How NOT to Build with Pavers - Why They FAIL!

Speaker 1: You took it from me last week, I remember.

Speaker 2: There's no doubt that pavers make the absolute best road based material available period, hands down. History has proven it. There's been roads built out of pavers and stones that have been around since 2500 B.C. Now you can't say the same thing for asphalt or concrete, but pavers are subject to three typical kinds of failure. Rotational failure, vertical failure and horizontal failure. We're going to cover those, so hopefully you can prevent them and build your own driveway, that'll last maybe not 2500 years but it'll last longer than you or me both.

Speaker 2: Now in the past you've seen me make a video talking about how about the base is the absolute most critical element to the overall success of your project and this still holds true. But for pavers, it goes a little bit further than that. If you happen to have an asphalt or a concrete driveway, we're going to cover some of the similarities in failures that you will notice from pavers to asphalt to concrete. We're going to do that right now.

Speaker 2: All right guys, today we're going to talk about how not to build a paver driveway and why they fail. Now on this street, I've built two driveways. One of them is 10 years old, the other is almost 20 years old and we're going to look at those two driveways and we're also going to look at other driveways on this exact street and compare and contrast why some succeed and why some fail. 

Speaker 2: This driveway is built 10 years ago, we resurfaced it last summer and this driveway in comparison was built less than five years ago and it's less than one block away. It's all about that base guys. 

Speaker 2: You can see that there is no problems with the structural zone of this driveway at all. Here is the driveway that is just up the street from mine. You can see that the entire front of this, this driveway was actually built by the contractor that built all of the city streets. And part of the problem is the base, what they use underneath it is inadequate. You can see the amount of heaving that he's got going on. The contractor that built the street failed.

Speaker 2: Now let's go look up the road. The thing to know about the paver driveway and the concrete driveway that I installed, is that the base was prepared the same. Everything you do under the driveway is as important as what you do on top of it! 

Speaker 2: Fifteen, maybe twenty years ago. Not a problem, not a chip, not a move in it. This is the same street, the base and how you prep it determines how well your driveway will hold up. 

Speaker 2: Alright guys you can see where the proper base insulation is a key element to the long term success of your project. Those driveways that we just got done looking at are proof. But, now let's talk about those three critical elements that lead to failure. Horizontal, vertical and rotational. What do each of those mean, and how can you keep it from happening at your own job? Let's go there. 

Speaker 2: Alright guys the first type of failure you're gonna typically see is called vertical failure. And that's where you get an individual paver like one of these, and the corner pops off! Well, you may be thinking well, that's poor base, but nothing could be further from the truth! In actuality, it could be too much bedding sand. See what happens when you have too much bedding sand, bedding sand doesn't have any cohesive material in it! Which means that it can flex and give under the exact right conditions. Such as, the stool of a chair. All you have to do is put too much pressure on one corner of that paver, the sand beneath it will shift because there is no cohesive material in it, making the other side of the paver pop up. Getting the right amount of bedding sand is critical to the longterm success of any project, and the right amount is 3/4 of an inch. 

Speaker 2: Now to achieve that result you can use a 3/4 inch plastic PVC pipe. Yes, you can actually use a plastic PVC pipe for this. Some of you guys are gonna be screaming at me, "No you can't!" Yes you can. Or you can use a galvanized or steel pipe. Either one will work! But what happens is that outside dimension of the pipe equals one inch. And one inch is the maximum depth of bedding sand that you want under and project. But the bedding sand is not the same as the base material or the sub base material. We need to cover that, and we will in the other two types of typical failures that you'll see. So what are you waiting for? Let's go there now. 

Speaker 2: Alright guys, I gotta bass ackwards this thing up because I forgot to mention that vertical failure can also be a reflection of poor subsoils or poor base material. Or a combination of those two things. And what I'm actually referring to is if you sometimes see a paver project and it looks like its got weird indentations where a car has driven or just sinkholes in it, that's because the base wasn't installed the right way. Now, two things can happen. The subsoil or the raw dirt either wasn't properly prepared, maybe they needed to do a soil correction on that material to get it to the ideal compaction. Or the base, that means the soil that they imported to separate the raw dirt from the bedding sand wasn't properly compacted. 

