So you’re thinking about installing pavers for your home patio, driveway, or walkway, but you’re not sure if it’s a Do-It-Yourself type of project. As a homeowner myself, I hate to discourage other homeowners from taking a direct role in renovating their home exterior. Nonetheless, I always recommend that each person do their own due diligence when deciding on the path their project will take. Let’s go over the details you’ll need to consider before making your decision.
Before starting any work yourself, you want to build a plan. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean you need to become an overnight expert in the field or draw up blueprints. In fact, there are plenty of websites where you can find simplified instructions on how to lay pavers. What I really mean is that, as a homeowner, you should have a general idea of what you want out of the completed product. Consider the following checklist to decide if you’re next paving project is a D-I-Y, or if it’s time to call Supreme Construction.
When choosing the right paving brick or stone for your project, color and shape is not the only thing that matters. You have to consider many other factors when choosing the right material, including the seasonal weather conditions and property location.
The tri-state area’s seasonal weather can span both ends of the spectrum. For example, in the summer we face 100+ degrees of heat and humidity, and in the winter we could go to -10 degrees overnight. Because of how volatile the temperatures can be in our area, you will want to make sure you select the right material combinations to prevent your pavers from being damaged by weather conditions.
Within Staten Island, you will find many different types of terrain. Much of the island contains sand, and loose ground. If you head towards Todt Hill, you’ll notice how the ground becomes more rigid, and rocky. And then when you get to the coasts, you find that houses are more prone to flooding, and water damage because of their proximity to the surrounding bodies of water. When picking the material for your paving project, you need to evaluate the location of your home very seriously, because it could be the difference between success and failure.
When laying pavers there are several pieces of equipment that are vital to completing a successful project. Your goals should be to have a smooth, naturally sloping surface that will drain properly, and has a sturdy foundation that’s not going to shift underneath your paving material.
To achieve both the proper slope required for drainage, and set a strong foundation for your paved surface, you’ll need to operate what’s called a plate compactor. These machines will compact your foundation gravel so that it cannot shift once the pavers are laid down. For a small area of pavers, or perhaps a short walkway, this is not a major problem for th D-I-Yer. They even make a hand compactor that you can use for small areas, without having to worry about a big, bulky machine. However, when you start prepping the foundation for a large driveway, or patio, things can go quickly awry. Keeping the slope angle consistent while compacting the material as much as possible is hard to accomplish if you don’t have the experience to control a large surface area. Failing to keep the proper slope, or leaving spots of loose foundation material can result in uneven pavers, misaligned patterns, or weed growth through the joints.
Masonry Wet Saw
Depending on your design, you may run into the problem of figuring out how to cut your pavers to achieve a curved look. A lot of modern masonry design brochures feature a twisting walkway, or circular patterns within a driveway. These types of designs will most certainly require a masonry wet saw, which can cut through concrete pavers, natural stone, marble, and pretty much any material you might choose with ease. Depending on the size of your project, this can be a very time consuming aspect of your project, and will require a lot of measurements to get the right fit. Be warned though, masonry saws are notorious for exposing the operator, and people in the surrounding area to silicone, which can cause very serious health effects if proper precautions are not in place.
The last, and possibly most important factor to consider when choosing whether to D-I-Y or hire a contractor is your home improvement budget. When you’re dealing with your home, you have to consider the benefits you get from hiring a contractor. Hiring a quality professional with experience will add curb appeal to your home, save you time and energy, and gives you the peace of mind in getting the job done right.
As a homeowner myself, I understand the value of a well executed D-I-Y home improvement project, but when it comes to quality masonry, I wouldn’t take a chance on an online tutorial. If you still aren’t sure how to tackle your next paving project, then at least schedule a FREE Estimate & Consultation. There’s absolutely no commitment involved, and you can be the judge yourself. Whether you’re worried about the material selection process, the equipment involved, or simply want to stay on a budget, we’ll meet with you to evaluate all the possibilities with you personally.