By Michael Swiderski, Ph. D.More in Blog Cabin
The DIYer (and helpers) will design the front entry walkway, set wooden concrete forms, pour a 4” concrete base, drill drain holes, lay a brick border, insert and level 2” - 3” of stone dust, lay sheets of cobblestone, custom-cut cobblestone blocks to fit, mix and apply the joint grout and then finish off the project. Some advanced DIY skills are required to design, secure materials and supplies, prep the area for installation and lay the cobbled pattern with a sanded grout sealer.
Cobble Systems, a stone paver and grouting system, offers the structural performance of concrete pavement with the shape and color of real stones. The system is quick to install and water permeable.
The first step is to design the entry walkway on paper. Will it be a straight shot from the front door? How about a curved walkway? How long and wide will it be? These questions must first be answered before researching and ordering materials.
The next step is to do some DIY homework. Check with the county or city building department. A permit may be needed. If a large area is being designed, a concrete truck may need to be brought in. Will site accessibility be an issue? Look for overhead electrical or telephone lines. If the area is not accessible by truck, a couple of wheelbarrows and helpers will be needed to transport the cement “soup.” Does the DIY project require grading? If so, call the utility company to locate and mark all buried cables or lines where the digging will occur. Will the concrete pour require special reinforcement such as welded wire mesh?
Cobble Systems features cast cobblestones connected to cast-in grids to make handling and application easy. Cobblestone patterns and color options are available. The calculation of square-foot ground coverage is necessary before ordering from the nearest dealer.
The two-part epoxy grout mixture from EcoSystems is permeable when mixed with silica sand, allowing water to pass through the grout rather than running off into unwanted areas. Silica sand is available at local home improvement centers or block and brick masonry retailers. Bedding sand may not be used as epoxy joint sand. Only clean, dry silica sand may be used. This sand is often called medium-grade or coarse-grade sandblasting sand. Some contractors refer to it as #22 sand.
Material for concrete forms include economy-grade 2x4s, 1/4” exterior plywood or tempered hardboard for curves, grade stakes and screws. A screed board (straight 2x4) levels the concrete to the height of the forms. The amount of cement needed will determine if a cement truck will be ordered for the pour. Call the local concrete company and give them the “yards” of cement needed. They can confirm the yards if the dimensions and depth are provided. Ask the concrete supplier if reinforced wire mesh is needed for the pour. Sometimes a fiber-reinforced concrete mix will suffice.
Builder's Tip: To calculate the amount of concrete needed, use this formula:
(length x width x depth)/27 = cubic yards (or “yards” in concrete pouring language).
There is a vast selection of paving bricks available in many colors, sizes and textures. Ask your local brick supplier to estimate the brick needs based on the plan. About 460 bricks covers 100 square feet. One pallet holds 500 bricks. Inside the brick border is stone dust (2” thick). The brick supplier will assist in the quantity of stone dust needed.