Watch as This Old House Host Kevin O’Connor and Roger Cook, landscape contractor, build and install a new walkway with concrete pavers.
What is a Concrete Paver?
Concrete pavers can mimic the look of brick but are manufactured and produced in molds, resulting in a uniform look in size and color.
Steps for Installing Concrete Pavers
And since each paver is the same, installation is faster—unlike bricks that can vary in length and width, requiring individual cuts or locating just the “right” brick to fill the space.
Step 1: Determine the Pattern
- This walkway uses a “Running Bond” pattern, which means the bricks are laid, lengthwise, in the same direction, offset by 1/2 a brick. An easy and quick install, very few cuts are needed for this pattern—just a couple at the beginning and the end.
- Concrete pavers have a special feature that expedites the install—they have “nubs” on the sides—small bumps that allow them to fit together to create uniform spacing. Since clay bricks are not identical, it’s harder to maintain the proper spacing between pavers.
Step 2: Prep the Base for Concrete Pavers
The following steps are used for any walkway or path, regardless if you are using brick or concrete pavers.
- Mark and dig out the area where the walkway—including all the loam and clay—about 8-10″
- Add and rake a crushed limestone base, called a crusher run.
- Tamp down the crushed stone for a level surface area with a plate compactor
- Add about 1″ of concrete sand.
- Screed the sand—ensuring the surface is level.
- Lay the pavers. Take advantage of the “nubs” by clicking the pavers against the one you are laying it next to and drop it into place.
- At the end of the path, some of the bricks will need to be cut to fit. Once cut to fit, gently tap the cut paver into place with a rubber mallet.
- Pour a small amount of polymeric sand—a mixture of sand and binding agents—over the walkway. Use a broom to sweep the sand into the joints.
- Use the compactor to vibrate the pavers and move the sand down between the joints.
- Mist the bricks with water so the sand gets washed down between the joints and activated—the water causes the sand to “lock-up” and bind to the pavers.
Step 3: Install the Edging
Typically a brick paver will be turned on its side, buried standing up, to hold the walkway in place, but because concrete pavers are only finished on one side (the three other sides have nubs for easy installation, and the back of the brick is unfinished), the concrete bricks need to be laid flat.
To prevent the walkway pavers from becoming loose over time from wear and tear, plastic edging is installed against the bricks and secured with spikes. The plastic edging will be hidden by landscaping or grass.
Want to see more? Watch the installation of an ashlar pattern for a concrete paver patio.
Tools for building a concrete paver walkway
If you have a lot of area to cover, you may want to rent a plate compactor.