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This post explains how to fix your patio pavers yourself, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
Do you have patio pavers that are sinking and becoming uneven?
I sure did.
And when I checked with a few landscaping companies, they quoted me thousands of dollars to fix it! That was not in our budget.
And that was okay.
I’m here to tell you that you can take on this project and fix your patio pavers yourself.
Save that money and give this a try first.
If it doesn’t work out, then you can hire the experts. And if it does work out, #winning!
I personally enjoy a good DIY project though, don’t you? The satisfaction of completing something, getting good results, and being able to tell people “I did it myself!” are nice perks. It gives me the incentive to try things that I might’ve just hired out in the past. Like fixing our patio pavers…
I love the patio in our backyard, but after a couple of years in our house, there were a few places that the patio pavers were sinking. It was getting bad enough to become a walking hazard. Not cool.
So I rolled up my sleeves, bought some supplies at my local hardware store, and got to work.
Here’s the list of supplies you need to fix your patio pavers yourself.
- Pea Gravel, enough for an inch or two below your pavers
- Paver Base, enough for an inch below your pavers
- Paver Sand, for filling the cracks between the pavers once they’re back in place
- Rake, for spreading out the gravel and paver base
- Hand tamper (optional), to pack down the gravel and paver base if you’re redoing a large area
- Mallet, to set the pavers in place
- Gloves, to save your hands while moving all those pavers and from accidental mallet-ings
- Level, to make sure you are putting the pavers back in for a flat surface
- Broom, for sweeping the sand into the cracks between pavers
Helpful hint: You may be tempted to cut corners and just use sand under your patio pavers, but I don’t recommend that or you’ll probably be doing this project again in a couple of years.
A bit of sand appears to be the only thing that was under our pavers when I pulled up the sinking ones. And it didn’t hold up well.
It turns out that the patio pavers that still looked good and weren’t sinking had been placed over the old cement patio, and the patio pavers that were sinking had been installed around the old cement patio to enlarge the space a few feet.
You can see the “before” and “in progress” pictures of our patio below.
So let’s get started with the directions!
How to fix your patio pavers
Step 1: Clear off the patio and pull up the sinking patio pavers.
The first thing that I did was move patio furniture into the grass, and then pull up the patio pavers that were sinking. If you have trouble getting them up, you can use a long screw driver to wedge down between them and help lift one up. Once you get the first one up, it should be pretty easy to continue pulling up the pavers around it.
Frugal Thumb Tip: Set the pavers aside in the order that you remove them so you can easily fit them back where they were when you’re ready.
Step 2: Clear the ground.
Take the time to pull up any weeds, leaves, overgrowth, or dirt that might have been sneaking through the cracks or around the edges of your sinking patio.
I had to remove a bunch of leaves that had gotten caught in the fall.
The pavers that had been at the very edge of our patio had some dirt and grass growing over them that I pulled out as well.
This step actually made my patio look bigger when I was done because the edge was no longer overgrown.
Once you have prepped your space, you’re ready for the next step.
Step 3: Level the ground by spreading in the pea gravel and paver base.
First, you are going to add your pea gravel to the area. You want at least 2 inches as a base for your pavers.
I filled in my sunken area with the pea gravel until it started looking more level, using a rake to spread it out. You can just eyeball it at this point – no need to get it exactly level yet.
Once that was done, I put in another inch of paver base across the space. This is when you can use the optional hand tamper to tamp down the gravel and paver base. If you’re doing a smaller area, you can use your feet to stomp it down.
You want the gravel and paver base to come just a smidge higher than the bottom of the pavers that are still in place – the ones that didn’t need fixing and you’re trying to match.
Step 4: Put one paver back in place at a time using the mallet and level.
Use the mallet to set each paver into the paver base really well and ensure that it is level as you go by using your level.
Important: Start next to the pavers that are still in place and work out from there. By doing this, you’ll have an easier time making sure you’re putting the pavers back at both a level and spacing that matches the existing pavers (the ones that you didn’t need to fix).
Since my level wasn’t as long as I needed it to be, I actually used an extra stick of wood I had laying in the garage. I’d lay the stick across the existing pavers and the paver that I was fixing, then place my level across the top of the stick to check how level things were. If it needed a little more fixing, then I’d use the mallet to knock it in place until it was level. Or, if the paver was too low, I’d add some paver base underneath and then try again.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few attempts to get the paver to be level. A little extra effort here to get it right will pay off dividends as get further down the row. And you’ll get better as you move along.
Frugal Thumb Tip: Watch out for your fingers with that mallet! I definitely recommend wearing gloves when you start malleting the pavers. I accidentally gave myself some blood blisters by the time I finished.
Step 5: Sweep sand between the pavers.
Scatter the sand along the cracks of the fixed pavers and sweep it in with your broom.
If your sand is wet, this may take another round as the sand settles after a few days.
Step 6: Admire your work.
You’re done! You did it yourself and I bet it looks great!
Aren’t you glad you gave it a try and saved thousands?
This frog liked our new level patio pavers:
Share with me in the comments if you’ve given this project a try or plan on it.
If you liked this post, you might be interested in this one on washing your patio: Power Washing the Patio is Oddly Satisfying