Rae Lewis. Patio. July 25th , 2017.
Perhaps the concrete is basically sound, but has a few hairline cracks. In that case you can lay porcelain or stone tiles over the top, to give an elegant finish to your patio. It's a good idea to use tiles with a textured finish, to reduce the risk of slipping when the tiles are wet. You can use other materials such as sandstone, limestone, granite or slate, as long as they are properly sealed. If you often have freezing conditions over winter, then ensure the tiles don't absorb high levels of water, or they might crack. Be aware, too, that existing cracks in the concrete may expand and cause the tiles on top to crack as well.
In the Northeastern US, most suggest using at least a 4-6 inch base of crushed stone, and even up to 7 inches is recommended due to harsh winter weather. For brick pavers, this means that you'll need to dig to about 9\" depth, since the pavers are 2 inches in height. Since this is a lot of digging, it may be one of the primary reasons to hire a landscape company.
An alternative to a complete awning is a shade sail. Shade sails can be custom made to any size you require, or you can combine a number of smaller ones to cover a larger area (the solution you choose will depend partly on your site, and partly on your budget). Shade sails work by a tension system - the sails, often triangular in shape, are anchored to tension points which may be attached to the walls of the dwelling or to the tops of poles sunk into the ground. They have the advantage of being portable: if you sell your home, you can move the sail to your new home and reinstall it for the price of new tension points.
Now, firm up the subsoils using a compactor with least compressive force of 3200 pounds and begin adding 6-7 inches of crushed stone on top. Add thickness of 2-3 inches at a time until within 3 inches of the string line.
Finally, comes the best (or worse) part of this decision. Style and quality. You only get what you pay for, I don’t care what that sales person says. Styles are abundant and can be even a central point for your patio, but you will pay a little more for that. Quality to me is king. Why purchase something I am going to need to replace soon and then have to pay even more for. I would rather put off getting one for a time to have the money needed to get the right one, then pay now and later and possibly even not have enough power to provide the heat I am looking for anyway.
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