DIY Dictionary: Paver Base

When you look out over your patio, what you see (hopefully) are nice solid patio stones or pavers laid in a neat pattern. Learn more about paver base!

paver base J5M/Shutterstock

What is Paver Base?

When you look out over your patio, what you see (hopefully) are nice solid patio stones or pavers laid in a neat pattern. But there’s a lot that goes on below; exactly what goes on varies from region to region and builder to builder—but here are the basics.

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Once the area has been dug out and flattened, the paver base is installed. This paver base normally consists of a 3- to 6-inch layer of aggregate material—often limestone— containing crushed rock that ranges in size from about 3/4 inch down to dust-sized particles. When this material is compacted, the materials nest into one another forming a surface that’s, well, as hard as a rock. In some areas of the county, this paver base is referred to as “Class 5”; in other areas it may be called “crusher rock,” “road bed gravel,” “ABC” or some other name. It’s important to get the paver base flat since the next step is to install and level an inch of coarse sand, then lay the pavers. In areas that need to withstand vehicle traffic, a heavy-duty geotextile or other fabric is often laid down before the paver base is installed.

Step-by-step tutorial on building a paver, brick or stone patio.