Saturday, July 5, 2014

The $400 patio!

I am proud of this job.  Recycled brick pavers and a lot of lifting got this job done in a little under 2 weeks!

Used patio pavers: $100
Stone and sand: $100
Compactor rental: $50
Polymeric sand: $65
Mulch and miscellaneous: $25
Gas to haul everything: $60

The best part about the used bricks is that there were already many cut pieces from the previous patio.  I was able to find all the irregular shapes I needed and didn't need to rent a saw!

Step 1:  8 inches of stone base. Do it if you want the patio to last several winters. Our 12x16 layout required about 8 tons of 2A modified, which is 3/4" stone mixed with stone dust for good compaction.  That was 8 trips to the quarry in the pickup truck.  A lot of shoveling, raking and tamping to get it level, but only cost $10 per ton. If you can get a delivery truck to drop it right on your site, pay the extra for delivery and save 8 hours of work!

 I removed about 5" of topsoil and grass to fit the stone to the level I wanted.  I liked that because it meant I could build up flower beds in other places around my property.

Step 2: Find two straight bars of some sort that won't bend and about 1" high to use as levelers and a screed for the top coat of sand.  I used two shelving brackets that worked reasonably well. The screed was a piece of angle steel.  Many people use strong pipes for levelers and a straight wooden screed.  I just used what was laying around.

Step 3: Buy leveling sand (the quarry had "DEP sand" for $15 a ton.  I only needed one ton for my 12x16 irregular, but it was close.  I had very little left over.  Work in small patches and start laying in your pavers.  You want to be very careful with your measurements at the beginning so it doesn't throw everything off at the end.  Run lines, snap chalk lines, and measure constantly if you want everything to be perfectly straight.

Step 4: Keep going!  It is monotonous and heavy work, especially on 90-degree July days, but it's worth it! Lay the leveler, check for level, screed the sand, lay the brick, repeat.

Step 5: Edging.  I like to come up with  a non-commercial product that will work just as well.  Since I didn't need any curves, I figured a straight piece of composite decking would work. It's tough, easy to work with, and impervious to rot. I am lucky to have a used building supply house nearby that sold me a 20-footer for $12 plus another $12 for spikes to hold it in place.  $24 is much better than $75 for a "professional" edging kit. I ripped the 1x6 board into two 1x3s and had my border.

Step 6:  Rent the compactor.  It makes for such a nice, clean, even surface and is worth every penny.

Step 6: Sweep in the polymer-based sand.  We needed 3 buckets at $20 each.  Not an essential step, but it really locks the stones and hardens so it won't wash or blow away. 100 pounds of play sand would be a whole lot cheaper.

Step 7: Landscape as you like and done!

 Now to paint the house!

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