Interlocking pavers are available in a range of colors and styles and can be used to create exquisite designs that add an air of timeless sophistication to the driveway, the patio, the pool area and more. But in a very real way these versatile hardscape building blocks are only as good as what they’re resting upon: the sub-base layer. Here we’re going to ask some interlocking contractors about the role of the sub-base layer and its importance in keeping your pavers in line.
Interlocking Contractors Address Common Questions About the Sub-Base
Let’s start at the beginning. What is a sub-base layer?
The sub-base layer underpins the pavement and absorbs the load applied. It’s job is to distribute that load evenly to the sub-grade layer beneath it. If the sub-base has been well constructed it will prevent the pavers above from settling unevenly and will assist in drainage as well.
The ability of a properly prepared sub-base to support heavy loads is a remarkable thing. Even a thin layer of the right sub-base material, laid down and compacted properly can transform a paved area from one prone to ruts, channels and potholes into one that will easily support cars and light trucks. Conversely, when channels do develop in areas cars pass over on a regular basis (as in driveways) the fault can almost always be laid at the feet of a poorly constructed sub-base.
What Causes Sub-Base Problems?
- Not having one – Not to be flip but you’d be surprised how often this happens. Discount interlocking contractors need to ensure they turn a profit. To do so, some will simply omit the sub-base layer. Most homeowners won’t notice anything is wrong while work is underway and when the job is finished it’s nearly impossible to tell. By the time problems begin the contractor has cashed the check, changed their phone number and is nowhere to be found.
- A sub-base that’s too thin – Typically if the pavement is going to be supporting cars the sub-base will need to be 50mm deep, minimum. However, either out of a desire to save money or just incompetence some interlocking contractors will install a sub-base that’s just too thin. If your driveway pavers have been installed over one of these sub-bases you’ll likely start to notice the channeling phenomenon mentioned above.
- Improper materials/methods – Sometimes in order to save money those same discount paver companies will use something like old bricks they picked up on an earlier job to create the sub-base layer and then things can get really dicey. On other occasions a company may fail to compact the sub-base properly either because they don’t know what they were doing or because they lack the proper mechanical roller equipment.
How long will pavers last with a good sub-base?
Interlocking pavers have the ability to last for decades and longer when properly installed. In fact there are some pavers laid down by the Romans still in use in parts of Italy (those Romans really knew their sub-bases). But remember: interlocking pavers installed in your driveway will require a properly constructed sub-base just as surely as your house needs a properly constructed foundation. Make sure you ask about the sub-base while interviewing potential interlocking contractors. This may help to weed out the frauds.
M.E. Contracting is the Toronto area’s premier interlocking company with scores of satisfied customers in Toronto and across the entire GTA. Our interlocking professionals are dedicated to their craft and never cut corners or use cheap or inappropriate materials that could undermine your interlocking pavers. Don’t take chances with unknown entities or discount interlocking companies. Hire the best. M.E. Contracting. We’ll do the job right the first time.