Before you decide whether to undertake an interlocking paving stone installation yourself, or to hire a contractor to build your project, it is important to understand the step by step process that goes into getting the job done right the first time.

Interlock paving stones are similar to a jigsaw puzzle in the way they fit together. This type of project differs from, installing something like tile which requires a nonflexible surface and mortar, because of the bonding component (sand), interconnecting process (friction) and fitment of the stone in addition to the construction required prior to the installation of the stones. There is much more work involved in the correct process than putting some paver stones on the dirt and walking away. All worthwhile though, when complete, pavers will provide a flexible and durable surface that will last a lifetime.

Let’s face it, interlock paving could be the best way to enhance the curb appeal of your home, and unless you have infinite time and money to devote to the project, you are going to want your installation done right the first time. If you’re still up for it let us take a look at what is required to get the interlocking concrete paving stone project you desire.

The first step you need to take on is to remove or demolish your current walkway, driveway, or patio of whatever is their now, and prep the area for your pavers. Whether it is grass, a rotted wood deck, a drab slab of grey concrete or cracked and fractured stamped colored concrete, it needs to be removed and the soil excavated and leveled to a proper depth for your outdoor home improvement project. Areas with increased weight requirements such as a car, truck or RV will require deeper excavation of the dirt and additional base installation. While excavating the area of your project be sure to dig to an even level. Often times this provides problems for those without equipment like a bobcat and can be EXTREMELY time consuming and labor intensive if all you have at your disposal is a couple of shovels and a wheelbarrow. Don’t forget about the excavated soil, where are you going to put all of that dirt? A dump truck is usually required to haul off the dirt and debris to the landfill.

Upon removal of the surface material and the soil, dug to the required depth, a woven geotextile fabric must be installed over the excavated area and under the aggregate rock foundation. A geotextile is a permeable landscape fabric made out of plastic that is designed to allow the flow of water yet restrict the migration of the foundation base rock into the native clay soil. For example, the typical gravel road will develop ruts and undulations when the soil beneath becomes wet. The soil will act as a sponge and absorb the gravel affecting the surface and creating uneven depressions. Geotextile fabric will prevent this from occurring and protect your installation. Make sure to use a woven geotextile because they are engineered for heavy high traffic areas.

After the geotextile fabric is installed you are ready to build the layered foundation that consists of base rock and bedding sand. Class II Aggregate Base Rock is required, and this material will consist of ¾ inch rock to fine rock particles. It is most important to use the correct material for the foundation, if incorrect or substandard base material is used your installation may not perform as you would expect. For the bedding sand sharp angled sand is necessary for proper interlock of the paving stones. These installations are designed to last a lifetime and if built properly will require little or no maintenance for years to come.

Now that the foundations for the brick walkways or interlocking driveways are put into place, the “easy” part is next. At this point, the term “easy” is relative. During this process there is one major advantage to having a professional contractor rather than doing it yourself, it is the fitment or cutting in the paving stones. If the walkway is a single squared segment, that is designed to fit the exact dimensions of the pavers, then the installation should be easy. However a creative advantage of interlocking paver motif is to create a design with curves, turns and imbedded patterns. These aspects of your project can become very tricky and most will require the craftsmanship of a professional.

When cutting in the fitment of your stones you will need a high power cutoff saw or brick saw with a diamond blade to cut shapes and curves into the pavers to fit the installation. If you’re doing this part yourself, it’s critically important to stay consistent with the cuts in your design. Because of the interlocking factor of the bricks, inconsistent trimming could cause a lopsided fit or flaw in the overall design. If you’ve gotten this far, it is imperative that you take your time to make it look right.

Every interlocking paving project is going to be somewhat different. There will be differences in stone selection and in the excavation and base depth required for each installation depending on its required use, foot traffic or vehicular traffic. The consistent factor of each project is that there must be an edge restraint to keep the interlocking concrete paver stone in place. Some use concrete curbs, retaining walls, plastic edge or even border stones set into a submerged concrete curb, known as a bond beam or foundation beam to hold it all in place. In Northern California interlocking pavement built with the most superior edge restraint has the submerged curb foundation beam, this is built at the parameter if the installation and secures the foundation base rock and the bedding sand, the paving stone is secured to the top of this part of the build.

