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Laying a concrete paver patio on sand... Do we leave a gap in between pavers or not?

The only book we could find at the library isn't specific. If you are going to use mortar you leave a gap. The videos I've watched on YT look like they are leaving no gap.

For specifics; we are laying and compacting 3" of 5/8 minus, then a compacted 2" bed of sand, then concrete pavers that are apprx 6 x 11". One of our crew wants to leave a 1/4" gap, to be filled with sand. I've been told by another crew member that the pavers should be laid tight together. Which is it? Help!

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Posted 2011-08-19T01:08:55+0000  by julesybugs julesybugs

Hi Julsy,


I'm Travis from The Home Depot in Atlanta.


When I installed my pavers I butted them tight together. No gap makes for a smoother patio with less washout of the sand and fewer gaps for weeds to take hold of. The pavers are stable and firm underfoot.


My base layer is 1" of sand over Georgia clay. I scraped the existing lawn off with a flat shovel and applied the sand to level. After laying the pavers, I brushed in sand over the top to fill the gaps. This process was repeated a couple of times until the gaps stopped appearing.


This picture was taken 2 years after the patio was installed.2011garden-May.jpg


This picture isn't featuring the patio, but I think it shows the spacing. I use extra pavers in the garden to make a walking path.


I hope this helps. Thanks for asking!




Posted 2011-08-19T12:26:42+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Yes, your response was helpful.

But, I have a couple of questions;

Our pavers are only 1.5" thick. Should that make a difference? And,

Why no crushed rock base? Is it because the ground there is so hard?

Thanks so much!

Posted 2011-08-19T14:44:10+0000  by julesybugs

Sorry to be a pain, but I just thought of another question.

After we do the rock base, and the sand base and lay our 1.5" pavers will it be okay to run the vibrating

machine over it. One of our crew thought since the pavers are so thin that they might crack. What do

you think?

Thanks so much for your help!


Posted 2011-08-19T15:01:18+0000  by julesybugs

 1.5" is plenty thick for most patios. The base is more critical to thinner stones.


 Applications such as driveways require thicker pavers and a base with aggregate (gravel) under the leveling sand. The aggregate gives superior weight tolerance. It's not required for foot traffic unless the soil base is loose or loamy.


This is one instance when I'm glad to have clay in my yard.





Posted 2011-08-19T15:16:04+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

If, by "vibrating machine", you mean a tamper or compactor, do that to the soil to prepare the soil for the paver base.


The preparation will eliminate the need to tamp the stones. I tapped mine in with a rubber mallet.


The tamper will settle the patio more quickly and, with careful use, the stones can be tamped safely.


Don't let the tamper bounce or fall onto the stones. Careful operation is key to success.


Your local Home Depot Tool Rental Center has specific instructions on this equipment.




Posted 2011-08-19T16:42:52+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Definately run them closer together, the tighert the better.  You will have to worry less about errosion over the years, and personally, I find it easier to walk on them if they are closer together.  It is also easier for kids toys, particularly the ones that roll around, if they are closer together.


-Bob McIntosh




Posted 2011-08-22T17:38:50+0000  by RedHeadRehabs
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