This topic is always being brought up when i meet customers. And its one of the biggest differences that seperates me from my competition. Over preparation and maximum compaction. What does that mean? Well when building any type of stone project the stone work is only as good as the base thats underneath it. I see it all the time. People under estimate the power that water or bad sub soils can have on a stone wall or patio and usually will create them to fail. I brought up some of these points in another blog title “pavers verse stamped concrete” but today i wanted to talk about the topic from another angle. I had the privilege of being hired to install a paver walkway next to a pool patio. The pool patio was made from stamped concrete. Which is all well and good until i did my excavation next to it to find that there was no base under neath the patio at all. I was building a simple 4′ wide walkway and my minimum depth is 12″ down and start from there. As you can see I’m comparing the paver next to the concrete to show how much material will be installed underneath my paver to ensure there is a proper footing for this walkway. I always say its what you don’t see is what matters. It like this with any project. Even a simple retaining wall has at least 2 sides to it. This was an instant where i could compare apples to apples but every project gets this treatment. Well when it is being completed by us anyways. Over preparation means there is not just 6″ of over prep on all out side edges but 12″ or more. What this does is creates a base that is wider than the actual work. So think of the leading edge of a patio. Its tough for those pavers to roll and move when the footing continues out much farther. And maximum compaction means just that making sure that when the excavation is complete that the sub base is being compacted with a vibratory compactor. And the base material is being installed in “lifts”. Not just dumping 6″ or more in and trying to compact it but rather taking your time and doing it in small 2″ lifts. This makes the footing very strong and will allow those stone projects to last a life time. The last thing anyone wants is settling. Because unfortunately there is only one way to really fix it and that is back to square one. As you can see in this photo when its all complete it looks really nice and everything is lined up. But unfortunately there is a big difference on what is going on underneath this walkway and patio.