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A Cheap Way to Ruin Your Patio

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

A compromise in price is a compromise in quality.

When in the planning stages of home improvement, budget is typically the driving factor. Having a good idea how much a project will cost, can help with future planning and implementation. You can then prioritize the elements of the project that are the most important and rethink elements that could be done in the future if they are not going to meet your budgeting needs now.

We will absolutely work with you through the planning and budgeting process. However, we are very clear that there are areas that we prioritize and cannot provide alternatives for; mainly being quality installation. Other contractors can save money and time by using cheaper materials for their base, and setting beds but we will not consider cheaper alternatives that will compromise quality. Bottom line.

You may be thinking, “What difference does using a cheaper alternative for a base make in the long run?”. Well, if you would like to rip up your hardscape in 2 years because it has shifted, settled or can not maintain a firm joint then sure, go ahead and find a contractor that will use cheaper alternatives. Only read further if quality is something that you are interested in.

So, what is a cheap way to ruin your hardscape installation?

Using stone dust / screenings in the bedding or base layer under your pavers.

It is true that pavers are more structurally sound than concrete and withstand more weight than a blacktop surface. The caveat here is pavers need the proper foundation. When using a cheaper alternative like stone dust, there will be several fatal consequences to the hardscape over the years.

Stone dust is as it sounds, the product of crushed stones. Stone dust can be used in farming to enhance the quality of the soil thus yielding in better crops, but it does not help yield better patios. In fact, major commercial and municipal projects do not use stone dust as a base because it is a practice experienced contractors know to be reckless.

The Break Down with Stone Dust

  • Quickly absorbs moisture/also releases moisture slowly which leads to efflorescence

  • Efflorescence: When salt deposits are carried to the surface of pavers or stones due to moisture. Efflorescence can clog the pores of porous materials, resulting in the destruction of those materials by internal water pressure. Essentially destroying the foundation from the inside out.

  • A compromised base from efflorescence creates instability for the pavers, which will cause them to shift

  • In climates where the temperature can range from hot and humid to cold and damp (sound familiar?), can cause cracking of the weak base. The expanding of water molecules as they freeze will cause the pavers to shift.

  • Using a stone dust base can void the product warranty of many paver manufacturers because they are aware of the increase in efflorescence and the poor structural properties associated with a stone dust base and therefore cannot in good faith extend a warranty on a paver that has not been installed properly. Makes sense.

Read that last one again.

Our Method

So, what do we use? We excavate and if necessary amend the soil. Geotextile fabric is laid over the excavated area and extend up the sides. 3/4“ Clean #57 stone is used as the structural base. Base stone is compacted and topped with a layer of geogrid. #8 stone is then placed for setting bed and finished to be ready for pavers. This is a superior method and selected material because it provides excellent drainage, does not contribute to efflorescence, compacts well for an even surface, and its coarse texture allows for the pavers to hold their position.

A quality hardscape is an investment that will bring increased value to your home for years to come, but ONLY IF IT IS INSTALLED CORRECTLY.

We install patios the right way, not the cheap way. We will never compromise the integrity of our patios to save money, and neither should you.

A quality hardscape is an investment that will bring increased value to your home for years to come.

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