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Thread: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

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    Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    Just curious, I have a job being done that requires decking around my new built pool. The contractor is laying Cambrindge Armor Tec Paving Stones around the decking and bullnose coping of the pool. The stones are part of a complete mixed set of 3 different tile sizes. For the most part they layed down the decking very even (level) but there are some random areas around the yard (approx 1500sq feet) where the edges of the 2 meeting slabs (13x13 and 13x9, etc) dont exactly lay levelly flush. Meaning if look at where the stones meet between the joints, one corner of the stone might be slightly higher by 1/16th of an inch or so ( I dont know exactly but if you ran your foot across it, you could feel the difference in height)

    So my question is, am I paranoid or unrealistic to expect the pavers slabs to be exactly level end to end, corner to corner across the entire yard?.....Or is there a certain degree of acceptable level difference that every paving stone job will have?

    My paver stated that they will mallet the pavers in areas that are slightly raised but that will only address some of the problems. He mentioned that some of the stones are not exactly cut to the same height and could be 1/16 or so off that would account for some of the height difference in some of the areas. He pulled up a stone and measured the thickness differences in some of the corners of the same stone.

    What do you think?...is a certain level of variation acceptable?....Am I expecting too much?

    Just curious....your input would be appreciated.......... thanks
    Design 14x26 (10,000 gal) in ground vinyl pool, 2 Wide Mouth Skimmers, 3 Returns
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    I think the acceptable tolerance is as much as you, the one shelling out the $$$, can tolerate.

    The state of my pavers (installed sometime well before I bought the house) would shock you ... 1/16" ... please. I am lucky if they are within 1/2"
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    Are they completely done with the job? Usually the last step when putting in pavers is to run a plate compactor over the entire area while sweeping sand/dust/polymeric sand between the stones. This locks them in place and levels all of them.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??


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    ComputerGuyInNOLA's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    Our installer told us he would do two re-levels free within the first year. He did just that. He told us they would settle and they did. They were awesome when they came out both times. The first was after about three months and the second about 7 months after that. The second time they carefully went over the entire surface and not only re leveled the entire deck, they redid the all the polymeric sand as well. Given that we have several that are now off by 1/16" after two years. It doesn't bother me. If they were off by over an 1/8" I would happily pay them to come out an re level them. At least it is not cracked concrete we are dealing with! Good luck.
    Gunite/Plaster pool at 13k gallons. All Jandy with CL340 series cartridge filter, 1.5 HP Jandy Stealth pump. Jandy 1400 SWCG and PDA4 controller. Dual waterfalls. Polaris 280. Pool installed August 2012. Southern Louisiana. And lets not forget my trusty TF100 test kit!

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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    If pavers are done with polymeric sand and your ground shifts a lot (soft soil), then you're looking at having to re-level every couple years or so.

    The only time I ever saw pavers "done right" is when a friend of mine paid for an extremely ridiculous driveway rebuild that used paver stones. On that job, the masons dug down something like 6", poured a mesh reinforced concrete base, leveled the top of that base with DG paver sand and then did the traditional shake & set method for installing pavers (uses fine gravel and a plate compactor to lock all the stones together). The driveway was amazing and I never saw a single weed or separated paver joint anywhere in his driveway. Of course he wouldn't ever say what that cost but we all knew it was a lot of $$$

    its your money, so you get to tell them when it's done right

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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    I asked them about the finishing step of running the compactor over the pavers....They said they dont run a compactor over slabs this size as it could crack them. They usually only run the compactor over 6x9 paver stones. These stones are larger slab stones. I dont know if this is some sort of BS or if its actually a common practice. I dont really have a reason to doubt them because they have been good but I just wanted some outside advice from you good folks. They said that once the stone dust is in between all the stones, it should look much more even and smooth. Just as a reminder this is a Cambridge Paver Stone mixed slab set of 18x18 , 9x18, and 9x9 paver stones image below. Do you think these size stones can be run over with a compactor?

    Design 14x26 (10,000 gal) in ground vinyl pool, 2 Wide Mouth Skimmers, 3 Returns
    Equip 3.0 HP Pentair VS pump motor, 48 FNS Plus DE filter, IC20 SWCG, 400Btu NG Heater
    Extras Easy Touch Automation, Pentair LED Lite, Kreepy Krawl Racer pressure cleaner
    Water pH 7.5, Total Alk 90, Free Cl 4.5, Combine Cl 0.25, CYA 65, CH 275, Salt 4100ppm, Borates (Boric Acid) 50ppm

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    Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    I would agree with your mason. The point of using a plate compactor is to cover as many stones at once as possible and tamp them down. If the pavers are quite large, then you will not get good leveling using a compactor.



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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    I don't think you want to run a compactor over that large stone. If the stones really do have a 1/16 inch height variance I don't see how the contractor can reasonably be expected to have a variance of less than that after installation. As mentioned above the main problem with pavers not set over concrete is settling over time.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    cwescapexlt4x4's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a certain ACCEPTABLE tolerance for the levelness of Paver Stones??

    I would be concerned also about cracking on large pieces
    Chris - aka cwescapexlt4x4
    (Build 8/26/14 - 10/17/14) in-ground Presidential Pools 15K gallon salt water pool Pentair Inteiliflo pump, Regal Blue Pebble, Clean & Clear filter, in-floor cleaning,
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