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There’s nothing like a party on your beautiful paver patio. Until a guest trips on a loose paver and tumbles face-first into the seven-layer dip.

What’s the story behind those pesky loose patio pavers?

Pavers aren’t set in concrete. They’re nestled on top of a bed of compacted sand. For the most part, they stay secure.

But over time, the sand settles into the ground, making the pavers lopsided. Gaps in the sand underneath cause pavers to wiggle loose.

Paver patios are a popular project for industrious do-it-yourselfers. But there are a few common mistakes homeowners make with paver installation that can cause pavers to pop loose over time.

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5 Likely Reasons Your Patio Pavers Are Loose

Let’s take a look at how to repair loose pavers AND why your pavers might be loose in the first place. Let’s keep the guests — and that dip — safe.

Too Much Space Between Pavers

If you didn’t use spacers when installing your pavers so the spaces in-between are uniform, there might be too much space between them.

Nice close pavers, lined up correctly, aren’t just for looks. It makes for a stronger, more stable patio.

Not Compacting The Sand Base

You want a firm, solid surface, which means really compacting that sand that goes beneath your pavers.

If you didn’t use a mechanical compactor, but borrowed your neighbor’s Saint Bernard to walk over your patio sand, a shifting base may have dislodged your pavers.

Skimping On Filler Sand

A generous amount of filler sand, fit snugly between pavers, helps keep them solid. If you skimped, there might not be enough sand there to keep pavers in place as the ground freezes and thaws.

Ignoring The Edges

Just like you nibble a cookie from the outside in, a paver patio usually starts wearing first around the edges. The center of the patio is nicely protected, but the edges are vulnerable to wear.

Did you take time to properly install edging? The edging can be bricks placed on edge, lumber or preformed plastic or metal. Edging can be added before or after laying the pavers. But do add it.

Potentially Poor Drainage

Are your patio pavers at the proper incline? For patios, rain and snow are unavoidable, but pooling water is.

A slight slope away from your home — one-quarter inch of drop per foot of length — is a good target to shoot for.

How to Start Installing Patio Stones

Now that you know it’s often a sand issue with loose pavers, you probably know what to do.

Right — add more sand. But here’s a closer look at how to repair loose pavers:

  1. Pull out the loose paver and add sand, small amounts at a time.
  2. Spread the sand out into a flat layer and then tamp it down. You want it to be even and solid to form a strong base for the paver.
  3. Use a level to make sure it’s flat and even. (Technology tip: you can get a level app on your smartphone.)
  4. Place the paver in the space and check its height in relation to the pavers around it.
  5. Then adjust the amount of sand as needed.
  6. Use a rubber mallet to gently tap the paver in place and seat it in the sand.
  7. Check that level again to make sure the paver is even and lined up with the pavers around it.

Nope — You’re Not Done Yet

You want this wayward paver to stay in place this time, so pour more sand over the area and use a push broom to move the sand around. It needs to fill the gaps between the pavers.

Wet the sand down and repeat the process until the gaps are completely full. When you think you’ve added enough sand, add some more.

Sweep away all of the excess sand. Voila.

Neave Knows Paver Patios

That looks like quite a process, and it can be, especially if you’re not completely confident in what you’re doing.

At Neave Masonry, we hear from a number of customers who’ve tried installing patio pavers on their own and, well, things didn’t end up looking quite right.

The expert masons at Neave know all the tricks of the trade and have the right tools to do the job right the first time.

Neave knows that paver patio installation isn’t easy. That’s why your personal project manager at Neave will help you design the perfect paver patio, then arrange construction teams and sort out all the details.

You can spend your time planning the patio party.

We’d love to hear from you. If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.

Landscape Planning Guide

Image: Placing paver, Loose bricks

landscape planning guide neave group cover

FREE Landscape Planning Guide

Download our FREE Landscape Planning Guide and start planning the landscape of your dreams!

Download Now