Pavers are precast concrete shapes used for exterior flooring, as an alternative for brick paving or continual asphalt or concrete surfaces. Concrete pavers can be different in size, shape and colour. They are mostly used for landscaping purposes, in both private backyards and public spaces. Because they are basically small individual elements, they are very versatile and can be used to form various landscape and architecture features such as steps, paths, patios and curbs.
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Things you need
- Wood stakes
- Tape measure
- Hand tamper
- Plate compactor
- Wood slate
- Rubber mullet
- Diamond-blade wet saw
- Cement adhesive
Mark the exact location of the steps with small wood stakes and a string. This way you will have the outer dimensions of the stair structure, which will help you determine the amount of material you need. Also, you can now see and feel the final look and the size of the steps, when you can still change it.
Prepare the ground for the base of your paver steps. This step is the same as in any paver-laying project. First clean the area from any plants and rocks. If you have old paving, remove it as well, since the key to a good and stable paver structure is a healthy, sturdy foundation. In order to have such a foundation, it is best to prepare it yourself, carefully following this step. When all the distractions are removed, excavate the whole area 5 to 8 inches below the surrounding terrain. Then tap the soil at the bottom of the hole with a hand tamper or a plate compactor. Finally pour 5 inches of clean, fine sand to cover the soil.
Install the edge restraint, either wooden slats or an actual curb that is a part of the paver collection. This will prevent crumbling of the paved area.
Lay the first layer of paving, installing one paver stone near another. Start from one corner of the shallow sand-covered hole and work your way to the other. Leave as little space between the pavers as possible. Also, follow a chosen pattern, but bear in mind that the disposition of the steps themselves needs to be simple and should not overlap. If you need to cut pavers to size, use a wet saw with a diamond blade.
Finish the first layer of pavers by tapping the stones into sand with a rubber mallet, spreading more fine sand into the spaces in-between and sweeping the excess sand with a stiff broom.
Apply a layer of cement adhesive to the area where you want the second step to be.
Lay the concrete pavers onto the cement adhesive, making sure you are following the pattern you chose. Be very precise and careful to line all the edges and seams properly.
Leave the second paver step to dry and harden for 15 to 20 minutes and then proceed with the building.
Repeat Steps 6 to 8 for the rest of the steps. Always check the overall look of the steps and if all the edges and seams are in place.
Leave the whole structure to harden and settle for an hour or two. Then pour fine sand over all the steps, using a broom to fill the gaps first and then to remove the excess sand.
Tips and warnings
- You can also make a combination of two or more different colours of pavers in order to achieve a more interesting pattern.
- If you want an even more firm foundation, add a gravel base under the sand layer. Note that in this case, you will need to dig the hole a little deeper.
- Be extremely cautious when using a diamond-blade wet saw and make sure to protect your eyes and hands.
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