After the cutting, hand placement of the paving stones, the edge restraint built and border secured, you are on your way to the last step, installing the jointing sand. The pavers are bonded together by sweeping sand into the surface joints and compacting the sand with a vibratory plate compactor until all the voids are filled with the clean washed sand. This allows the interlocking pavers to have a tight seal while still maintaining their flexibility and durability.

There are so many excellent qualities about using interlocking brick or concrete paving including the ability to create any color and pattern imaginable, increased living space, increase in curb appeal, beauty in form and function, and the ability to walk on it immediately after it’s completely installed there is no waiting for the surface to cure. The benefits are only limited by your abilities to imagine, design and install your paver project.


You’ve been planning all winter for the home improvements you want to make this spring, and you’re itching to get outside and take advantage of warmer temperatures. You’ve already figured out what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and how to pay for the renovations, and you can’t wait to get started. Unless you have a contractor who you’ve worked with before, you’re going to want to use some caution and not pick the first one listed in the phone book. Too many stories abound telling of price gouging, false low quotes, contractors who don’t finish the jobs they start, and others who spend weeks prolonging simple jobs. There are several rules of thumb you need to pay attention to when choosing a new contractor.

Never hire an itinerant contractor who comes knocking at your door soliciting business or one who demands cash up front. No legitimate professional works that way. Instead, you need to look for someone who has been in business in your neighborhood long enough to have established a reputation. If you have to hire someone you know nothing about, do some checking on him before signing on the dotted line. Look for a contractor who specializes in the type of work you want done. For instance, if you want to have a gazebo built, don’t hire a plumber. Naturally, this only makes sense.

A contractor’s credentials can be checked online to make sure that he is operating with enough of a cash cushion to be able to buy the materials he will need to do your project. These sites will also provide you with other information, such as business address, license, bonding and insurance information, and the length of time the business has been in operation. A credit review will tell you if he has had any financial problems in past business dealings.

As in any profession, there are unscrupulous people working in home contracting jobs. The Federal Trade Commission warns homeowners to avoid any dealings that don’t seem quite right to you. For instance, don’t trust a door-to-door salesman who claims he will give you a discount if you allow him to use materials he had left over from a previous job. Another red flag would be if he fails to give you an address and telephone number. And don’t allow any contractor to put you to work. If he says it will be your responsibility to get the necessary permits or expects you to recommend him to your friends, show him the door immediately.


How to make sure you choose a reasonably priced, reliable home improvement contractor.

A home improvement project is a major investment. Much time, effort and money will go into creating home improvements to make your home more enjoyable, livable and more valuable. The success level of your project will depend primarily on the person at the head of the project, namely, your home improvement contractor.

The home improvement contractor you hire should be able to schedule, coordinate, plan and activate those plans to provide you with the results you want in a timely and efficient manner. The abilities of the home improvement contractor you choose will determine the overall success of your home improvement project.

Home improvement centers, online sites and friends and neighbors are all good places to begin your search for a good home improvement contractor. It’s a good idea to try to get at least three home improvement contractors to give you a quote on your project.

Home Improvement Contractor

As you choose your home improvement contractor make sure you give each contractor the same set of plans or specifications to bid by. You want to make sure they all have the information and requirements. When you choose your home improvement contractor make sure you are comparing each contractor against the same checklist.

The checklist should include things like checking references, checking with the Better Business Bureau, comparing materials quality, comparing the timeline for completion, the professionalism of the quote and of course the price. The person with the lowest price may not always offer the best bargain.

To ensure that you’re getting the most reliable and highest quality home improvement contractor the materials they will be using should be investigated thoroughly. Sometimes a contractor with a lower bid may be using less than optimal materials. Make sure you check everything on your list before you make a final decision.

Professional home improvement contractors will have everything written in a professional contract before they begin the work. Read the contract carefully and get answers to any questions you have before you sign the agreement. Taking the time to choose your home improvement contractor carefully will give you the reward of a professionally completed project you can enjoy now and in the future.