Easier Paver Patios
A traditional base for a paver or stone patio is a 6-in.-deep layer of compacted gravel. For a typical 10 x 12-ft. patio, that means carting away about 2-1/2 tons of soil, and hauling in the same amount of gravel. But there’s an easier way. Let plastic panels take the place of the gravel base. For that same patio, you would need only 24 paver base panels weighing a total of about 30 lbs. to replace the 2-1/2 tons of gravel.
So how does it work?
Paver base panels are made from lightweight high-density polypropylene. The panels typically have tongue-and-groove or shiplap edges to keep the panel edges flush with one another.
You may wonder how a thin plastic mat can effectively replace a 6-in.-deep layer of compacted gravel. The answer is that the panels spread out the load, so the weight of a person walking on the patio is distributed more widely. Distributing the load puts less pressure on the soil and prevents the paver bricks from becoming uneven.
The panels have the added advantage of providing an insulating layer that reduces problems caused by soil that thaws and refreezes. And finally, paver base panels have built-in channels and holes to drain water to the sand layer below.
Paver base products have been around for only a few years, so it’s uncertain how they’ll perform long-term. But results are good so far. Studies from independent engineers have concluded that the panels are equivalent to a compacted gravel base for load distribution and superior for
Benefits of a Panel Base
- Requires less digging.
- Eliminates heavy gravel fill.
- Saves time.
- Reduces the cost of digging and hauling.
- Prevents damage to the landscaping caused by excavating equipment.
- Allows patio installations in fenced areas or areas with limited access.
- Protects the screeded sand while you’re installing pavers.