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Professionals Show Us How Outdoor Patios Are Grouted With Sand #BreakingNews

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  • The team at Creekside Outdoor Living designs and installs pavers for patios, walkways, and more.
  • The joints between the pavers are filled by sweeping in polymeric sand.
  • Then the pavers are compacted and hosed down with water to lock in the entire project.

The following is a transcript of the video. 

Mike Arnold: So, I am Mike Arnold. I am the president of Creekside Outdoor Living. We specialize in the design and the installation of high-end outdoor living spaces, which goes from pool patios to outdoor kitchens to fire and water features. I’m going to walk you through how we install paver patios and what we do to fill the joints in between the pavers.

First things first: We have to get the soil excavated to provide space for the foundation stone for our pavers. We dig down to about 12 inches of depth. After that, we will bring in a massive compactor, and this is just to smack the soil as absolutely hard as possible. This has got to be the most crucial part of the structural integrity of a paver patio. After we can be confident that the soil is as compact as we can get it, we’re going to line the soil walls with a geotextile fabric. The fabric is going to separate the base stone from the base soil. After our fabric’s installed in the foundation hole, we’re going to start installing our foundation stone. It’s going to get dumped right in the hole. My guys have to spread that out evenly, at about three inches. We compact that layer, and then we can begin that again and dump on another three inches and then compact that.

After the foundation is complete for these pavers, we can start laying them. And these are laid one by one. We have a pattern that is typically picked by the client that they would prefer to see on their patio, and we follow that. They arrive to us on the pallet with little notches built into the sides of the pavers. The purpose of this is, again, to predetermine not just the gaps, but when you’re looking at a pattern of a paver patio, you look down the line of the gaps or the joints, and they are all completely straight. Our designs call for swoops and curves. So we’re going to trace out these radiuses of the curves with a pencil and then cut the pavers with what is commonly referred to as either a cutoff saw or a demo saw. How we tackle the problem of the joints in between the pavers is a polymeric sand. And we use a sand, it’s a jointing sand, instead of something like a mortar or a grout, like you would see in the tile of your home bathroom. We use a polymeric sand, especially in the Midwest, because we have these freeze-thaw cycles, and the sand allows for a little bit more flex in the paver system, whereas something that’s much more solid, any little bit of flex is going to cause a fracture in that joint material, and that’s not what we want. Now let’s start to install the polymeric sand. What we’re going to do is bring 50-pound bags over to the work site and start opening those up and dumping them all over the paver patio.

How we spread that out is just a typical push broom. And we’re going to do one full run over the entire paver patio until we can be sure that every single joint has been touched by polymeric sand. Sometimes we can’t use brooms. Sometimes we’re working in a little bit of tighter, more intimate areas, like up against a doorframe. There, we’re going to want to use our hands and delicately move the sand into the paver joints.

After we have swept in our polymeric sand in between the joints of the entire paver patio, we actually need to get out a roller compactor machine to vibrate all the pavers. Because the joints are so close together, the sand can get trapped at the very top of the paver joint and not get all the way to the very bottom. We can actually be fooled into thinking that the paver joint is completely filled. This vibratory compactor is going to rattle all the sand to the very base. That way, we can then bring in a second sweep and fill the joints all the way up.

The second run of sanding is performed in the exact same manner as the first and is the final step of filling the paver joints. The very last and final step is to wet down the pavers with a hose. And once that moisture hits the sand, it bonds and hardens instantly, and that locks the entire project in.

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