How to Install Gator Base

With the do-it-yourselfer market exploding and homeowners looking for innovative products to help them with their projects – Gator Base is a fantastic option for creating that beautiful maintenance-free stone patio.

Let’s discuss how to install Gator Base and you will see how easy it is.

First off – you will be surprised with how little you will have to excavate. Total depth will be determined by adding the following elements together: Geotextile, compacted bedding base’s final height (1/2″), Gator Base (3/4″), and paver’s height.

A little trick in how to install Gator Base is to ensure the total excavation width is 6″ wider on each side than the final paved area. You can use a shovel or excavator to do the excavation, just be sure to check with local utility services to ensure digging does not damage underground pipes or wires, prior to excavating.

Once excavation is completed, you should level the excavated area using a rake or shovel. Ensure a slope of at least 1 degree away from any structure, such as a house.

One of the key elements in how to install gator base is that the native soil needs to be prepared and compacted in the same way that one would prepare a traditional base installation, using a hand tamper or plate compactor. Be sure to compact until the area is as smooth as possible, with no high or low spots greater than about 3/8″. It is recommended to use a string level (stakes and a string line) to get it right. Tie the string to the stakes to establish level by which the final slope will be measured (minimum of 1° to the desired final paver level).

Lay down the Geotextile, being sure to cover the complete excavated area and side.

The next lesson on how to install gator base is to spread an even layer of bedding material to a depth of 3/4″, over the Geotextile. A good trick to obtain a perfect 3/4″ sand layer is to use two 3/4″ pipes with an equal distance of 4 to 6 ft over the Geotextile. Fill the surrounding area with bedding material, and using a straight board, level the bedding material relative to the pipes. Then simply remove the pipes and fill in the empty gaps. Levelling and compacting the bedding material will be the last step prior to installing the Gator Base.

One key thing to know when learning how to install gator base is to make sure the Gator Base covers the extended excavation area (total excavation should be 6″ wider on each side than the final paved area).

Using a staggered pattern, start laying the Gator Base units ensuring locking of the tongue & groove system. This will guarantee the panels’ stability when the pavers or slabs are laid down. You can trim any visible curves or protruding angles using a utility knife.

Lay the pavers directly onto the Gator Base according to the selected pattern. When dealing with irregular stone, it is also common to add a second layer 1/2″ of loose bedding sand on top of the Gator Base. Use a rubber mallet to adjust the pavers, and don’t forget to make sure the Gator base is 6″ wider on each side than the paved surface.

Install Gator Edge on the Gator Base, making sure it rests firmly against the pavers. A Gator Base screw will be driven into every second hole to maximize lateral support of the Gator Edge.

Spread polymeric sand over the tiled surface with a hard-bristle broom. Make sure the polymeric sand completely fills the joints, leaving a layer of polymeric sand on the surface to aid in the vibrating and consolidation of the sand into the joints.

Next, vibrate the sand into the paver joints using a plate compactor with a rubber pad. If you have a slab installation, a roller compactor is best. Joints should be filled up to 1/8″ below the edge or chamfer. It is best to compact in several directions to ensure there are no air gaps or voids in the joints. Repeat these steps to ensure joints are filled and consolidated, and note that narrow joints require more care to completely fill.

Sweep off excess polymeric sand from the paved surface, first with a hard-bristle broom, then a soft- bristle broom. Take care to leave the height of the polymeric sand at least 1/8″ below the edge or chamfer of the paver.

The final step in how to install gator base is to activate the polymeric sand by showering a 30 sq. ft. section for 30 seconds with water, starting at the lowest point. Once all the sections are activated, rinse off any debris that is on the paver surface.

Gator Base has revolutionized the way interlock stone is installed and allows the average homeowner to install like a pro!

Welcome to the Stone Deck Revolution™.

Benefits of Stone Decking Around a Pool

As we enter the beginning of summer and everyone is sticking close to home, some of you may be considering having a pool installed. Those who already have a pool may be considering revitalizing the patio decking around it. So, what are the benefits of stone decking around a pool and what are some factors to consider?

First, we must take into account the style of pool you have or want to have – is it an above ground or inground pool? As you are aware, an above ground pool sits on the ground on a prepared base and can be 4 to 6 feet above grade. Framing to support the decking around a pool would be created by a wood or steel framing structure. In the past the only decking options for an above ground pool were either wood or composite – but in reality, the benefits of stone decking around a pool can’t be ignored. Wood is problematic and requires regular maintenance, and it is easily susceptible to staining due to either the chlorine or salt in the pool. Over time wood will crack, split and splinter which is not fun on your feet or bums sitting around the pool. Composite decking requires less maintenance than wood, but gets very hot, is also susceptible to staining and can be very slippery when wet.

Thanks to some very innovative products such as SilcaGrate, Paverdeck and Paverdeck Plank, the benefits of stone decking around a pool are easy to see using stone pavers, interlock stone, or porcelain tile! Design possibilities are endless, and you can turn your above ground pool deck into a beautiful maintenance-free stone deck. These benefits of stone decking around a pool are also the best options for a semi in-ground installation.

When it comes to inground pools, it has been typically thought that the benefits of stone decking around a pool could only be achieved with either poured concrete or interlock stone. Concrete is typically either brushed or stamped with colour added. There is an old saying – “there are two types of concrete in Canada, cracked and gonna crack”. Thanks to our harsh winters and multiple freeze-thaw cycles, concrete is very susceptible to cracking unless there are multiple expansion cuts put into it, which frankly can ruin a stamped concrete pattern making it unsightly.

If your concrete cracks, develops significant chips, stains or if repairs need to be made to any pool lines buried under the concrete pad and you have to cut through the slab – fixing it will be next to impossible. Not to say the concrete won’t be able to be patched, but you will never be able to match the colour, brush or stamped pattern of the ordinal concrete pore. This solution pales in comparison to the benefits of stone decking around a pool!

So rather than talking about the less optimal options, let’s focus on the benefits of stone decking around a pool. The best options really are interlock stone, bricks, pavers or porcelain tiles. If an area becomes stained or damaged, you can easily replace those stones. If repairs need to be done, stones can be lifted up, the area dug out, and items fixed. Once completed, the stones can be replaced, and everything looks as it was originally. In certain cases, you will have a concrete sub slab installed directly around the pool supporting the stone. This is not a problem because it can be cut out to access the problem area and patched with new concrete. Since it will be covered with stone afterwards there is no issues about trying to match the existing concrete.

For inground pool decks, the benefits of stone decking around a pool can be realized by using innovative products such as Silca SoilGrid and Gator Base which help stabilize the base preventing shifting and settling of any of the pavers or porcelain tiles. These products can easily be removed and then reinstalled if any repairs are needed.

With so many options and styles of stones or porcelain pavers available, as well as the innovative ways to support your deck, the benefits of stone decking around a pool are easy to see.