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The Top 7 Problems and Solutions for Interlocking Concrete Pavers


Over the 27 years that Bahler Brothers has been in the paver installation business, we have seen pretty much anything that can go wrong, and have learned from those experiences. This article lists the top 7 problems that we find with paver installations and the solutions that we have found to work best for the climate we have here in Connecticut.

  1. uneven paversProblem: The pavers are very uneven and at different heights.
    Solution:  Most often we find that if the pavers are uneven, the base they've been installed on is not deep enough or of an even thickness. If the existing project site has clay soils, that means that they will hold a lot more water than soils that are more sandy. More water in the soil means that when the ground freezes it will expand more and therefore push the pavers up. When the ground thaws out again, the pavers aren't always able to go back to the way they were, especially if sand or stone has moved in under them when they were raised and out of line.
    There is no easy way to solve this issue without starting over. That means taking up the entire project, removing the stone dust and using the processed gravel. It's far better not to cut corners to begin with.

  2. pavers along a fixed edge are disappearingProblem:  The pavers along a fixed edge are disappearing.
    Solution:  The gravel base and sand setting bed have escaped and washed out from under the pavers. Using a filter fabric under the base and up the sides of the project excavation will prevent this from happening. It is possible to fix just this one area, without starting completely over. A piece of filter fabric can be patched in and new base can be added and the pavers reinstalled.

  3. Problem:  The pavers are uneven and at different heights. (see the photo in #1)
    Solution:  Stone dust was used for the base or as a setting bed. Stone dust is a screening by-product that we can get from some gravel pits in our area. The issue we have with stone dust is that it breaks down and becomes a fine dust when it's compacted and installed under pavers. That dust holds a lot of water and acts like a clay soil when it freezes and thaws. processed gravel and stone dustWe prefer to use a 3/4" processed gravel that has various sized particles along with some fines. It is great for getting a nice even compaction.
    There is no easy way to solve this issue without starting over. That means taking up the entire project, removing the stone dust and using the processed gravel. It's far better not to cut corners to begin with.

  4. settled area of paversProblem:  An area of pavers has settled.
    Solution:  A lack of compaction is the biggest reason for an area to settle. We see this most often when we're on a project site where the house or pool is newly constructed and backfilled. The backfilled soils were most likely not compacted as they were filled in. This is also common when the ground under the pavers has been dug up and not filled in properly - like if a tree stump was dug out or if an underground utility line needed repairing. This is fixed by pulling up the pavers, adding more gravel base making sure it is compacted in intervals as it's added. Once the base is brought back up to the proper level and pitch the bedding sand and pavers can be reinstalled.

    paver border looks like it is falling off
  5. Problem:  The border pavers look like they're falling off.
    Solution:  There was no edge restraint installed to hold the pattern tight together. There are a couple of types of edge restraints that paver installers can use. The most popular one used in our area is a PVC edging that gets spiked into the gravel base that the pavers are installed on. In order to fix it, the pavers need to be pulled up, more base and sand need to be added underneath and an edge restraint needs to be installed.

  6. pavers puddling where they settledProblem:  Water is puddling on the pavers.
    Solution:  There could be 2 things that happened here. The base may not have been installed at the proper pitch and may have had a slight low spot OR the base was not compacted enough and it has settled over time. The way to fix it is to pull up the area that has settled, add more base, compact it and reinstall the pavers.

  7. pavers not swept and compactedProblem:  Pavers are uneven and tipping.
    Solution:  This is what happens when the pavers are not swept in with joint sand and compacted into the setting bed. After the pavers are completely laid in the pattern of choice, the border is in place and the edging has been spiked down - a concrete sand or polymeric sand is swept into all of the joints. Next a vibratory plate compactor should be run over the entire project. More sand is then usually required to top off the joints and the project is compacted again 2 or 3 times.

These 7 situations are common when short cuts are taken while preparing an area for a paver installation. These examples may not show up right away after the project is completed, but over time they will only get worse. To download our 7 page, full color whitepaper on the 9 Steps to a Long Lasting Paver Installation, click the link below.



