In the hardscape business, few flooring options are as stylish and beautiful as a well-made paver installation. However, for some reason or another, pavers can sink, and the installation can be compromised. So, how to level uneven brick pavers and bring a new life to your paver installation?
Pavers not only add value and bring a whole other level of aesthetical appeal to a project, they deliver structurally as well. Both of those things are compromised when some paver sunk on the sand base, forming an uneven installation.
That sinkage can happen because of several reasons that we will discuss later on. For now, let’s go straight for a guide on how to fix your uneven pavers.
How to Level Uneven Pavers: Materials and Preparations
Fixing uneven pavers is a really simple job. All you’re going to need is a flathead screwdriver (if you have two, even better), a rubber mallet, screeding, level, and sand (paver sand and joint sand).
The ideal screeding would be something with height similar to the pavers, but not wide enough that it can’t be placed on the interior of your installation. It can be difficult to pinpoint the size precisely, it will depend on how much ground you will have to level.
Before getting into the action, make sure you have all these materials available, as well a favorable weather forecast of no rain, at least while you plan to work on your installation.
Leveling Uneven Pavers
Step 01 – Lifting the Pavers
First, you’re going to work on lifting the sunken pavers. Gently place the screwdriver in one of the grout lines next to the paver in question and perform a “lever movement”. Pry the pavers up slowly, as not to damage them.
For the most difficult pavers, you can gently tap the surrounding ones using the rubber mallet and use two screwdrivers to perform the lever movement.
The amount of pavers you’re going to have to lift is up to you, but it is always a good idea to lift every paver around the uneven ones. In the most drastic cases, a good amount of pavers will have to be lifted, so assess the state of your installation before and prepare accordingly.
To finish this step, clean all the faces of the pavers you lifted using a stiff-bristled brush.
Step 02 – Level the Ground
With some pavers lifted, now the ground beneath them is exposed. Your next job is to level this ground using the screeding. Be aware that, at this time, the ground will probably not be level to the pavers yet, but that is not the point. The objective is to remove bumps and excess dirt from your installation.
Be patient and take your time. This is the most important step. You want to end up with a perfectly leveled ground in which to place your pavers afterwards.
Step 03 – Add Paver Sand
Now you’re going to carefully pour the sand around the exposed ground and screed it once more. If you’re using a screeding the same height as your pavers, it will work perfectly here, as you can compare it with the pavers that will still be in place.
Screed the sand in one single direction and remove the excess as you go. The level will be crucial here, place it on the sand, or maybe even in the pavers and the screeding, to make sure everything es perfectly leveled.
Step 04 – Lay the Pavers
Now is time to set the pavers back into place. Never shift the pavers around after you have placed them. Simply put them in place precisely, in one single motion. Once they are in place, gently tap them with the rubber mallet to really lock them in place.
Once you are finished and all the pavers are set back into place, spread joint sand around the area and sweep it around to fill the grout lines. Do that until all the joints are filled, and sweep the excess sand away afterwards. That will be the last step. You now have a fixed, perfectly leveled paver installation again.
Why do Pavers Get Uneven and How to Prevent it?
In some level, it is normal for pavers to sink after a few years. The natural erosion of the soil can cause the base and the sand beneath the pavers to shift, which in turn will make them sink.
But that’s the thing. It is normal in some level and only after a few years. If that is a recurrent problem for you, or if it happened sooner than expected, then you may have a bigger problem.
You can have, for example, a drainage problem, where too much water is flowing (or not flowing at all) around your installation. That will accelerate the erosion process and sink the pavers sooner and more frequently. If that is the case, you’ll probably have to redo your installation at some point, this time digging to account for drainage.
But maybe your problem is simply an installation not very well done. Any proper paver installation has three basic and important steps: digging with a slope for drainage, adding base material and adding sand base.
If any of these steps were overlooked or not done correctly, that can cause damage to your installation and cause the pavers to sink.
The best way to prevent that from happening is simply to make the best possible installation. The more time you spend planning and making sure your installation is perfect right from the beginning, the more it will last overall throughout the years. This article can help you plan the best installation possible.
Professional Help Fixing and Installing Pavers
So, as you could see, fixing uneven pavers is not hard and something you can safely do as a DIY project over a long weekend. Of course, that depends on how many pavers we are talking about.
A small patio or walkway is something, but a brig driveway, or an entire patio backyard maybe is a bit too much to handle. In that case, your best alternative is to ask for professional help.
Professionals will not only fix your uneven pavers the best way possible, but also identify the root of the problem and give you ideas on how to fix that as well.
And if you happen to be around the Sarasota and Manatee Counties, in FL, why not get in contact with us here at S&S Pavers? We have been providing the area for 10 years with best work in the installation and maintenance of pavers.