Paver Overlay: Light Duty/Residential Application

A paver overlay is defined as the placement of interlocking concrete pavers over an existing concrete pavement. This is a great way to spruce up your old walkways, patios, pool decks, or the front entry area of your house.

Step 1: Pre-installation Inspection

Prior to the start of your overlay project, the area must be evaluated for large cracks, un-even concrete, heaving or voids. Some minor cracks are acceptable up to 3/8 of an inch. However, these cracks should be filled with a concrete repair cement such as Sakrete Concrete Crack Filler. Cracks larger than ½ inch in size or cracks that are un-even could indicate a more serious problem. These problems can occur from expansive soils or trapped water under the concrete. A Paver Overlay will not correct these conditions. If you are unsure of the condition of your concrete pavement, contact a Licensed Civil Engineer or an experienced licensed Landscape Contractor for design assistance.

One of the most troublesome issues that can destroy a paver project or paver overlay is poor drainage. Surface and subsurface drainage systems, as well as pavement grades, should conform to any other pavement system. This includes sloping away from structures and keeping water from draining onto adjacent properties. If the overlay will be on an existing concrete pavement and the drainage is not adequate, another option is to drill 1- inch holes using a masonry drill bit, spacing them 10 feet apart. The drill bit must penetrate through the pavement into the gravel/dirt below.

Edge Restraints are very important for holding the paver project together. There are differing methods to restraining pavers: steel, aluminum, plastic and concrete, to name several. Another method is to utilize a professional grade Masonry Adhesive. This installation method will be explained using Professional Grade Masonry Adhesive. This process is utilized for light-duty overlays, such as a patio, sidewalk or selected pool areas.

Step 2: Construction

  • In areas of poor drainage, using a drill and a 1-inch masonry drill bit at 10-foot intervals, drill down into the gravel or dirt layer under the concrete pavement. This is to prevent water from pooling on top of the pavers.
  • Sweep and, if available, pressure wash the pavement area. Clean the outer edge of any grease, oils or solvents that will prevent the Professional Grade Masonry Adhesive from adhering to the concrete. Allow the pavement to completely dry.
  • Verify that the paver overlay surface is free of any major defects, large cracks or un-even areas.
  • Start by finding the center of your pavement and mark that location on each outer edge. Starting from that middle location on both sides, lay the pavers in a “Soldier or Sailor” course towards the end, completely around the perimeter. It might be necessary to make cuts; it is more appealing if you have symmetrical cuts on the ends. Once you have laid your Soldier or Sailor course completely around the pavement, it is time to glue the pavers to the pavement. With a Professional Grade Masonry Adhesive, place two lines of adhesive on the pavement, then replace the paver, moving the paver side to side to ensure that it adheres to the Professional Grade Masonry Adhesive. Allow the glue to set per the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning the next step.
  • Once the Professional Grade Masonry Adhesive has set, start laying your pavers in the field. Start in the area that has the most traffic and work away from that point, (it is best that there are full units in area of high traffic. This will prevent a potential problem in the future). Begin laying your selected pattern, leaving out paver units that need to be cut. Complete laying all of the field units then start your cuts, if necessary. If cuts are necessary, mark the cuts on the paver using a grease pen or black marker. Individually number the bottom of the paver. Place the corresponding number in each paver’s location to prevent any confusion or misplaced pavers.
  • Now that the pavers have been laid, all cuts have been made, the pavers replaced and the soldier or sailor course has adhered to the concrete pavement, it’s time to sand your paver field. This step is important! Sand acts like a binding agent, holding the pavers tight together. This step is also a tedious one, and care and attention must be paid to ensure that the project is completed correctly. Don’t get into a hurry here- you have spent a lot of time preparing the surface, drilling the holes, gluing and cutting pavers, it would be unfortunate if you “cut corners” in the end. Start this step by sweeping the pavers free of any debris or items that will prevent sand from penetrating the paver joints. Next, taking your bags of dried clean paver joint sand (30 mesh sand will work), spread the sand over the pavers. With a push broom, sweep the sand into the paver joints. This is a perfect opportunity to have a friend work behind you using a 2 X 4 or other similar piece of wood, gently hitting the tops of the pavers to knock the joint sand down fully into the paver joints. It will take 3 or more sweepings of sand to completely fill the paver joints. You may substitute a Polymeric sand in place of the paver joint sand or 30 mesh sand- however, should you choose to use this product it is extremely important that you follow all manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Not following these instructions may lead to an unacceptable haze on the face of your pavers.
  • The final step is to seal the pavers with a Paver Joint Stabilizing Sealer such as Seal N’ Lock’s Easy Seal. Read and follow the sealer instructions. This step is necessary to prevent the joint sand from washing out during rain or when hosing down your pavers. Take your time and read all manufacturer’s instructions-reapplication may be necessary.

Congratulations! You have completed your patio overlay project. Don’t forget to send some before and after pictures to Basalite at we would love to see your hard work!