How Failing To Compact Will Ruin Your Paver Project

If you have read some of our other blog posts, you know we’re huge advocates of “do it once and do it right.” This is because we have seen too many jobs go awry due to a step being missed during the paver installation process. This critical step is compacting the base. A proper compact will help maintain your project’s integrity,protect jointing material, and keep your outdoor patio or walkway looking sharp for a long time.

Techo Bloc Blu 80 Smooth Compact Base

Interlocking pavers
are made to be flexible, meaning that they will move, mold and mimic to any settling or shifts in the soil or base. If they are installed over  an improperly compacted sub-base  they are not going to stand the test of time.

Not to mention there are other variables that can exacerbate the issue of paver settling and moving on an improperly compacted base,

  • Weather: Freeze/thaw cycles can wreak havoc on a paver installation that was improperly compacted. Each void within the sub-base serves as a place for water to potentially settle. When this water freezes it will expand and cause the pavers to heave; when it thaws, the pavers will settle (but likely not evenly), eventually creating an uneven surface.
  • Car on paver drivewayTraffic: Driveway pavers that sit on top of poorly compacted areas will shift and compress over time. The weight of a vehicle will depress pavers into the weak spots, resulting in unattractive (and potentially dangerous) ruts and grooves on the surface.
  • Joint Failure: While polymeric sand is designed to be self-healing and flexible, it will not perform as intended if it’s installed on an improperly compacted job. Radical shifting and movement of the pavers will eventually cause paver joints to crack and fail over time.

Uneven Pavers from improper compact base


As you can see the resulting compression and shifting of the pavers on an awfully compacted base will quickly lead to problems … many of which can lead to redoing the whole entire thing. So do it right the first time to avoid costly repairs in the long run.



Compact Base with Plate CompactorQuick Tips To Ensure Proper Base Compaction:

  • Have the proper base depth. The guidelines are to dig about 4 to 6 inches for pedestrian walks or patios and 8 to 12 inches for driveways.
  • Use the correct base material. It is recommended to use a granular course stone        0-3 ⁄4″, otherwise known as “dense grade” for the base and to use concrete sand as the setting bed.
  • Don’t compact material all at once. Most  plate compactors will not compact any more than 4” of base. If you try to compact 6” of base, you will only compact the top 4” and the bottom 2” will settle. It is best to compact your base in lifts of 3″ – 4″.


You can find dense grade, concrete sand, premium pavers, polymeric sand, and all the necessary materials needed to build a successful patio, walkway, or driveway at TLC Supply in Quincy, MA. Please visit our website to see even more hardscape and masonry products!

The experts at TLC Supply are happy to answer any of your project questions, just leave your questions in the comments below!

 “Best Price, Best Advice” -TLC Supply,Inc.

Efflorescence Causes, Removal, and Prevention

What is efflorescence?

EfflorescenceBrickEfflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts (carbonates, sulfates, chlorides) that may appear as a chalky or white haze on surfaces of masonry, stucco or concrete.

The efflorescence  you are observing in your pavers is Calcium Carbonate, a by-product resulting from an interaction between the cement used to manufacture the paving stone and the natural environment, which includes the ground, the weather, and the atmosphere. In clay brick, the main component that can cause efflorescence is usually Sodium Chloride.

Efflorescence may appear soon after the pavers are installed or it could appear months after depending on several factors such as the climate, humidity, and the ingredients in the materials being used (such as cement, lime, pigments, and aggregate). When the stone is wet, you may notice that the efflorescence has disappeared but this is only due to water turning the efflorescence salts temporarily transparent rather than actually removing them. Once the surface dries, the efflorescence salts will re-appear.

EfflorenecePaversThere is no need to worry because your pavers and brick are not defective. Efflorescence is naturally occurring in cement based products and it will correct itself with time and exposure to the elements.

Why does efflorescence occur?

Concrete products contain cement which produces lime or water soluble calcium oxide. Since pavers have millions of microscopic capillaries, when moisture enters these capillaries it reacts with the calcium oxide and then calcium hydroxide is formed. This rises to the surface and reacts with carbon dioxide in the air and forms a white haze of calcium carbonate. When the moisture on the surface of the paver evaporates it leaves behind the white haze of efflorescence. Still curious about its formation? For a very in depth explanation of efflorescence please click here.

