Brick Patio Installation Levelling Tool

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Introduction: Brick Patio Installation Levelling Tool

This Instructable is simple. But it saved me a lot of time, and I want to pass the tip on.

I installed a cement brick patio. Anyone else who has done so knows it takes a lot of digging and levelling to get it right. In my case the ground was not level so some parts had to be dug deeper than others to make a level foundation.

Normally you use stakes, string and bubble levels to lay out a grid and dig to the right depth. Instead I bought a laser level ($20 Amazon) and spray painted part of the handle on a hand tamper white. Then drew a line with a Sharpie Pen at the right height so when the laser line matched the Sharpie line the depth was correct.

I am almost embarrassed to post this, but it worked, and I have not seen it on any you-tube videos I looked at as I prepared for this project.

Supplies

Hand Tamper, Home Depot $29

White Spray paint... left over from other projects

Sharpie Pen... Pen drawer

Laser Level, Amazon $19

Step 1: Dig to Correct Depth

The Sharpie line was drawn as a rough spiral, so you could add depth at one end for water run-off and drainage. Then just spin the tamper to the correct depth for the slope you want. The higher the line, the deeper the depth.

The process is dig, check depth by laser line on tamper. When close tamp until depth is correct. Move on to next area.

Having a quick check over the whole 250sqft area saved a lot of time and effort.

Step 2: Final Steps

This section is not part of the laser level idea but a quick summary of the remaining steps.

For completion, once I had a level compacted base of soil, a layer of weed barrier was placed over the dirt. I used PVC quarter rounds as scree guides to lay a sand base to a consistent depth over the already level dirt base, and used "paver base", an interlocking polypropylene pad on top of that. Then laid the pavers.

The paver base pads were a real time saver. The manufacturer calls for level compacted dirt base, weed barrier, 1/2" sand and then paver base, with brick on top. Not 8" of gravel first. They cost $2.25.sqft but might be a wash on savings from gravel. My back is definitely glad I used them.

Last tip: use a diamond tip angle grinder blade to cut the pavers to fit the edges (with goggles and mask for protection). It beats score and chip and is 3 blades for $25 at home depot.

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    11 Comments

    0
    bydurante
    bydurante

    3 months ago

    Thank you for the tip! This sounds like exactly what I was looking for, just wish there was a YouTube video to help me with the process.

    0
    oragamiunicorn
    oragamiunicorn

    9 months ago

    I'm a bit confused, how do you know what point on the spiral you need at any given point of you slope, or are you just guestimating as you go along. Also, are you bubble levelling the tamper each time you take a reading, otherwise the angle could effect the height?

    0
    harmonytek
    harmonytek

    Reply 9 months ago

    The spiral gave me 3/4" over 20 feet. (We rarely get heavy rain in Colorado). Sighting where I was was approximate, but in retrospect I could have marked out where each quarter turn of the tamper should occur.
    The tamper has a broad base and sits pretty flat on the ground after a few good thumps. It dangles like a pendulum until it hits.
    The local unevenness of the ground ended up about 1/16", if I dug too deep in a spot I would rake in some loose dirt and tamp again. If I couldn't tamp to the right depth I would dig a bit more.

    0
    oragamiunicorn
    oragamiunicorn

    Reply 9 months ago

    thank you for taking the time to explain, I think I would have opted for rings rather than a spiral, akin to a tape measure but all round, then lined that up with distances on the ground.

    0
    harmonytek
    harmonytek

    Reply 9 months ago

    I agree. I made this up on the fly after I thought about how hard the traditional way of a grid of strings would be. Many improvements could be made!

    0
    harmonytek
    harmonytek

    Reply 9 months ago

    I did that for an earlier project, a hot tub base. It was not very fast. I had to wait for the water to settle every time I moved it. Using the laser level I could see where I was in real time as I slammed the tamper down.

    0
    doppiej
    doppiej

    9 months ago

    Which laser level did you use?

    0
    FbO Vorcha
    FbO Vorcha

    9 months ago on Step 2

    I've a sixty year old raised patio, I've got the laser level, but couldn't think of a way to use it for this. Now I have one, thanks.

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    9 months ago

    Brilliant idea and dead-simple too. Win-win, I'm glad you shared this thanks!