How to Lay Pavers Over Concrete? 

When installing pavers over concrete, you can use three installation options: sand set, mortar set, or bituminous set.

Sand Set

This is the most common method of laying pavers over a concrete base, especially with pedestrian applications, such as walkways and patios. It can be also applied in driveways as long durable bedding sand is used.

The process of laying pavers over concrete is the same as laying a paver patio over the ground. Pavers can be installed on top of concrete without mortar if you put a layer of sand between ½  to 1 inch first.

To install pavers over concrete using a sand set application it is recommended to follow the next steps:

  • Step 1: Place a level of 1-inch sand bedding layer between the pavers and underlying concrete, this process is very similar to a standard paver installation.
  • Step 2: Place holes at low spots, that will allow the water that seeps into the joints to escape.
  • Step 3: Place your pavers following the directions provided.

Mortar Set

Using mortar to install pavers is also a really common method, but it’s important to say that a mortar set is not recommended when laying pavers over asphalt, because the asphalt is too flexible and can crack the mortar. 

Follow the next steps to install pavers over concrete using a mortar set application:

  • Step 1: Clean the concrete surface of all dirt, oil, and debris with a pressure washer and let it dry.
  • Step 2: Place ½ inch of latex modified mortar underneath each paver, adhering it to the concrete. To ensure that the mortar stays wet for the application, you can work in smalls areas little by little.
  • Step 3: Place the same latex modified mortar into the joints around each paver.
  • Step 4: After the mortar dries, use a brush or striking tool to remove the mortar in excess.

Bituminous Set

The installation with bituminous is not very common. It is used only for high impact and friction areas.

Follow the next two steps when installing pavers over concrete using a bituminous set:

  • Step 1: Place a level 1 inch bedding layer of sand mixed with a bituminous binder between the pavers and underlying the surface.
  • Step 2: Ensure draining holes are placed in low spots, just like the sand set application, that allows water that seeps into the joints.
  • Step 3: Place your pavers following the directions provided.

Step 4: Laying the Pavers

It is now time to begin laying the pavers onto the bedding sand and fitting them into the desired area of your paver project.

Field and Border Stones:

When laying the pavers onto the bedding sand, you want to work in a forward motion. Start the process in either a 90° corner or within the field by using a pre set string to guide straightness of pavers. Do NOT step on the bedding sand.

Place pavers flat on the sand bed. Do not tilt the pavers into place as this will disturb the level of the bedding sand. When a row or pattern is in place, use them as a guide for subsequent pavers. The spacing between the pavers should be hand tight (pavers have built-in spacers on their edges to provide a 1/8″ joint).

PRO TIP: When laying pavers, check every few feet with a string line to maintain a straight line.

Trimming May Be Required:

As the field moves closer to the edge restraint or concrete border, cutting may be required to fit the pavers to the desired space. Cutting of pavers should be done with a diamond masonry blade and saw or if needed, it can be accomplished using a block splitter, but a splitter will not allow the precision cut provided by a masonry saw.


Spread a flat bed of sand

Spread fabric, then sand

Lay down landscape fabric to keep the sand from wa

Lay down landscape fabric to keep the sand from washing down into cracks. Then position the screed pipe and spread the sand.

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Pavers Over Concrete: Assemble the materials

The materials for this 12 x 14-ft. patio cost about $850, or $5 per sq. ft. Using less expensive pavers, you could cut the cost by almost half. Most landscape suppliers and home centers stock all the materials, but you may have to do a little hunting for the right combination of pavers. The pavers used for the border must be at least 3/4 in. thicker than the “field” pavers, which cover the area between the borders. That thickness difference will allow for a bed of sand under the field. A difference of more than 3/4 in. is fine; you’ll just need a little more sand. If you can’t find thick pavers you like, consider retaining wall cap blocks for the border. We used cement pavers (concrete patio blocks) for the border and clay pavers for the field.

To estimate how much sand you’ll need, grab your calculator. First determine the square footage of the sand bed. Then divide that number by 12 for a 1-in. bed or 18 for a 3/4-in. bed. That will tell you how many cubic feet of sand to get. You can have a load of sand delivered or save the delivery fee by picking up a load yourself with a truck or trailer. Most home centers also sell bagged sand. A 50-lb. bag (1/2 cu. ft.) costs about $3.

Figure A: Pavers Over Concrete Slab

This technique requires two types of pavers. Glue

This technique requires two types of pavers. Glue thicker pavers to the concrete on the perimeter and lay thinner pavers on a sand bed. The resulting look is one of our favorite patio block ideas.

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Reasons for the Cement Option

The flexibility of pavers can become a liability if tree roots grow underneath them and cause the paved surface to buckle. That happens much more easily with pavers than a concrete slab, but it is possible to have the best of both worlds and set pavers into place with cement where buckling is an issue. Another problem inherent with pavers is that they migrate outward along edges, weakening the paved surface’s structural integrity. Various forms of edging can be used to combat the migration tendency, including making a concrete lip that forms a rigid border to hold pavers in place. If, however, pavers are laid in cement to begin with, they are immobilized and will not get pushed outward over time.

Additional Tips

Plate compactor

When Mark needs a firm, void-free base for a patio, walkway, or stone wall, he puts a single-direction compactor to work. It applies 3,375 foot-pounds of centrifugal force at 5,880 vibrations per minute, which is just right for small jobs.

How to read pitch on a spirit level

Some levels, like the I-beam, have vials with extra lines on both sides that show pitches of 1 and 2 percent. When the bubble in the vial touches the 2 percent line, for instance, the level has a pitch of ¼ inch per foot.

What About a Free Estimate?

Do you want to upgrade your patio and lay pavers over concrete, but have no idea how much is gonna cost? What about a free estimate? If you live in Sarasota, Manatee, or any of our surrounding counties contact us, we will be glad to assist you!

S&S Pavers has over 10 years of experience serving the counties of Manatee and Sarasota.

Safety Considerations

Moving large amounts of heavy materials can take a toll on your body. Use a wheelbarrow. When shoveling, lift from your legs, not your back. Keep in mind that base materials (crushed gravel) are heavier than dirt, so use only partial shovel loads.

Wear breathing protection. Frequently spray the area with water to keep the dust down.

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Step 1: Preparing the Base

It is important to provide a well compacted, stable base on which to begin the paver installation. In some cases, this will require extensive excavation of unsuitable sub-grade material.

Excavate the Site:

Excavate all unsuitable, unstable, or unconsolidated sub-grade material. When estimating the depth of excavation, consider the final grade of the project. Add the height of the paver unit, the depth of bedding sand, and the thickness of the compacted base material to get an estimate of needed depth.

Fill and Compact the Base:

Thickness of Compacted Base:

  • Pedestrian Traffic: 3″–4″
  • Vehicular Traffic: 4″–5″
  • Large Vehicular Traffic (e.g. motor homes): 6″–8″

Fill the excavated site with the appropriate amount of paver base material (Class II Road Base is recommended), and compact using a vibrating plate compactor. The base must be well compacted and level to provide a smooth, even surface on which to lay the bedding sand.

NOTE: When preparing the grade of the base, be sure to provide a 1/8″–1/4″ of drop per foot for proper drainage.

About This Article

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 32,511 times. 42 votes – 83% Co-authors: 6 Updated: September 15, 2021 Views: 32,511 Categories: Concrete | Paths and Paving

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