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Installation: How to Install Interlocking Pavers
Installing Interlocking Pavers

How to Install Interlocking Pavers

Overview: Getting Started

Interlocking pavers are the perfect solution for adding aesthetic appeal to a driveway, patio, or walkway. Interlocking paving stones are 4x stronger than poured concrete, flexible, and easy to maintain and repair.

Required Tools

  • Wheel Barrow, Shovels, Picks, Grading Rake (For demo and base preparation)
  • Vibrating Plate Compactor
  • 1" Pipe and wood 2x4 (For screeding sand)
  • Rubber Mallet (For paver adjustments)
  • Masonry saw or splitter (For trimming)
  • Broom (For sweeping sand)

Things to Keep in Mind While Installing

  • Proper base material should always be used even if you feel that your underlying sub-grade is suitable.
  • Be sure to adjust grade for proper drainage.
  • Once sand bedding is installed and leveled, it is important to not disturb prior to laying of pavers.

Step 1: Preparing the Base

It is important to provide a well compacted, stable base on which to begin the installation of interlocking pavers. In some cases, this will require extensive excavation of unsuitable sub-grade material.

Diagram of Paver InstallationExcavation of Existing Sub-grade:

Excavate all unsuitable, unstable, or unconsolidated sub-grade material.
When estimating the depth of excavation, consider the final grade of the project. Add the height of the paver unit, the depth of bedding sand, and the thickness of the compacted base material to get an estimate of needed depth.

Not Sure? Call an RCP Block & Brick near you and we can help determine the depth of excavation.

Compact the Base:

Compact Paver BaseThickness of Compacted Base: You willwant 3"-4" of compacted base forpedestrian traffic, 4"-5" of compacted basefor vehicular traffic, and 6"-8"
of compacted base if large vehicles, such as motor homes, will be driving over the paver installation.

Fill the excavated site with the appropriate amount of paver base material
(We suggest using Class II Road Base or Decomposed Granite), and compact using a vibrating plate compactor. The base must be well compacted and level to provide a smooth, even surface on which to lay the bedding sand.

NOTE: When preparing the grade of the base, be sure to provide a 1/8"-1/4" of drop per foot for proper drainage.


Step 2: Sand Bedding

The pavers will be set in a bed of sand. It is this sand bedding that will provide final leveling properties as well as help secure the paver units in place.

Screeding the Bedding SandInstall 1" of Bedding Sand:

Clean, sharp concrete sand, 1" deep, should be used for the sand bedding. To determine the amount of sand needed, allow 1 cubic yard of sand per 300sqft. For help estimated the amount of product needed, contact and RCP Block & Brick near you.

TIP: "Screeding" - In order to get a 1" depth of bedding sand, use two pieces of 10' long by 1" diameter pipe and a wood 2x4. Lay the pipes parallel to each
other, directly on the base material, and approximately 6' apart. Loosely spread
a layer of bedding sand over these "screed pipe" so that it fills slightly above the top of the pipe. This will avoid compaction before the pavers are laid. Positioning yourself between the pipes. Place a wood 2x4 perpendicular across the screed pipes. Slowly pull the 2x4 towards you while sliding the wood right and left in a repetitive motion. This will help to level the sand more accurately. This process will leave a one inch layer of sand. Remove screeding pipes and fill in void with loose sand. Remove any excess sand.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT walk on screeded sand bed


Step 3: Edge Restraint

A stable edge restraint is necessary to eliminate any lateral movement of your pavers and sand bedding. Edge restraints can be either and existing hard edge (such as the side of a house), vinyl molded restraint, or a concrete restraint.

Installing the Edge Restraint:

Position Vinyl Edge RestraintIf an existing hard edge restraint (such as the side of a house) does not exist, you will need to either install a pre-manufactured polyethylene restraint such as "Edge-Pro: or install a concrete restraint.


Use Edge-Pro Paver Restraint on the edges and curves. Secure the edging to the base material using long landscape spikes. These edges can be put in place prior to the laying of the field pavers.

Vinyl Edge RestraintConcrete Restraint:

To achieve correct height, concrete restraints should be installed after paver
field is laid, but just before you reach the position of where the edge restraint
will be. Pavers are "wet set" into concrete to create a concrete border. Use 2 parts Class II Road Base to 1 part cement; add water and mix until workable. Trowel into place (pre blended concrete mixes are also available.) Concrete restraints should be a minimum of 8" wide x 7" deep.


Step 4: Laying the Pavers

It is now time to begin laying the pavers onto the bedding sand and fitting them into the desired area of your paver project.

Laying the PaversField and Borders:

When laying the pavers onto the bedding sand, you want to work in a forward motion. Start the process in either a 90° corner or within the field by using a pre-set string to guide straightness of pavers. Do NOT step on the bedding sand.

Place pavers flat on the sand bed. Do not tilt the pavers into place as this will disturb the level of the bedding sand. When a row or pattern is in place, use them as a guide for subsequent pavers. The spacing between the pavers
should be hand tight (pavers have built-in spacers on their edges to provide
a 1/8" joint).

TIP: When laying pavers, check every few feet with a string line to maintain a straight line.

Trimming may be Required:

As the field moves closer to the edge restraint or concrete border, cutting may be required to fit the pavers to the desired space. Cutting of pavers should be done with a diamond masonry blade and saw or if needed, it can be accomplished using a block splitter (a splitter will not allow the precision of a masonry saw).


Step 5: Vibrating the Pavers

Vibrating the PaversOnce the entire paver field and borders have been placed, you will need to run a vibrating plate compactor over the paver project to being the interlocking process.

Initial Setting and Lock-up:

Rent a vibrating plate compactor from your local equipment rental company. Once the pavers and border have been placed, spread a light layer of sand over the pavers and make a single pass using this plate compactor.

This single pass will help set the pavers into the bedding sand, and cause some sand to move up between the joints of the pavers. This is the initial stage of the "interlock".


Step 6: Sanding the Pavers

Sweeping Sand Across PaversThe second step of the interlocking process involves working sand down between the paver joints to achieve final "lock-up".

Final Compaction and Lock-up

Spread dry paver joint sand or masonry sand over the surface of the paver area approximately 1/4" deep. Using the vibrating plate compactor, pass over the sanded pavers to allow sand to properly fill the voids between the pavers.

Final Vibration of PaversYou will generally need to run the plate compactor over the pavers 2 or 3 times, or until the pavers no longer settle into the sand bedding. This process will achieve final lock-up and completely fill the voids between the pavers.

Sweep remaining sand into voids until they are completely filled. A light pass with a weed blower will help rid the surface of excess sand and dust. Be careful to insure the joint sand remains in the voids.

NOTE: Sand is non-cosmetic - Sweep or blow sand below the decorative edge.

Your paver installation is now complete and ready to seal!