into place?

No mortar is needed to install concrete pavers. It is recommended that you use polymeric sand or course granular sand, which will bind the pavers together with a friction joint. This sand is swept into the joints and compacted to achieve the proper installation.

What is the white residue on the pavers?

The white residue on top of pavers is a condition called efflorescence. This condition is minimized with the use of an additive but it is not completely eliminated. Efflorescence will wear off in about 2 to 3 months naturally but it can be removed with whitewall cleaner and a wire brush.

Where can I get a plate compactor and what do I need it for?

Just about any equipment rental yard will have a plate compactor usually renting for about $45-$60. One of the final steps in completing your paver project is running a plate compactor over the top of your paving stones. Simply put, this helps lock your pavers into place. The compactor helps seed your pavers down into your base sand evenly (they will drop approximately 1/4 inch) and also helps to vibrate your joint sand down to fill the entire joint securely locking the paver into place. This is a big time saver from which you can really get your money's worth.

Can I use pavers over my old concrete patio?

As long as your existing patio is in good condition. There can be cracks in the old patio as long as it is still level and is not unlevel in any area. Concrete makes a great base for many pavers. You will still need to retain the border of your project. Since you will not be able to stake in an edge restraint around it, a heavy-duty silicon based construction adhesive is recommended. Use this on the bottom of your border stones only to adhere it directly to the existing concrete. IMPORTANT NOTE: Any time you are overlaying an existing patio it is important to recognize how much room you have between the existing patio and the threshold of your door. A typical paver is 2 3/8 inches tall. There has to be enough room for you to overlay the patio without raising the new level above your door's threshold. If a typical paving stone will not work for you, check with with us about ordering a thinner overlay paver.

Are pavers strong enough to drive a car on?

Yes, there are a wide variety of pavers strong enough to drive a car on.   The industry standard for concrete pavers is a minimum of 8,000 psi. and many pavers test between 10,000 to 11,000 psi. That is approximately 3 times stronger than poured concrete. Also absorption rates can be in the 2% to 3% range and the industry requires 5% or less. Compared to regular poured concrete that has an absorption rate of about 17%, concrete pavers will not absorb much moisture or be damaged by freeze thaw cycles.

Which type of edge restraint should I use around my patio, plastic or aluminum?

We recommend BEAST edging; it is durable but easy to cut and form to fit your project and it will stand the test of time.

What type of sand do I need to use between my pavers?

Use a sharp course river washed sand, polymeric sand or sharp sand with multi-sized grains. The course sand will bind together when you go over the pavers with the compactor. This will make the joints between the paver solid and prevent moisture from getting under the pavers. The problem with using fine sand is that it will wash out easily and not create a locking friction joint between the pavers.  Polymeric sand, if installed properly, will harden to lock you pavers in place and create a more effective weed and insect deterent while still allowing water to drain freely.

Should I till in dry Portland cement into the ground before putting my one inch bed of sand down on a paver project?

By tilling dry Portland into the ground 4 to 5 inches, compacting and moistening it, you are creating a strong sub-base that will resist ground movement and keep your project looking great for years to come. This process is only recommended if you have sandy type soils. If you have clay or silt type soils it is recommended that you excavate enough material out to put down 4 to 6 inches of crushed limestone or road base material and compact it before you screed your 1 inch of bedding sand. On paver projects, the base preparation is the most important part, so take a little extra time and effort on your base to make your project look great.

Can you use pavers for a driveway?

Yes, however a 4 to 6 inch foundation of roadbase is required in order to handle the weight of the load. Also, it is recommended that instead of using the BEAST edging restraint you use a concrete toe with a piece of #3 rebar.

Is there special sand I should use?

We recommend Polymeric Sand or a sharp course granular sand. Polymeric Sand is designed to harden, lock pavers in place and form a weed and insect deterent.  If you do not wish to use Polymeric sand, sharp course granular sand binds together more than most other kinds of sand available. Play sand and all-purpose sand are too fine, and can be washed out of the joints of the pavers.

Can you make curves with pavers for round designs?

This is possible with most products. The best way to handle curves is to outline your curve with a border stone. You then place as many whole pavers as you need up to the border stone. Next, you cut the pavers to fill in the leftover gaps, using a guillotine splitter or diamond blade wet saw, which are both relatively inexpensive to rent. For more precision cuts the diamond blade wet saw is preferred.