Seeking help/info...put down concrete pavers...followed directions to put in the interlocking sand...fill, sweep, blow off with leaf blower...wet per directions... when the pavers dried...there was a film of sand around all the pavers! Yikes. I've tried everything suggest at building store (cleaners, effervences removal products...) and it's now getting worst rather than better...almost like the the "grey" cemet is showing through (They were light brown cemet colored when I started....) 
Thanks for any info Peace. D.
Posted @ Thursday, October 04, 2012 4:31 PM by D. Martin
I just had concrete pavers installed. My problem is with the color of the red brick does not come thru. Was told rain wd wash stone dust/polymer dust off, but it has not helped. My bricks are supposed to be a city brick reddish color but they are ash gray. My patio looks as if powder was sprinkled all over it. The contractor came back after my complaint and tried a chemical wash, but it still looks whitewashed. Of course, I have paid in full and the contractor does not want to rectify the situation. Can anything be done to get rid of the white dusty look of the red bricks I paid $7000 to have installed? I wd appreciate any information you can give me. I am sick about this as we plan to sell the house in a few years and this is such an eyesore as you enter the front of the home and will turn buyers off.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 05, 2013 11:21 AM by Gloria Durrane
I second Gloria Durrane's question. Same issue with red pavers, they look pink'ish because the contractors did a in line dry cut for the soldier course.
Posted @ Monday, June 17, 2013 1:19 PM by Jason Bates
Part 2. I contacted the regional rep fir Techo-Bloc. He made visit to site in question. He Took pics, sent to Corp. He told me it was called Poly-haze, a residue left by the polymeric sand and he called the co. That sold contractor the pavers and told them what was needed to take care of this haze issue. I am still waiting for the contractor to show up and do the job. Will let you know what happens. Stay tuned for Part 3
Posted @ Monday, June 17, 2013 6:39 PM by Gloria Durrane
This is a helpful article. However, it does not address polymeric haze, or the white cast that is often seen on pavers post-install. Sealing the pavers can keep this from happening. Seal 'n Lock is a great product and protects your investment (and it is environmentally friendly),
Posted @ Monday, February 10, 2014 5:10 PM by terrie
Co. Rep said he wd come apply the wash himself. Backed out when I mentioned the word "lawyer". I contacted the brick supplier. The owner felt so bad for me, he took a Sunday, came out and applied an acid wash, went off to have lunch to let the wash work. Returned and scrubbed and hosed pavers. He said they would not look like the picture in the catalogue, but believe me, they look much better than before. So, there is an ,acid wash that can be used to help bring the color up. I am afraid to mention the two companies, brick manufacturer, who was no help at all. And the local paver supplier that helped rectify the situation, at no cost to me. If you need more specific information re what they actually used to clean the bricks, or who the paver installer was that ignored me when the job did not turn out right, or the paver supplier that came to my aid, Just let me know.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:25 AM by Gloria Durrane
New raised patio installed. Europavers from Unilock. I am meeting with a rep. from Unilock to address an issue with what appears to be bleeding of a black ink type substance from some of the pavers. Anybody have any ideas what this is? Was it a faulty manuf. process? Thanks
Posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 10:35 AM by Ken Hudanish
Part 4 re: Techo Bloc install done a year ago. The color is just okay, does not look like the picture in the catalogue. My complaint now is re: the polymer grout product used between the bricks--I was told no weeds or moss or grass wd grow between the bricks-- not so-- weeds growing thru the grout. That was the reason had previously laid paver bricks removed and replaced with Techo-Bloc pavers. I see there TV ads -- all I can say is "buyer be ware".  
had it with companies & contractors
Posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 6:30 PM by Gloria Durrane
Thank you Gloria. D. I have the same problem on a new driveway and I could not word it right and thought maybe I'm imagining a problem. I want to get this acid wash too. 
Whats it called also why does this happen, my neighbor got it done right after me with the same people and theirs looks nice. Does this happen because the job was not done well? 
Thanks so much, 
Jacqueline Heiny
Posted @ Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:11 PM by Jacqueline Heiny
I've installed a wall around my concrete porch and a month has passed and the whole wall has shifted. I'm noticing that the earth that I haven't touch on the side of the house has a crack in it. I have dug about 12 inch and installed a fabric and tampered the whole thing? 
Anyone has a clue of what is happening? 
Posted @ Friday, August 29, 2014 7:36 AM by Cesar Gervais
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