A concrete paver patio can instantly add beauty and texture to the appearance and functionality of your home. However, whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a contractor to handle the job, careful planning and a lot of patience are essential when taking on this type of project.
One of the primary concerns among homeowners is the cost of installing a paver patio and rightly so. What may seem to be a simple project can easily cause a major dent in your budget. Since every landscape is unique, it can be difficult, if not impossible to provide hard and fast figures for the installation cost and materials needed.
Do it Yourself or Hire a Contractor?
During the planning stage, your contractor may be able to provide you some preliminary cost estimates. However, it is important to keep in mind, there can be a number of unforeseen factors that can drive up the overall cost.
In an effort to provide you with a rough estimate, the average cost of installing a brick paver patio for the year 2014 is generally anywhere between $10.42 and $12.43 for every square foot, if you plan to hire a licensed, insured and bonded contractor. This calculation is based on the average cost of materials, productivity rates, and the national mean for hourly labor wages.
If you are looking to take on this project yourself, the average base materials will cost you around $2 to $5 for every square foot and installation may be anywhere from $4 to $10 for every square foot.
When hiring a contractor, due diligence is important, as it will not only save you money but unnecessary headaches as well. Seek referrals from trusted friends and relatives, and make sure to conduct the necessary verifications and check previous projects before signing on the dotted line. For the best value, consider combining related projects and seek out professionals with proven track records. Most contractors are willing to give you a better price if you are flexible with the project schedule as well.
Factors That Affect Total Cost
As mentioned, there are certain factors that can significantly affect the overall cost of your paver patio installation project. With this in mind, you should take into account these factors when calculating cost estimates to avoid going beyond the allocated budget.
The simplest project that will incur the lowest installation cost is a square patio with square pavers. On the other hand, if the project involves a curvilinear patio with intricate patterns made up of varying colors, you can definitely expect the cost to significantly increase. Projects that fall in between easy and complex are best calculated based on a square foot basis.
When trying to come up with a rough estimate, you should also take into account the condition of the area where you plan to install the patio. If there is an existing structure, patio or deck, then you should include the removal cost. If it is just a lawn, then it will not greatly impact the cost since the project will generally require excavation of some sort.
Another factor that can potentially hike up the installation cost is the access to the area. If there are narrow side yards, walls or buildings, heavy equipment like a Bobcat may not have the ability to operate in the area. This will result in an increase in labor to manually move materials. While this will not influence the cost of the material, it can mean additional days to complete the work or even additional laborers.
If the area has an existing concrete slab, a jackhammer may be required to break it up. In addition, when dealing with old patios, footings sometimes need to be dug out. In areas with colder climates, this can mean a significant amount of additional work.
With the exponential increase in gas prices and landfill cost, the removal of any demolished structure can add significant cost. This is especially substantial when the project involves a lot of masonry and old concrete, wherein heavy equipment is required to load it into trucks. This will also mean additional man-hours as well as the cost to load trucks, haul and dump debris.
If the project area is mainly made up of heavy clay soil, it will demand absolute compaction to ensure the future settling of soil is prevented. This will naturally mean use of special equipment and additional man-hours. In fact, in some cases, certain soil conditions will require the expertise of a landscape architect to determine the geo-textile to address possible issues of structural integrity.
In order to make sure the surface of the area is at its optimal level, excavation is required. Generally, the depth required should be greater in driveways compared to walkways or patios that are not expected to support the weight of vehicles.
Unless you have a strategy in place to ensure the edge blocks of the paver patio will stay in place, you will run the risk of moving or settling over time. This is why anchoring techniques are often employed. There are a number of options for this, such as a soldier course for pavers that are installed deeper around the edges to effectively anchor the edges. Another anchoring option is an invisible support structure that is covered with lawn or soil. If budget is not an issue, a more expensive option is a concrete strip that is designed to act like a barrier curb.
Type of Paver and Choice of Pattern
If the project involves a more elaborate pattern, it will require more units and generally means a greater amount of wasted materials. Square and rectilinear designs are widely preferred, as it requires a decreased amount of fitting and cutting. With this in mind, you also need to consider the degree of difficulty in your design when calculating costs.
Paver Patio Installation as a DIY Project
If you are the type who prefers handling home improvement projects yourself, then you might want to add a paver patio on your list of to-do’s. While the prospect of taking on a major project may seem daunting, it is actually easier than you think, especially when the paver is laid on sand. Even if you have no prior experience in laying bricks, tile or concrete slabs before, you can definitely tackle this project with a little bit of help.
In order to determine the amount of materials you need to purchase, you first need to properly measure the length and width of the patio. You simply need to multiply the length and width in order to get its square footage.
Normally, you will need a minimum of 4 inches of gravel to cover the project area. To determine the right amount, you simple need to multiply the length, width and the height.
After you have determined the amount of gravel you require, you also need to properly calculate the amount of sand. For this project, you need to lay 1 inch of sand on top of your gravel base. The sand will naturally fill in the spaces between the patio pieces and filter into the base of the gravel.
Based on standard sizes of brick pavers, the bricks measure 4” x 8”. With this in mind, if you need to cover 10 square feet, you will need roughly about 45 pieces since you will need about 5% to 10% surplus as allowance for breakage. So, if you need 45 bricks for every 10 square feet patio, you will need 450 bricks to cover a 100 square feet area. In case you prefer to use pavers that are not in standard sizes, you need to determine the surface area of the material you plan to use and divide the number by the total surface area of your patio to determine the number of units.
As mentioned, to keep your patio materials and soil within bounds and at the same time add structure and appeal, edging should be installed. This can take a fair amount of time to properly install, which you can do before or even after laying down the bricks. There are a number of options to choose from for edging such as metal and base edging, wood edging and brick edging.
If you plan to use plastic and metal, the edging strip should be set no more than one inch above the level where the lawn adjoins the patio. For wood edging, you need to dig a trench along the patio, which should be deep enough to allow the edging to rest about one to two inches above the ground. You can then add sand to level the edging and set it in place.
For brick edging, you will also need to dig a trench along your patio and like wood edging, it needs to rest one to two inches above the ground. You will also need to add sand to level the trench in order to set each brick using a rubber mallet to keep it in place.
If you have an elaborate design, it is best to purchase or rent a brick cutter. Just make sure you have eye protection and thick work gloves when you cut the pavers. You can also use a cut-off saw for the same purpose. However, for this you will need to wear hearing protection as well as a respirator or safety mask.
Good luck on your new project!