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Matthew Bennett DC
12-04-2017, 11:10 AM
Hello everyone and happy Monday,

Ok... basically I can't start building up my workshop or do any new wood projects until I finish my current project which has been daunting because it's my first time and I think I bit too much this time.

So... I decided to build a new paver patio despite never doing one before. Naturally, I studied for over two month before ordering bricks and material. I went ahead and dug out the old concrete pad and dug down to the appropriate depth for gravel and sand. However... there is a technical issue that is boggling me down as I really do not want to make a mistake and be miserable for the next 10+ years. Simply stated, I am not confident despite extensive research on google.

So... I live in Silver Spring, MD and was wondering if any of you know and willing to refer someone within reasonable drive that have experience doing patios with pavers? I would love to have someone come over to study the issue, and give me instructions on what to do. I want to clarify that I am only asking for knowledge, not labor. I plan to pay for his/her time as time is valuable to all of us.

I already contacted a few paver companies and they all refuse to be hired to give consultation as opposed to doing the work themselves. I completely understand that they prefer to do the project themselves as it pays more. I just know I can do it on my own with laborers after getting some technical feedback.

Anyway, here's the pics ;-)

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Matt

Mel Fulks
12-04-2017, 11:25 AM
One frequent fault is the spreading out of the pavers. Concrete footings under mortared perimeter will hold up well.

Matthew Bennett DC
12-04-2017, 11:36 AM
Unfortunately concrete footings are beyond my means and research shows that a highly compacted gravel foundation and edging around the perimeter are good enough to last for decades. I know the whole project can be done in two week as preparation is already done but I want to pay someone to come over to examine the technical issue so I can move forward with confidence.

Ted Calver
12-04-2017, 11:36 AM
If you describe the problem you might get some possible solutions that would work.

Matthew Bennett DC
12-04-2017, 11:42 AM
If you describe the problem you might get some possible solutions that would work.

That would be hard to do without accompanying pictures. I'll take pics when I get home and compose a detailed description of the issue later tonight. I know the solution but am scared of the possible errors due to my inexperience. I guess I am just scared due to my inexperience and I haven't touched the project since 2nd week of Oct due to my fears!

Anyway, will get back to you with pics later tonight.

Matt

Mel Fulks
12-04-2017, 11:51 AM
Your message is clearly stated....but does not include what the problem is. I suggest taking a shot at describing the specific issue, and let us advise. If you fail in making it clear enough we will tell you and you can add detail. I suggest starting a new thread in Off Topic Forum, someone will give you a helpful free reply. I see now we ARE in off topic forum.

Mike Cutler
12-04-2017, 12:45 PM
Matthew

I think you're in the middle of "paralysis, by analysis". Everyone has been there, so no worries.
Take pictures of what has you stuck and try to write it as well as you can. I have no no doubt that someone here can either instruct you, or point you in the correct direction.
As long as you're not trying to skirt some type of code requirement, you should be able to move forward.

Matthew Bennett DC
12-04-2017, 1:11 PM
Ha, that's my name; Mr. Paralysis by analysis! Once I am home from work, I will take pictures, do drawings and explain what is paralyzing me. I am hoping to get it done before Christmas. Realistic timeline? probably not but always good to have goals.

By the way, skirting codes is not my cup of water. In fact, it's the opposite which is why I am always broke ;-)


Matthew

I think you're in the middle of "paralysis, by analysis". Everyone has been there, so no worries.

Mike Cutler
12-04-2017, 3:08 PM
By the way, skirting codes is not my cup of water. In fact, it's the opposite which is why I am always broke ;-)

You should have no problems then. ;)

Mel Fulks
12-04-2017, 4:50 PM
I bet it is an awkward grade issue. I had one that needed a set of steps, pavers , a retaining wall and a lot of dirt. Had a difficult time with the plan. Used clay at the kitchen table to design. And lots of sticks and strings outside. I didn't do any of non paper work. A pro could have done the design a lot faster, but not better. I did hire a landscape designer to draw a simple plan. Expensive enough, but too bare bones. It did demonstrate that I was going to have to just plan it myself.

Matthew Bennett DC
12-04-2017, 6:42 PM
Hello, here's the promised explanation with pics.

I really appreciate the help and attention you have given me with a project that is not related to woodworking. Well, kinda indirectly related to woodworking because I am banned from doing anything related to wood until the patio is over ;-(


Anyway, please take a quick glance at the layout pic before reading further so you can follow what I am saying.

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First of all, the backyard slopes against the house which means I have to make sure the patio is much higher up from the ground starting from the house and be only half inch above ground at the end part.


