I tore my old wood deck out and am planning to lay pavers on top of the concrete slab that was beneath it.

I'm following the instructions here, photo below:

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The inner paver bricks will have a layer of sand underneath them, so they will be level. But the border pavers are just glued down.

But this seems to be assuming the top of the concrete slab is finished... mine is very rough:

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What can I do to level the concrete before laying the border pavers on top of it? Or is that not necessary, can I just glue them to the rough surface?

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    The sand is the leveler, you level the sand. (screed Pipe is for leveling the sand) Your boarder will need to be set at the finished height of the pavers on the sand. – Alaska Man Apr 27 at 20:14
  • @AlaskaMan I'm asking about leveling the border, which in their instructions is glued, not placed on top of sand – ferret Apr 27 at 20:17
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    You could set your boarder in bed of mortar, this allows you to fill the voids and and adjust the height. Watch some brick laying / paver setting videos, – Alaska Man Apr 27 at 20:29
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    isherwood: I added more pictures. It’s only dark because of dirt/moss. I don’t think it’s asphalt – ferret Apr 29 at 5:17
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    @ferret You mean use mortar everywhere? That is probably your best bet for a successful project. – Steve Wellens May 30 at 4:45

My pa did a rather extensive paver back patio with curved steps, concentric pavers, a retaining wall and other challenges. It looks beautiful. Some of it is laid on existing concrete, some on packed gravel before the sand. He used masonry mortar and concrete fill for the steps and edge pieces and it has definitely stood the test of time. As mentioned in AlaskaMan's comment, the thickness of mortar allows you to lay the section in sand first and match the edge to the height of that. After 25 years a small section of the lower patio has sunk about 3/4 inches because the gravel wasn't packed hard enough, but otherwise the whole thing is rock solid including parts without concrete base. It will also deal with the unevenness of your pad, which to my eye does look like asphalt, as isherwood suggests.

One other note if you lay brick over solid pads, any drainage problems that exist with the pad will continue to exist under the sand.

  • So I would do the inner part first with sand, and then for the border I would put mortar on the concrete and pavers on the mortar? – ferret Apr 29 at 5:19
  • Yep you just lay the pavers in mortar like ordinary brick and tap them into place with your trowel. This does require that your pad be somewhat solid under it so if your edge isn't already square and you don't want asphalt peeking out you may want to rent a rock saw and cut the edge straight. You could try to pour it square to enlarge it too, but that does appear to be asphalt, so if you pour concrete around it you may get a seam that has problems with frost cycling. – K H Apr 29 at 5:38
  • I would also cut some conduit or suitably thin tube in half lengthwise and lay it into the mud every few feet to make sure the edge doesn't contain water in the sand and cause a drainage problem. – K H Apr 29 at 5:41

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