Speaker 2: Either way, those things can cause that sinking and uneven wear that you sometimes see in a paver project. On a concrete or an asphalt project this will be reflected as a lot of cracks, sinking, separating, and just generally ugly. Either way, you don't want it in pavers, asphalt or concrete. So getting that base right is the key to long term success. 

Speaker 2: Alright guys I gotta jump in here because I forgot to mention the minimum base step for a driveway is six inches. But eight inches or even ten inches is better. That's what she said. Now, let's get this thing back on track. 

Speaker 2: Okay guys! Oh hi Lucy, you want to be in the video? Okay that's good. Do you have anything else you want to add Lucy? Can you let me do my thing now? 

Speaker 2: Horizontal failure in a paver system is kind of like the pavers falling out of bed, meaning that they slide off the edge. Edge restraint is a critical element to the overall and long term success of a paver patio. Getting the proper edge is the difference between your pavers sloughing off or your pavers staying in place for 20, 30, 50, or even 100 years. 

Speaker 2: Now the edge restraint for a patio is different that the edge restraint for landscaping. This is the edge restaurant that you would see put on the border of a landscape project. You don't want that for a paver patio. This is the kind of edge restraint you want for a paver patio. This is designed to allow you to drive steel spikes through it. This holds the paver in place. And the reason that I say steel very specifically, is because you want to drive a spike through this to connect into the ground that will rust. You intentionally want it to rust because when that spike rusts, it acts like a weld; welding this in place making it an even more permanent, longer lasting bond. 

Speaker 2: Now there's some companies out there that tell you, oh, we're going to use concrete or asphalt for our edge restraints on your paver. There is nothing worse than concrete or asphalt. Because concrete inside the industry is actually called "crackcrete." That's a fact. And if you want to try to grow grass up to your patio and you use a concrete edge restraint, you have zero chance. Even if they bury it below the top of the paver, you're still only going to have a quarter to a half an inch of ground for the grass to grow on. And if the sun comes out it will cook that grass, sure as all get out. 

Speaker 2: With the plastic edge restraint, it's designed to allow you to put vegetation right up to the edge of your patio. It is designed specifically to lock that in place and to prevent horizontal paver failure. Why would you not choose this over something else? It only makes sense to use that product. 

Speaker 2: Alright guys, next we are going to talk about rotation of failure, and the rotation of failure is usually a shifting from side to side of the pavers. They typically start to look a little bit disorganized. Maybe in the very beginning of the project everything looked nice and orderly but over the course of time a few of the pavers started to shift and move and rotate out of the way. This is caused by a loss of the joint sand. That's the sand that fits neatly in between the spaces of the pavers. If that gets washed out there's nothing preventing this paver from moving from side to side. Your best bet to prevent rotation of failure is to do regular maintenance on your pavers making sure that you maintain good joint sand in between here. If you don't like to do maintenance, which most people don't, then opt to use a polymeric sand. A polymeric sand will last longer than just a typical joint sand, and it will prevent washout, giving you better lasting, long term results. 

Speaker 2: Alright guys, now I know we've covered a lot of information, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. We've covered horizontal, vertical, and rotational failures, and some of these failures are unique just to paver systems, but they are also universal principles that can show up in both asphalt and concrete failures. So you guys need to start to learn to be able to recognize when a failure is unique to pavers or if it's more universal to all forms of hard surfaces. 

Speaker 2: If you guys want to dive deeper and maybe you're thinking about starting to install paper projects, offer the services to other people, or you're just taking on your own big project and you want to learn absolutely the most you possibly can, go over to Dirt Monkey University. We are building the paver crash course right now. The first episode is absolutely free. This is going to be the most thorough, most in-depth training, technical information and advice that you can get anywhere on the internet, periods, hands down. I absolutely promise you, you won't find better information any other place. 

Speaker 2: I hope this video has helped you guys out. If it has, give me a big thumbs up or comment down below. Let me know what you think. If you guys like stuff like this, well I'm just gonna keep doing it! Go get em'! Lets build something beautiful guys. 



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