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Fun Weekend Project: Installing Pavers

The last few weeks I spent in Orlando to do the self surrender with the US Marshal, go to my arraignment and meet my new lawyer. The guy seems promising, he knows the prosecutor pretty well so I’m hoping that helps a bit. While I was in town my girlfriends mother wanted me to do some chores around the house, I installed a Bose Home Theater system, a new kitchen faucet, a couple garden hose racks and last but not least, a 16′ x 12′ patio.

Before starting the project she wanted concrete, but after weighing the cost and benefits of concrete vs pavers, she decided pavers were more aesthetically pleasing, so that’s what I went with. Having never installed pavers before, I didn’t really know all the costs involved, I initially calculated the cost at being around $800, but when all said and done the total was closer to $1200.  The cost of installing a concrete slab would have been about $700-800, so as far as the cost goes, pavers are definitely a little more expensive, but the appeal of a finished patio with pavers looks significantly better than concrete, so you really just have to decide if the cost is worth it or not.

About 80% done digging at this point in the project.

About 80% done digging at this point in the project.

To start the project, I staked in 2×1″s around the parameter and used a square and some orange twine to make sure the work area was pretty spot on. After getting the area mapped out, I started digging. I thought digging out a 16′ x 12″ area would only take me a few hours, but it ended up taking the better part of a 12 hour work day. By the end of the day I was beat.  I had to haul the dirt about 150′  to the banks of the creek, shoveling and pushing that wheelbarrow in the hot Florida sun sure takes a toll on you.

The next morning I got up bright and early and got started with the leveling sand. I realized I dug out a bit much so I ended up having to go get a couple 1000lb bags of sand before I could lay the pavers. After renting the Home Depot truck and unloading another 2000lbs of leveling sand, I leveled out the area, tied my level guide lines to put the entire patio at a slight slope (so it wouldn’t hold water), unrolled the weed barrier, laid out the paver pads, and by that time the sun was going down, so I decided to call it a day.

The third morning I laid out the pavers, after I got them laid out, I staked in the edging to keep them in place and then it was time to pour the concrete ledge/step between the patio and the house. If it had been my patio I probably would have just used gravel or rubber mulch but she insisted she wanted concrete so I headed back to Home Depot and picked up 10 bags of Quickrete, found some ceder boards on their 70% off rack and also got the paver sealer to seal the pavers and concrete after everything was all said and done.


Laying the pavers, one by one.

I was able to mix up the concrete bags in the wheelbarrow get it in the forms before it set up. I leveled and smoothed out the surface area and then lifted the forms and gave it a broom texture. Came out looking pretty good. Finally everything was starting to come together, all that was left was the polymeric sand and the sealant. Again with the polymeric sand I underestimated how much I’d actually need and only got two buckets. I ended up needing almost three buckets to get all the cracks filled to the brim. After I was done filling in all the cracks, I swept off the pavers and then used a garden sprayer with water to mist the polymeric sand.

Checking out the concrete ledge.

Checking out the concrete ledge.

At that point it was time to seal the pavers with Valspar high gloss paver sealant. Home Depot had it for $19.99 and Lowes was almost $27! I couldn’t believe such a price difference for the same exact product. One gallon was more than enough to seal the entire patio and the concrete ledge with two coats. I used the garden sprayer and turned the nozzle to a fine mist. After the sealant dried the patio looked very vivid and bright… I was proud of what I had accomplished. To finish off the project I had an inch or two around the outer parameter I had to trench out for the paver edging, so I filled that in with fresh soil and finally after three long days of work I was finished.  The concrete would have been a lot cheaper and faster, but I’m glad she wanted the pavers, it definitely looks better than concrete.

Written by Justin Smith

Justin Smith is a proud libertarian who wants to get this corrupt government out of our lives. From 9-6 he's an internet marketing and web development consultant, best known as the creator of In his free time he's always finding a way to give back, having co-founded, a healthy homes initiative, and educating youth on the dangers and harms of drug addiction via

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