Efflorescence Diagram

How do you eliminate efflorescence?

As mentioned above, efflorescence is a naturally occurring phenomenon and it will correct itself with time and exposure to the natural elements.Since many factors are involved in the formation of efflorescence it is hard to determine when it will stop occurring. But if you would like to alleviate the problem quicker there are detergents available that can help clean and remove efflorescence. Another option to prevent efflorescence is to seal the pavers with a breathable sealant once the efflorescence is cleaned off.

Enjoy your beautiful pavers efflorescence free!

TLC Supply carries several professional grade detergents and breathable siloxane/silane sealers that can help alleviate the effects of efflorescence. We also carry a wide selection of premium pavers from Techo Bloc, GenestBelgard and Cambridge Pavers. Please visit our website to see even more hardscape and masonry products ranging from bluestone,granite,brick,natural stone,block,sand,cement, and much more!

Before you go check this out! You may even like our posts  on How to Build a Paver Patio

The experts at TLC Supply are happy to answer any of your project questions, just give us a shout! Leave your questions or comments below. 

 “Best Price, Best Advice” -TLC Supply,Inc.

How to use Polymeric Sand

6 Steps on How to Use Polymeric Sand

Polymeric Sand is the best choice for filling in your paver joints. There are many advantages to using polymeric sand over other traditional sand, which you may read about here.

Though the benefits are great, the installation of polymeric sand requires time and attention to detail. There are specific steps you need to take in order to joint pavers with polymeric sand to ensure a successful application. Just follow our helpful steps below!

PolymericSandStep 1: Spread

After you have ran a vibrating plate-compactor over the pavers in several directions to compact the pavers (check with your paver manufacturer if it is safe to use a compactor on their product), spread the polymeric sand into the paver joints with a stiff bristle broom. We recommend using Alliance Polymeric Sand.

Tip: If a vibrating-plate compactor cannot be used, tamp the stones with a rubber mallet and make sure the pavers are settled into the setting bed.

Step 2: Repeat

Spread the sand, sweeping it into the joints, then compacting as you did in Step 1. Do this at least twice to ensure the joints are filled with sand.

PolymetricSandApplicationStep 3: Clean 

Using a fine-bristle broom, remove any excess sand from paver surfaces. Make sure the finished sand level is at least 1/8 in. (3mm) lower than the chamfer of the pavers. Using a leaf blower, gently remove any sand residue from paved surfaces.You may even use a vacuum to remove sand from the surface of the pavers.

Tip: Make sure the paver’s side and top surfaces are dry before applying the polymeric sand! The polymeric sand will harden if it is moistened and will adhere to the surface of the paver.

PolymericSandStep 4: Mist

Once you have removed the polymeric sand from the surface of the pavers you can lightly mist the pavers and joints with a hose. Do this at a height of about 4 feet. Mist the area for about 10-15 seconds. Wait about 3-4 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5: Mist Some More

Now from a height of 2 feet, mist the area again. Mist and rinse simultaneously to ensure that any sand that may have gotten onto the pavers is washed off. Again do this  for about 10-15 seconds. Wait about 3-4 minutes before repeating the process again. Be sure to stop misting when you see a minimal amount of puddling in the paver joints.

PolymericSandStep 6:  Touch Up

Use a leaf blower to gently remove any excess water on the surface of the pavers. This will help remove any polymeric sand that may be on the pavers surface during the previous step.


TLC Supply carries Alliance Polymeric Sand in two colors, grey and beige. We also carry a wide selection of premium pavers from Techo BlocBelgardCambridge Paving Stone, and Genest. Please visit our website to see even more hardscape and masonry products ranging from bluestone,granite,brick,natural stone,block,sand, and cement!

Before you go check this out! You may even like our post on The Best Polymeric Sand To Use or How to Build a Paver Patio!

We are happy to answer any of your project questions, just give us a shout! Leave your comments below. 

 “Best Price, Best Advice” -TLC Supply,Inc.