How to Compact Pavers without a Plate Compactor | Step By Step Guide

This article’s primary objective is meant to educate us on how to compact pavers a without plate compactor, how to lay paving stones, how to put pavers in your patio, compacting soil, and other relevant topics discussed in the articles.

How to Compact Pavers without a Plate Compactor

Step 1: protective clothing

Before starting work, you should put on the correct protective clothing. Appropriate protective equipment is important when handling a vibrator without a plate compactor. Please take note of the following guidelines:

  • Do not wear baggy, loose-fitting clothing, a tie, or loose jewelry when compacting the soil.
  • Tie long hair back.
  • Wear sturdy, long trousers because the hot exhaust gases can burn your legs.
  • Put on protective gloves, protective goggles, and hearing protection.
  • Remember that the machine gets hot during operation. Do not reach into the area of ​​the motor if the device has not yet cooled down completely.
How to Compact Pavers without a Plate Compactor

Step 2: prepare the substrate.

Check the underground in the pit carefully. The soil must be so smooth that water cannot collect in puddles when it rains. Also, the land must be strong and stable. If this is not a problem, you must compact natural land. To do this, lift the vibrator into the pit. Always make sure you have a secure footing when starting and while working. If the ground is very soft or uneven, reduce the engine output as much as possible. This prevents the device from sinking into the ground or from being difficult to control while you are working. Run the device evenly over the entire surface. If you work on areas that are higher than the surrounding soil, compact the interior first. Finally, compact the last 30 to 40 cm in the edge area. 

compacting pavers with plywood

Step 3: create a layer of frost protection.

Now distribute the coarse crushed stone or gravel on the ground. Peel off the surface with a board and create the necessary slope directly. A spirit level acts as a measuring tool for good service. Gravel is suitable for less polluted areas such as terraces or paths in the garden. 

In the driveway or the area of ​​parking spaces, you use gravel because it is much more stable. The frost protection layer should be at least 10 cm thick. Make sure that the subsurface does not become too dense. It should be firm and stable, but allow the water to drain away as drainage.

do you compact pavers after installation

Step 4: Build the base course.

After you have sufficiently compacted the soil with the frost protection layer, you now build the actual base layer. It also consists of crushed stone or gravel, but use a finer grain size here. The base layer should be at least 13 cm thick. Apply the material also moist and distribute it. Again, straighten it with a board and pay attention to the slope. 

how to compact sand without a compactor

Step 5: Apply a layer of sand.

In the last step, you apply a 5 to 8 cm thick layer of sand. You do not have to compact this layer with the machine. It is sufficient to distribute the sand evenly and remove it with the necessary slope. On the sand, you can see then patio stones or decking embarrassed wood. Note that you have to compact the subsoil for a terrace at least three times. If the soil is to be more heavily loaded, the subsoil must also be more compacted to prevent the soil from sinking.

how to compact sand without a compactor

Step 6: clean the vibrating plate

After work, the work equipment needs to be looked after. Clean the case and the air filter of the machine. If it is not needed for a long time, some care and maintenance work should be carried out. Drain the fuel and collect clean in the appropriate container. Remove the spark plug and add a few drops of engine oil to the cylinder. Pull the starter cable several times to distribute oil on the machine.

How to Lay Paving Stones

Laying paving stones in your garden or on a path yourself is not that difficult. Carefully follow the steps below and turn your patio into a fantastic relaxing spot in less time than it takes to say it.

Step 1: Choose the right pavers.

You have chosen your favorite pavers in the store. That’s a good thing done! But know that two stones are never the same. So have all of your pavers delivered in one order and then take your pavers from different palettes to obtain a harmonious blend of shades.

how much will pavers sink when compacted

Step 2: Place the counter-ridging of your pavers

By first installing the counter-ridging, you prevent your pavers from slipping. Opt for a wide or deep back-ridging and always plan -a thin concrete pad (150 to 200 kg of cement / m3 = 1 part of cement for 5 to 7 parts of sand). Temporarily lay a row of pavers between the stops to determine the exact distance.

plate compactor pad alternative

Step 3: Lay the foundations for your pavers.

Always make sure to lay your pavers on draining soil. Stabilize it using a stabilized bed of sand obtained by mixing pure washed river sand (0 / 2-0 / 5 mm) with a maximum of 150 kg of cement per cubic meter (1 part of cement for 7 parts sand). This mixture should be spread evenly with a thickness of 15 cm within 3 hours. Avoid imperfections by quickly brushing the stabilized laying bed to achieve a consistent surface. Did you have to dig deep? Then use crushed gravel to compensate for the difference in level.

