Has your smooth, level paver patio started to sink in certain spots? In rare circumstances, the whole patio could be unevenly sinking into the ground. Why has your patio developed these problems, and what should be done to fix it? We can explain the three major causes and fixes of sunken patio pavers.

1. Improper Installation

Most commonly, patios sink because they were not installed properly. There are three main mistakes that lead to sunken patio pavers:

  • Not enough compaction: When pavers are installed, they need to be tamped down or compacted. This prevents the soil from compacting unevenly over time, as it is already as compacted as it can be. Otherwise, areas that receive more pressure from walking, patio furniture, or other forces will sink below the other pavers.
  • Too much sand or gravel: Compacting is less effective when there is too much base material added beneath the pavers, whether that is sand or gravel.
  • No sand or gravel: If there is no sand or gravel, compaction isn’t effective or even, and the pavers are more exposed to shifts in the ground.

2. Drainage Issues

When designing a patio, your installers should have planned for proper drainage and kept your pavers away from spots where they would be exposed to a lot of drainage, such as near downspouts. Otherwise, water can erode the soil or sand beneath the pavers, which will force them to sink.

3. Soil Disturbances

Major disturbances to the soil, like earthquakes, flooding nearby construction and the use of heavy machinery, can all disturb the soil and cause pavers to sink or rise.

Why Have a Professional Fix It?

While you’ll find DIY guides to fixing sunken patio pavers, we don’t recommend that you try this one yourself unless it is very minor. A professional can gauge why your pavers are sinking and recommend long-term solutions that can stop the problem from happening again. Unfortunately, this sometimes means reinstalling large portions of the patio or using specialized equipment to tamp the pavers down.

Often, homeowners who try to fix sunken patios themselves must repeat the process in a little while when other pavers start to sink down too.

Install Paver Patios that Won’t Sink

Often, when you find a few spots of sunken pavers, the problem is poor installation. So, how can professionals create patios that won’t develop these problems in a few months or years?

  • Proper design: Where will the patio be placed, and will it be exposed to any unusual drainage challenges? Slopes can be contained with retaining walls, and downspouts can be rerouted where necessary.
  • Proper compaction: Add the proper level of sand or gravel for the specific paver product you’re using and be sure to compact the pavers into it properly. When fully compacted, pavers should not sink at all, even over many years.

Get help with sunken patio pavers from the experts at BBP Pavers. We offer 30-year warranties on all of our installations because we stand behind our work.