Choosing the best color for your pavers is just one step. Installing them on the ground is a different ballgame altogether. What lies underneath the pavers becomes its foundation, and you must consider several factors before choosing the best base material. These factors include the following:
- Drainage requirements
- Use of the area being paved
- Methods used for installation
- Geographic location
Combining these factors eventually determines the base materials to place underneath your pavers. Several base material options exist, including sand, mortar, gravel, pedestals, or bitumen. Given that the base material becomes the ultimate foundation for your pavers, you must make the right choice. A good foundation provides several advantages, including proper drainage, stability of the patio or walkway, and longevity.
Making the right choice can be tricky, but our team has extensive knowledge of paver base material options and their unique strengths and weaknesses.
The Advantages of Using Gravel Underneath Your Pavers
Even though there are several options you can use as the base material for your pavers, gravel stands out as the all-season best choice. For instance, gravel is most suitable in areas that experience heavy rainfall. Heavy rains make the ground soggy, damp, and regularly wet. Gravel placed underneath pavers serves the critical purpose of allowing moisture to escape from the ground. Eventually, gravel regulates how much water stays underground, leaving little to damage the pavers.
The second advantage of using gravel is probably the most important. It entails the gravel forming a firm support, preventing pavers from sinking into the wet, soggy earth. Driving over a paved driveway automatically sinks the pavers if you use dirt instead of gravel, especially in a geographical area that receives much rainfall.
The second advantage is achievable by paying attention to the gravel type used and the size of the gravel. For example, roadbed gravel or gravel made from crushed rocks is advisable. If you ask your supplier for this type of gravel, you should specify that you need ¾ minus gravel, given that this is the standard size of the largest pieces of gravel. Other suppliers could recommend one-and-a-half-inch gravel, which also works well when placed underneath pavers.
The size of the gravel needed to form the paver foundation is naturally rough-looking, which also means they do not come at an exorbitant cost compared to ornamental gravel. The roughness of the gravel gives it an unfinished look, which may not be pleasing, but these haphazard shapes and sizes tend to lock together to form a solid base for pavers. A solid base for the pavers guarantees your peace of mind, even though it could mean extra digging to ensure there is about six inches of gravel underneath the pavers.
What Happens when you do not use Gravel underneath your Pavers?
Installing pavers without a gravel base is probably the worst mistake. Specifically, gravel prevents the negative effects of too much water in an area, given that poor drainage eventually loosens the soil that should keep the pavers together. Water can accumulate underneath the pavers, causing erosion until they begin sinking.
Using pavers on patios, walkways, and driveways is generally due to their aesthetic appeal. Not using gravel as a foundation could mean losing that primary reason for using pavers, especially when they create small water pools that are breeding grounds for certain insects and rodents. It is common to notice some unwanted weeds growing in these spots, making it hard to maintain the walkway or patio.
Undoubtedly, using gravel underneath the pavers offers significant advantages. However, rainwater and excess runoff can still cause damage to the pavers if the gravel base is not compacted properly. Therefore, it is best to contact Viking Pavers, a professional service provider whose expertise in the field will provide advice and technical know-how on how to use gravel underneath your pavers. A single mishap can cause financial loss, so contacting Viking Pavers for that peace of mind would be your best bet!