Plan for an overcoat of 15% and compact well to prevent the laying layer from running off. Make sure that the top surface of the foundation has a slope of 1% towards the street so that rainwater does not run off towards the house.

hand tamping pavers

Step 4: Place the laying layer and the pavers

Prepare a laying layer with the same mixture as for the foundations and spread it to obtain a uniform thickness of 4 cm (3 cm after compaction). This laying layer serves to eliminate small differences in thickness between the pavers and therefore does not have to be compacted immediately. Compaction takes place only after the pavers have been laid, at the time of settlement.

Place the pavers on the laying layer against each other, providing a small joint. Avoid puddles of water on the pavement by laying the pavers with an inclination of 1 to 2 cm per meter. Also, make sure that the pavers are a few inches above the level of the beds.

polymeric sand without compactor

Step 5: Grout and tamp the pavers.

Brush the pavers with fine white sand and clean the surface. Also, clean the vibrating plate thoroughly before starting to tamp. Start from the edges and progress gradually towards the middle.

tips for using a plate compactor

How to Put Patio on Pavers

Using a patio on pavers allows you to inexpensively build a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Installing a paver covered patio takes a bit of work, but it is a task that you can simply do from start to finish.


Measure the area in which you will build the patio; this will allow you to determine how much paving stone and other materials you need to buy. Measure the length and width of the area you want to cover.


Decide what type of patio you will use on the paver. These come in different shapes, sizes, colours, and prices, so it’s pretty hard to decide.


Buy the pavers and other supplies, in addition to the pavers; you will need other items to successfully install a patio. You should place a layer of gravel and another layer of sand under the pavers. Now, include a containment structure to keep the pavers in place.


Check that there are no underground utility lines. Previous excavation, locate and mark the underground lines or pipes of the public services.

laying pavers without base

Measure and mark the area of ​​the patio, the dimensions of the patio and mark them on the ground, placing stakes in each corner of the plot. Place string around the stakes to outline the perimeter of the yard. It will allow you to have an idea of ​​its dimensions, and make sure that you only prepare the necessary land for its construction.

how to lay patio pavers on dirt

Dig a trench 15 to 20 centimeters deep in the entire area delimited by the ropes. The depth will depend on the thickness of your pavers and the amount of gravel you are going to place. The trench should be deep enough to allow the pavers to end up being level with the ground.

how to install pavers over grass

Place the gravel base 10 to 15 centimeters in the trench and compact it using a plate compactor machine. Add a little water to the gravel to make it much easier to compact it.


Add and compact a layer of fine sand on the gravel; it should be about 2.5 centimeters thick and should follow the same slope as the gravel. This will be the last layer you will put on before laying the pavers, so make sure it doesn’t have any blemishes.


Place the pavers in the pattern you want. Start at a corner and place the blocks as close together as possible. After placing them, hit them with a rubber mallet to ensure that they settle in the sand.

how to lay pavers for walkway

If you have to adjust the patio to the presence of trees or fences, cut the pavers using a diamond blade cutting machine.


Install borders around the perimeter of the patio; there are a wide variety of patio border materials. After installing the pavers, secure the edge firmly against the pavers using stakes. No matter what type of edging you use, the stakes will hold the pavers in place, preventing them from slipping.

how to lay concrete pavers

Cover the paved patio with the same fine sand that you used to make the base. With a broom, spread the sand to fill all the spaces between the paving stones. If you notice an empty spot, add more sand.

how to lay large pavers

Place a thick towel at the base of the compactor and go over the entire patio. As you go, make sure the patio stays level. It is advisable to compact the pavers well at this time, and thus avoid having to do it constantly in the future.


Fill in the areas along the edge of the patio with dirt, gravel, grass, or cover plants.


Pavers can last for a long time without needing to be sealed, but doing it every few years will make them look better and prevent them from staining or discoloring.

Tips for Compacting Soil

Adequate compaction of the sub-foundation and foundation is the key to success for any development project. This newsletter from our Technical Support Manager, Mike Huber, explains five tips for compaction of your sub-foundation or natural soil.

plate compactor pad alternative

Know how to recognize your natural soil

Before starting your project, identify the type of soil you will be working on. Make sure that the ground will be able to support the overload of weight, whether it is for a pedestrian or vehicular application. Highly organic soils should be removed, and clay soils removed or amended.

Amend (if necessary)

  • Amendment of clay soil can be done with:
  • Portland cement
  • Medium caliber stone compacted in clay
  • A combination of both

Check the hydraulic and hydrostatic content

The granular soil should have a certain degree of moisture to obtain good compaction. The degree of humidity will lubricate the particles and help them settle.

