How Much Sand Do I Need for Pavers?

patio contractors

Pavers are known to make a relatively strong and durable surface for pathways and patios. However, for them to give you a good, long-lasting service, they must be supported by a solid foundation. The top layer of the foundation is the pavers sand which typically supports the stone of concrete pavers. 

One of the most popular questions asked by homeowners and patio contractors looking to lay pavers for their driveway or patios is; how much sand do I need for pavers? Let’s explore the correct answer to this question below. 

How to Calculate the Amount of Sand Needed for Pavers

Many DIY gurus like to estimate various measurements. If you are one of these people, you will be tempted to use a hard estimate when determining the amount of sand needed. However, refrain from this temptation. A robust and durable foundation needs just the right amount of sand. 

With the correct parameters, various online calculators will automatically calculate the perfect quantities. The first thing you need to have is the dimensions of the paving area. For example, a small garage area measures about 8.5 ft by 19 ft. 

If you do not know the exact dimensions of the area,  measure it out. For example, you can use a tape measure and mark with a string or paint. Repeat the whole measuring process to ensure that you get the measurements correct. Then use the measurements to calculate the area(m2) of the paving site. 

Once you have the area(m2), you then need to decide the thickness of the layer of sand beneath the pavers (the recommended thickness is 1 inch (1/12 ft)). If you input these figures on the online calculator, it will automatically calculate the amount of sand you need. However, you can also calculate manually by multiplying the area by depth to find the volume. 

Keep in mind that there might be a little wastage during the construction process, and you might also need to use sand to fill in the gaps between the pavers. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase a small extra amount of sand to ensure that you do not run short during the process. This will save you a trip back to the supplier. 

What Is the Best Type of Sand to Use

In addition to getting the amount right, the type of patio sand used also determines how well the pavers will lay and how long they are likely to be of service. Therefore, choosing suitable sand is very crucial in the paving process.

Many homeowners make the mistake of believing that any sand will get the job done. However, working with the wrong sand could make your pavers start sinking and shifting before long. 

The recommended sand that is best for installing pavers is called concrete sand. It is course, sharp and granular. It is more like crushed stone, and the grains fluctuate in size with jagged edges, making it perfect for tight compaction, strength, and a flatter surface.

This type of sand interlocks smoothly, leaving no room for shifting or cracking. Mason sand is another alternative, but it is not as coarse as concrete sand. 

Conclusion

Installing pavers might seem complicated if this is your first project of this kind. However, it doesn’t have to be so. The first step in completing this project successfully is to make sure that you get the dimensions of the paving area correct. This might sometimes require you to work with experienced patio builders Long Island.

Once you have the measurements, calculating the amount of materials needed for the project is as easy as inputting the numbers into the online calculators and automatically getting the numbers. 

5 Golden Tips on How to Lay Pavers

Pavers bring out the character of your property regardless of its shape and color. The beauty of pavers is there are many of them to choose from. There are travertine, granite, concrete, shell stone, marble and many others.

To get the most from the pavers, you have to install them properly. You can do the installation on your own if you have the skills or hire local patio builders to help out. Regardless of the person installing the pieces, you should lay them properly. To help you out, here are tips on how to lay pavers.

Lay a strong gravel base

Your pavers are as stable as the base they are sitting on. Unfortunately, to cut corners and reduce installation costs, many homeowners use dirt as base or backfill. While the dirt is easily available and cheap, it comes with plenty of issues.

For one, when you use dirt, the pavers can rotate and separate. Due to this, instead of having a smooth surface, you have a bumpy, uneven surface.

To avoid this, use road base gravel instead of dirt. This way, you have the right mix of fine and coarse aggregates so you get the best compaction.

After laying gravel, spread a smooth layer of concrete sand for your pavers to settle in and stay in place.

Have a deep base

For stable, beautiful pavers, you should excavate enough dirt to lay a proper grave base. A good rule of thumb is to dig 4” for common foot traffic areas and 6-10” for driveways and residential parking lots.

If you live in colder climates that are always wet and have weak soils, add an extra 2-4”.

Compact the base enough

Before you lay, the paves, ensure the gravel base is flat and firm. It shouldn’t have any bellies or rises of more than 1/8”. To achieve this, properly compact your base and pavers. You should note that you end up with sunken or raised pavers if you fail to compact your base.

For best results, compact your gravel base in both directions with a plate compactor or steel tamper.

Properly install bedding sand.

Bedding sand comes in handy at helping the stones settle firmly into the base and stay in place. The sand also serves as a levelling layer to even out any minor issues in the gravel base.

To get the best results, properly install the bedding sand. To do it, apply the screeding process. Here you lay and level the bedding sand at the same time.

You first lay a few 1” outside diameter screed bars to the compacted base then after ensuring they are level, bring in the sand.

You shouldn’t lay more than 1” of bedding sand as it will promote settling or wobbling of the pavers.

Place the pavers using the click and drop method.

You can’t just throw the pavers anyhow and expect them to stay in place—you need to have a formula. The correct way to do it is to use the click and drop method.

If you don’t use this method, you risk bulldozing the sand beneath the pavers, creating a deep void or large hill. And as a result, you end up with sunken or raised pavers that you will have to replace later.

When you are laying the pavers, don’t lay them in such a way you end up with a long linear line as you will have unstable pavers. The best way to avoid doing this is to work with expert masonry contractors Long Island.