Fix sunken and lifted pavers to save money and eliminate trip hazards on a wet surface.
A swimming pool is the source of hours of family fun and lots of splashes. But often, it’s this water splashing over the paved pool surround that can lead to sinkage.
The underlying cause of the sinkage can stem from a sub-grade that’s not solid or hasn’t been compacted properly, the incorrect use of bedding sand, or washout caused by a lack of stable edging.
This pool was installed in 2004 with a bullnose clay coping mortared onto a concrete edge beam and surrounded with matching clay pavers laid in a herringbone pattern.
In the last decade, the compacted sub-grade of roadbase had settled, showing as sinkage in the paving.
Lifting the entire paved area and adding a concrete sub-grade is one solution but comes at a great cost.
Instead, we lifted the affected areas and re-screeded with stabilised bedding sand, then relaid the pavers. This repaired the problem in just a weekend at little expense.
To repair paving DIY, you need a few basic tools and materials.
SAND to bed the pavers. For this area, 100kg was needed, costing $10.
CEMENT to mix with the bedding sand in a 5:1 ratio to stabilise it and make it more resistant to sinkage. One 20kg bag, about $10, was used here.
GROUT for paving the area, either sand or a sand-and-cement mix. We used Pave Set, a blend of sand and gelling agents that inhibits weeds and insects, with four bags costing $56 in total.
ANGLE GRINDER to cut pavers to size. For big jobs, you can hire a brick saw for about $110 for 24 hours.
SPIRIT LEVEL for setting fall in bedding sand and screeding.
STEEL FLOAT for screeding bedding sand.
YARD BROOM to spread the grout sand.
BEDDING SAND is coarse-grained and easily screeded, and is often called packing or paving sand. It can be up to 5mm in diameter and is the leftover fines of crushed rocks, or natural sand such as washed river sand. The availability will vary with your location.
GROUT SAND is either a mix of fine sand and cement in a 6:1 ratio or just fine-grained beach sand. The dry mix is swept into the joints and the surface hosed well but lightly to prevent stains. Once the mix sets, there is less water penetration and weed growth.
Fencing the pool
Protecting your family this summer is as simple as ensuring your pool is adequately fenced. Pool fencing can be installed DIY, with attractive aluminium or glass options to suit modern backyards.
Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death for kids under five, and for every death, Royal Life Saving (RLS) estimates another three kids end up in hospital after near-drowning incidents in home pools.
Fit gates with child-safe latches and do regular maintenance checks to make sure the fence stays in good condition.
Relay the pavers
Carefully prise out one paver using two flat drive screwdrivers. Continue lifting pavers to the width and length required and set aside.TIP Lift and then repair about 3sqm of paving at a time.
Use a stiff banister brush to clean off grout sand from the edges of the lifted pavers. Use a steel float to remove any remaining grout from the edges of the pavers still in place to ensure they are clean and smooth.
Set a taut stringline across the area to be screeded at the finished paving height. Bed a screed rail below the stringline by the thickness of a paver, with the paver 5mm above the stringline to allow for compaction.
Add sufficient bedding sand to cover the screed rail, then pull a spirit level or straightedge over the rail, tamping the sand with a float to ensure a firm, level laying surface with the edges gradually blended together.
Complete the screeding for each of the areas that need repairing, then remove the screed rail and fill in the rail channel with additional bedding sand. Tamp and level off the laying surface using a steel float.
Set a taut stringline down the centre of the repair area, aligning with existing paving at either end. Lay the pavers following the pattern down the stringline, filling in the gaps to either side and spacing the pavers evenly.
Lay a spirit level or straightedge across the repair area perpendicular to the stringline to check the alignment of each row of pavers. Use the edge of a steel float or screwdriver to adjust the gaps and align the paving.
Compact the paving by either individually tamping each paver with a rubber mallet or using a straight length of timber, tapped along its length with a lump hammer. Hire a plate compactor for large areas.
Spread grout sand loosely over the dry paving surface and leave exposed to the sun for an hour. Use a wide yard broom to sweep the grout sand into all paving joints. Repeat so that all joints are fully grouted, then hose clean.