Use the correct compaction equipment

First, make sure you have enough equipment for your project, then make sure you are using the correct compactor. A vibrating plate is suitable for granular type soils, but a (Jumping Jack) or (Sheep roller) is required for clay soils. Natural soil should be compacted to 98% of the Proctor.

Do not reuse excavated soil

It is important to never put soil excavated from the site into a hole to fill it. Because when the soil is excavated its volume multiplies by 20 to 30% and is normally unusable and their initial density is now altered.

How to Compact Sand without a Compactor

The creation of a dense sand layer is one of the main tasks of the preparation stage for screeds or foundation structures. It is important to use the correct methods and tools to expel air and compress particles. The price when attracting professional firms depends on the depth of processing and other factors and varies from 70 to 900 rubles per 1 m2. The choice of a specific method determines the purpose of the layer, the captured area, and the budget.

  • Purpose of work
  • Sealing methods
  • The cost

It is carried out when preparing sandy and finely dispersed soils before building houses, backfilling a pillow under slab or strip foundations, forming a hard underlying layer when arranging floors on the ground, or laying a foundation under paving stones and fences. Among the tasks are:

compacting sub base by hand


  • Protection of erected structures from frost heaving and removal of moisture from them.
  • Leveling the base and strengthening its rigidity.
  • Prevention of deformation of structures under the influence of compression and bending loads, elimination of the risk of their destruction during shrinkage processes.
  • Obtaining a dense and stable layer separating the base of the foundation or screed and straight ground.
  • Elimination of voids and distillation of air.

Depending on the equipment and the direction of the applied efforts, the following methods of preparation and compaction of the sand bass are distinguished:


  • Rolling with rollers or wheels of self-propelled or trailed construction equipment carried out in 1 or several passes.
  • Slabs dumped by a crane, weighing 1-2 tons.
  • Vibration device activation.
  • Manual ramming using an expanded bar or channel with an attached plate.

When compacting soils and sands by rolling, the desired effect is achieved due to the statistical pressure of rollers with different gripping widths and weights from 10 to 25 tons for uniaxial self-propelled varieties, up to 50 tons for biaxial ones, and up to 100 tons for trailed ones. Lighter models are attracted in loose areas. They ensure successful processing of a layer of 20-30 cm in one pass. The heaviest and most productive equipment is used for ramming 40-50 cm with a pass width of up to 30 at a time.

The choice of a specific type of ice rink, in addition to the layer thickness, depends on the size of the site and the convenience of the entrance. Small self-propelled rollers are distinguished by good maneuverability; heavy semi-trailers work only in conjunction with a tractor.

To achieve an optimal result, the ramming is carried out in several passes, most often according to the spiral-circular pattern of the rollers movement and the successive filling of the missing bulk material. The advantage is the high quality of preparation of sandy foundation cushions with a thickness of 20 to 50 cm (impossible when carried out manually), the disadvantage is the use of expensive equipment.

How to Lay Polymeric Sand

Apply the polymer sand by following these 4 steps: laying, compaction, watering, and drying. Before you start, make sure the paved or paved surface is completely dry, including the interstices which will receive the sand.

YouTube video

Step 1: lay the sand evenly over the surface.

Spread the polymeric sand over the entire surface until a uniform layer is obtained. With the soft bristle broom, fill the joints to their full depth. If the walls of the slabs are uneven, make sure the product penetrates the bottom of the joints by driving it in with the joint iron. Sweep the sand in small strokes to maintain the homogeneity of its composition. Indeed, it is composed of fine particles that contain binders and polymers.

polymeric sand without compactor

Step 2: Compact and check the strength of the joints

Compaction is essential if you want to obtain dense, strong, and durable joints. The compaction stage removes the void and creates perfect contacts between aggregates and polymers.

Step 3: Remove excess sand and water the surface

Before watering, dry clean your surface with the fine-bristle broom and blower. The purpose of this action is to prevent the sand residues from polymerizing the surface. Now, water from the bottom to top in sections of no more than 20 m2 at a time. Make sure section wetting is complete before proceeding to the next section.

hand tamping pavers

Step 4: let the product dry before use.

To maintain its excellent cohesion and long-term strength, polymeric sand must dry completely before being exposed to rain or moisture. That is to say for 24 to 48 hours minimum.

  • Allow longer drying time in cold and/or humid weather. What if the surface receives a downpour shortly after the sand is laid? Polymeric sand is designed to withstand an unexpected downpour 90 minutes after installation.

Last Words

We trust you have taken in a great deal concerning this article on the best way to compact pavers without a plate compactor, compacting soil, how to lay polymeric sand, how to put pavers in patio, and other relevant subtopics discussed in the content of the article.

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