remodeling a basement

This is a private project, something we whipped up in around 5 days. I will keep this tutorial short and simple and mostly stick to pictures.
The existing patio was just a regular concrete slab with a small walkway leading to the back of the garage door. It has been there for over 12 yeas and it had to be removed. A quick jackhammer rental from Home Depot solved the problem.

Since I like to over do everything, we decided to use the busted up concrete as the base for our pavers. Since the concrete slab has dropped down over 10 inches over the years we needed plenty of fill to bring the pavers to the new patio door heights.

house plans

So the next step would be to lay down some grade A gravel and work out our slopes? Not for me. We decided to create a patio that would last a lot longer than your traditional deck. The problem with modern installations is the weakens off the outer edging that holds the pavers in place. They're weak and over a short time come out from the ground which causes the pavers to separate. Water then rushes in and washes away the sand causing them to be uneven and over all ugly. So what did we use for our Edge restraints? I decided to fabricate my own 12”H x 2x”W x 36”L concrete slabs that I would install on the outer edge.

It was an extra day of work. We only made 1 form from which all the slabs were formed in about 6 hours. Simply make a sturdy box to the desired dimension with one side open and with the right concrete consistency you can pour your concrete in the form, flip it over onto a flat plastic covered area (the plastic prevents the slab from sticking) and the shape will hold up once you take the form off (kinda like making a sand castle with a plastic bucket). This way you can make all your slabs from 1 form. For the concrete we used regular quickerete concrete with 5% additional cement to add strength. Once we pulled the forms off we coated the tops of the slabs with powder dye (to match the color of the slabs to the color of the pavers)

The next step was to install the slabs. Yes, it might seem backwards but believe us.. this is the sturdy way of installing pavers. We marked out our slopes using wooden stakes and lots of string. Once we had our layout and everything was level it was time to bring the slabs up to the marked areas. We used temporary shims to bring the slabs up in the place, then cemented the bottom with concrete. So the end result would be a large concrete footing right below the slabs. (yes, might be overkill but we wanted this thing to look like new 20 years from now)

Rushing over now pass the obvious steps (you can read a detailed step by step at the end of this article). After completing the slab installation we filled our area with gavel, compacted it using a power compactor and then poured and leveled an inch of sand. Here is a useful tip, add pest control agents into your sand mixture. I can't tell you how many times we saw carpenter ants build cities in the sand below the pavers. They force the sand through the paver gaps which causes them to sag. Pick up any pest control agents (powder form) from your local hardware store and sprinkle it on top of the sand before installing the pavers.

remodeling a basement


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