1. If you would look at pic #1, you will see that the new level of the new patio will be raised considerably above the ground and with 1 inch slope every ~10 feet, the patio will be approximately 1/2 inches above ground at the end.

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1a. Obviously I will need to add two rows of retaining blocks for a few feets until the ground catches up with the patios.


2. Now, look at the layout and you will see that the patio starts to gradually slope downward to level out with the concrete pad at the top of the stairsway that leads to my soon to be magnificant workshop.


Now, please look at pic #2 and you will notice that the ground is slightly higher than the concrete pad. so if the patio levels out and be the same level as the concrete pad, the pavers will be at least 1/2 inches below ground level. That's a big no no.

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If I raise the pavers to be 1/2 inches above the ground, it will be almost 1 inches above the concrete pad.


Option #1. Raise the concrete pad to be level with the patio and be 1/2 inches above ground level. However, the first step down the stairway will be considerable deeper than the remaining steps (not sure if code allows that).


Option #2. Raise the pavers to be a few inches above the concrete pad. This will not look nice and probably be a tripping hazard for people walking off the concrete pad.


option #3. ???


What should I do? I am adding misc pics to give you a better understanding of my job site. Enjoy ;-) and thank you so much for any feedback or suggestions you may have about my dilemma.

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Paul F Franklin
12-04-2017, 7:11 PM
I was going to suggest just regarding the area next to the pavers so the ground is below the level of the pavers, but I see you have quite a slope toward the house, which is not ideal in any case, but it doesn't give you much room to regrade. I would consider adding (or having a mason add) 2" or even 4" sandstone caps to the top of the stair walls. Then I would re-pour that little slab so it makes one more step (same rise as the others). Then I would slope the pavers up to be level with the new height of the slab. They should also slope slightly away from the house so rain ends up flowing to the lawn, not into your shop.

Good luck with your project, and hope you get into the shop soon!

Todd Mason-Darnell
12-04-2017, 8:05 PM
You are not going to get a good solution. Expert or no expert. You are trying to fight physics. The pad is lower than the surrounding grade and given that water runs down hill.....

Can you "V" the patio so that it slopes into the middle?

Stephen Tashiro
12-04-2017, 8:25 PM
First of all, the backyard slopes against the house


That seems to be a tradition among builders. Instead of having a good site plan,. they just level off enough land for the floor of the house and leave everything else to chance.

You'd be better off putting a low retaining wall on the uphill side of the patio and constructing the patio so it slopes slightly away from the house.

Technically the bottom of a brick veneer masony wall on a concrete slab should have weep holes or some provision to allow any water that gets into the wall to flow out. If you build outdoor things against the wall above the top of the slab, you make that impossible. Of course, some people don't worry about roof leaks or leaky pipes in walls - or some overly enthusiastic pressure washing of the exterior.

After a rain, where do you want the puddles on the patio to be? Near the house or away from it?

Mel Fulks
12-04-2017, 9:00 PM
I would give up the idea of using pavers there. Would build a deck type base topped with common 3/4 inch good one side plywood. Sturdy and sloped at least 1/8 th inch per foot. Plywood would have cotton duck (light canvas) glued to the good sides before installed on framing. Polyurethane caulking between adjoining edges. Surface would be painted or solid color stained with a lozenge square pattern in two colors. If that surface is low enough no railing is required. This is a real old proven treatment. Deck would direct water ,keep the ground under dry. My project required a lot of new dirt ,but the pavers went on a surface dug out to hard pan. Any questions gladly answered.

Matthew Bennett DC
12-04-2017, 9:19 PM
Wow, you guys had great suggestions and I think there's a pretty good solution forming in my head right now.

How about this... I add one more step on the concrete pad which would be above the ground by a few solid inches.

Naturally, I would extend the end of the fence to wall up the new step. Which will enable me to raise the pavers high enough which will solve all of my problems. Now I just need to figure out how to add a new step because I believe pouring new concrete on top of old concrete won't work.

Matt Day
12-04-2017, 9:29 PM
Instead of raising the level of the pavers at the house side, can you excavate down in the area 12 away from the house? Add a retaining wall and drainage of course. This would lessen the slope toward the driveway too, and I think would eliminate a topper course at the stairs. Speaking of which, there should be a handrail at the stairs regardless of the plan.

Bruce Wrenn
12-04-2017, 9:33 PM
Add a retaining wall and drainage of course. This would lessen the slope toward the driveway too, and I think would eliminate a topper course at the stairs. Speaking of which, there should be a handrail at the stairs regardless of the plan. Been in the building industry for over 50 years, I think this is the best answer.