Would the patio be stronger if I added cement into the cracks?

Actually, one of the benefits of using sand is that it allows the patio to flex with ground movement. When you place cement between the cracks of pavers you create a single ridge slab that is likely to crack due to ground movement. Also, if you spill cement on your pavers and do not clean it off right away, it can permanently stain your pavers. So you would be sacrificing the flexibility and longevity of a mortarless system by placing cement between the pavers and you would be introducing the possibility of staining your pavers.

What about water drainage off my patio?

Water actually runs off the surface of the pavers as if it were a solid slab, so very little water drains into the sand. It is important to consider slope when planning your patio. A 1 inch drop for every 8 ft. to 12 ft. of runoff should be sufficient.

How do I control weeds and grass from coming up in my paver patio and walkways?

The most effective way to deter weeds and grass (and insects) is by using Polymeric joint sand. Even if you use Polymeric joint sand there will still be times when seeds can blow in and start growing in the sand between the cracks. When this happens you can usually pull them out very easily or spray them with a weed killer and then remove them.

Do concrete pavers stain?

There is no way to prevent oil from dripping on concrete pavers but because of the fact that they are more dense than regular poured concrete they will be easier to clean if the stain is cleaned soon after it happens. If you are working around your paver patio, walkway, or driveway with paint, cement, or mortar and should accidentally spill this on your paver surface, you should clean it off right away before it has a chance to dry or it could stain your pavers. If cleaning of stained pavers is not possible, you will be able to remove the pieces that are stained and replace them without needing to sawcut and leave a scar in your paving.

How do I replace a paver?

One of the benefits of a project built with pavers is the ability to replace a paver should it become permanently stained. Simply take a flat head screwdriver and insert it between stones and pry the soiled stone out. If the installation is mature, it may be necessary to break the stone and then pry it out.

Should I use a sealer on my pavers?

Normally the reason for using a sealer is to prevent the concrete from absorbing water and potentially cracking or spaulding (when the top layer of your concrete peals off) your concrete when it freezes. But pavers are typically manufactured to a high density standard that allows no more than 5 percent water absorption which will prevent freeze thaw problems. Thus, the only reason for using a sealer on pavers is to deepen the color. If you choose to use a sealer just remember that you will be setting yourself up for maintenance because they will have to be resealed once every one to two years depending on the traffic.

Does the water drain through the sand around the pavers?

No, the water does not drain through the sand around the pavers. If they are installed properly, you will only get a little bit of seepage for the first few weeks but after that the silts and dust in the air will seal that off entirely. So you need to build in a natural slope to your paver project for water run off. Typically it is recommended that you allow for a slope of 1 inch for every 8 to 12 feet of paving away from your home. This should be enough slope to carry the water off naturally.

Can I use concrete pavers near a tree? Will it hurt the tree?

On an established tree, if you’re not raising the soils around the tree by any more than a couple of inches, it shouldn’t hurt the tree. Well established trees normally get their water from underground sources. Solid poured concrete can actually suffocate a tree by not letting the roots breath but using concrete pavers allows the transfer of air to the tree. Do not pave over the dripline of a newly planted tree.

How hot are concrete pavers if I use them around a pool as a pool deck?

Concrete pavers won’t be as cool as a cool deck, but it will be the next coolest thing that can be used instead of cool deck. In fact cool deck isn’t as cool as it used to be because of the requirement to remove the asbestos used to give it some of its coolness. Concrete pavers, being individual pieces won’t build up heat like a solid sheet of concrete and the heat will tend to dissipate between each stone making pavers a cool product to use around a pool. One cool tip is to always use light colors for a pool deck.

Can I put concrete pavers over a driveway that is cracked in several places?

If the cracks in your driveway have started to drop or heave too much, which means that it doesn’t have much reinforcing steel, it is recommended that you break out the old driveway before you lay your pavers. If your cracked driveway is still basically flat then you can use it for a base for your pavers. Any minor dips can be filled with concrete mix before screeding your sand. You should mortar set pavers in a soldier course (placing the pavers side-by-side in the mortar) all around your perimeter border. Then screed your 1 inch of sand bed for your field pavers.

After your sand bed is screeded you can lay your pavers and compact them into the sand bed. Next you would throw a light layer of sand on the field pavers and compact it one more time to complete the lockup. Once that is complete you should sweep sand into the joints and then sweep off the excess and your job should be complete.


Paver FAQ