Stan Calow
12-04-2017, 10:07 PM
I have a paver patio, struggling with drainage issues. The slightest amount of water will find a way to the natural slope and gradually wash away the sand through the retaining wall, causing slumping in some areas. I would only use pavers in a very even flat setting with drainage away from house. I like the deck idea myself.

Ted Calver
12-04-2017, 10:17 PM
Do it right. Protect your house and basement from flooding and regrade. It would be a fairly simple job for a small excavator to get in there and regrade 1:12 minimum away from the house and trench out an area around the outside of the patio for a 15"-17" above patio grade seating/retaining wall. Usually anything less than 2' does not require a permit. If possible, regrade the hill so there is a swale behind the wall to direct storm water away from the wall so you don't get wash over.

Mel Fulks
12-04-2017, 10:40 PM
Some fixes are easy but expensive. My reading is that if a footing for the pavers is too expensive some of the other things are out too. But maybe we have succeeded in nixing the friendly presently unknown expert who would come to site and yell instruction while wildly waving arms while two fingers are possibly pointing at stuff. The ending is a slow easily understood "how about $150?"

Mike Cutler
12-04-2017, 11:17 PM
Instead of raising the level of the pavers at the house side, can you excavate down in the area 12’ away from the house? Add a retaining wall and drainage of course. This would lessen the slope toward the driveway too, and I think would eliminate a topper course at the stairs. Speaking of which, there should be a handrail at the stairs regardless of the plan.

I like this answer also.
Your problem is not the patio you want to install, but the site. Push the site level out to a distance beyond the patio, on all sides, and direct the runoff away. A low retaining wall might add a little "dimension" to the project.
Backfill to level the patio with that concrete pad. Your going to be removing a lot of material and backfilling with even more.
That pad is your most "fixed" point of reference. Slope/level off that concrete pad.

Jim Becker
12-05-2017, 9:51 AM
Yup...you have a grading issue that really needs to be dealt with before you tackle the paver project. You need to get things so that moisture drains away from the house first. Given the terrain, that's going to involve removal of a bit of material to create a lower area on the side of the patio/pathway than the adjacent slope.

Ray Newman
12-05-2017, 11:37 AM
This is starting to sound like one of those do-it-yourself projects where it would be better, easier, quicker, and cheaper to hire it out...

Matthew Bennett DC
12-11-2017, 3:36 PM
Hello everyone,

It has been a few days since I have been here. Mostly because I needed the time to digest the information you guys were nice enough to give me. It is clear that there is no clear and obvious solution to resolve the grading issues.

1. I already ordered pavers, gravel, and sand so I cannot consider doing a deck instead.

2. The order already arrived and I now have over 32,000 LBS worth of material in my backyard which make it incredibly difficult to regrade the backyard. Therefore, I will have to figure out way to raise the patio and resolve the concrete pad issue. Once the patio is done, I'll spend the time regrading the backyard to ensure proper water drainage.

BOTTOM LINE: I think it's time to throw in the towel and hire a company to resolve the issues on their own. I already contacted a few patio companies today and hopefully they will contact me back soon. Do anyone know of someone who have experience and would like to take on the job?

Anyway, since the patio project will take more money and time than originally expected, I will have to exercise enormous self-control and put my workshop on the back-burner for a few months.

Sigh... oh well.

Thanks again for all of your feedback and time taken to respond especially when this is not a paving forum ;-)

Mel Fulks
12-11-2017, 4:16 PM
I would hate to have to deal with even small points of making a plan with all the materials in the way. You need someone who really knows how to deal with difficult grade. Make it clear you won't pay for arm waving. Good luck to you.

Matthew Bennett DC
12-11-2017, 4:26 PM
Thanks Mel, appreciate it. I do hope to have a completed patio by the time spring rolls by ;-)

Stephen Tashiro
12-11-2017, 4:27 PM
. Once the patio is done, I'll spend the time regrading the backyard to ensure proper water drainage.

If you're hiring a landscaping company, have them regrade the yard under the patio so the patio slopes away from the house. They should have the equipment to move the building materials out of the way. If you hire a company and only set them the task of building a patio over the existing grade, they may say "the customer is always right" and the result won't be any better than a bad homeowner improvised project.

Matthew Bennett DC
12-11-2017, 5:22 PM
Hi, actually this is going to be a paver patio which will have a foundation consisting of 6 inches of compacted gravel and 1 inch of sand. Also, the patio will be sloped away from the house at 1 inches per 10ft.

I am just limited by my inexperience so I don't know how to solve several technical challenges which is why I am trying to find someone to finish what I started.

Nothing wromg with swallowing my pride and ask for help :cool: