May 16, 2007

Darrell Speaks

And what's not to like?

DS Credo.JPG

You know how chicks are: we like a guy who can take charge. Until it gets boring, of course. Then we ignore him.

Honestly: I had no idea the debate on how I construct my mother's patio would get this heated.

I'm thinking of doing something like this, only a bit larger, and perhaps using mortar around the edges as well as for the center paver (which I'll buy separately, of course). Which means, Darrell, that we will have to forego wearing high heels in the backyard: Sunset is very explicit on that point.

Therefore: everyone is right, and we can all stop bickering about bricks.

Posted by Attila Girl at May 16, 2007 02:17 PM | TrackBack

Yes, but you have to make sure that the mortared edge bricks are set on a proper ringwall foundation cast to at least 6 inches below the local frost line, or in areas without frost, at least 18 inches deep. Said ringwall must be a minimum of 12 inches thick.

You will need to get soil tests done by a competent geotechnical testing firm to determine the bearing capacity of your soil and ensure that your total live loads and dead loads (times their appropriate Factor of Safety) does not exceed the soil bearing capacity.

Said ringwall must be Class S concrete of minimum 2500 psi compressive strength, with #4 rebar placed at the midpoint in both directions, 12" on center. Lap the rebar joints a minimum of 24 inches. When the cement arrives on the job site, be sure to have your geotechnical testing firm collect a minimum of five concrete cylinders for testing purposes--one at three days, one at seven days, three at twenty-eight days and one held in reserve. If the minimum compressive strength is not met at 28 days, the concrete must be jackhammered out and new concrete poured.

Of course to do it *right*, you then need to excavate all of the soil within that ringwall scarify the soil at the bottom and recompact it to a minimum of 95% of the maximum density, while ensuring that the moisture content is within 3% of optimal. Then you will need to bring in aggregate base course (ABC) and backfill the area within the ringwall in lifts of no more than six inches, again compacting to minimum 95% of maximum density.

The final lift must be compacted to 100% maximum density, and graded to have a 1% slope from the center out toward the edge of the ringwall foundation.

Now you can begin setting bricks. Prior to accepting your first load of bricks, a submittal should be required consisting of complete engineering design and testing data and a Certificate of Compliance from the manufacturer verifying that all applicable ASTM standards have been met. Do not accept any shipments until at least three iterations of submittals, rejections and resubmittals has been completed. You want to make sure you're getting the *right* product after all.

Brick setting may now commence in accordance with the article instructions, although you must ensure that the bricks are laid in strict accordance with the standards developed by the National Joint Bricklaying Apprenticeship and Training Committee, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, the Mason Contractors Association of America, the International Building Code and any applicable local ordinances.

Frankly I have some serious doubts as to whether the instructions in that article would even get you close...

Now, go have fun!

Posted by: Desert Cat at May 16, 2007 08:40 PM

Y'know I left out *so-o* much that is crucially important in that post.

Honestly, I think about fifty pages of specifications minimum, plus about a five-page plan set would be required to lay out exactly how to do this job right.

As we've been told, anything short of that is just not worth doing.

I could work up a set of plans and specs for you for about $15,000. Unfortunately I'm not registered in California.

Posted by: Desert Cat at May 16, 2007 08:51 PM

Plus on-site Resident Engineer services if you should choose. Oh, and that price is net of third-party services such as testing labs, reproductions, submittal fees, and other direct and incidental expenses.

Posted by: Desert Cat at May 16, 2007 08:54 PM

Because if I don't have the time to do it right, how will I ever find the time to do it over? ;)

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 17, 2007 02:26 AM

Camilla Paglia laughed. Go figure! And they say feminists don't have a sense of humor! Maybe in the spirit of openness and honesty you can mention that I sent that toon to you Sunday night. Would a chauvinist really see the parody? But how could one tell that it was made in jest? Being a toon could be a hint. And in that same spirit I should mention that a filched it from Blazing Cat Fur Blog--in case anyone is keeping track. Men figure out pretty early in life that women don't "need" them. And if they miss the point, you can rest assured that a woman will be there to tell them. And remind them again and again and again.

Like most of the best arguments, it started when someone inferred what was never implied and written. It was never about art versus engineering. Everyone that builds knows it's all art. That's why carpenters use moldings that serve no purpose other than aesthetics, and all the artist's tricks of balance, form and symmetry. Some artists use dryer lint for their medium, some stainless steel. It's all art. Except to elitists. . .

It was not about old versus new, or unique versus "cookie-cutter" boring sameness either. I did mention that if I needed to start building the project and I had to buy what I needed, I would use pavers for something designed to be walked on, not bricks, meant for walls and vertical applications.. But we all know that pavers are also made from clay, too, and that antique or faux-antique pavers have just as much charm and individuality and uniqueness as any brick ever made. More so even because of the firing times. For the genuine antiques, you have all that color variation and surface distortions that came from the pine tars and resins they used when firing. And the other poisonous and toxic impurities they used to add until the EPA put a stop to that in the early 70's. Wonder if someone told those characters straight out of "The Green Mile" that make the St. Joe brick that k told us about?

It was not that pavers have to be split, making them half-thickness. We know that contractors do that to halve their materials cost, especially in freeze-thaw safe climates. And we know that if there is still a market for a product, someone will still make it. At least until capitalism is takes its last breath. If you look around, you can find what you're looking for. Even in home centers. Along with everything else you need to complete your project. Always a good place to start, and a safe place to recommend for the do-it-yourselfer.

Yes, DC, that's exactly like the conversation went! Too bad the original is in the archive and readers can judge for themselves who was reasonable. And who wasn't. And who read what was actually written before making a comment.

It'll take more than this post to lose my support, LMA, because that support and appreciation is given freely and unconditionally-- like all my other generosities. You can even support others over me that have no leg to stand on in their arguments. Or their "outrage." It's all conversation. We agree sometimes. We disagree. Whatever. We sometimes take something away from the discussion. Like roof racks that turn into spoilers. We can use what we read whenever we please. Or not.

Posted by: Darrell at May 17, 2007 11:00 AM

It did occur to me a few hours after I posted that that I didn't make it clear you'd sent me the cartoon. I thought it was funny as hell: that's why I posted it. I loved it.

But what's really, really funny is that my three most devoted readers are all as passionate about dry masonry as they are about politics.

Frankly, I think it's kind of cool. Though if I pull this project off, I think you'll all be so proud of me you'll forget to ask about the exact specs. Or to care quite as much as you do now.

Remember: this is just the starter patio, in the backyard. There's still some decking/patio needed on the side yard, and that one will have to be done more carefully, because I suspect it'll get more traffic than the one I'm contemplating doing first.

Over and out.

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 17, 2007 11:32 AM

Great! I'll dig up the ASTM specifications right now. . .

There are two specifications for clay paving brick. ASTM C902 outlines the requirements for Pedestrian and Light Traffic paving brick and ASTM C1272 covers brick pavers for Heavy Vehicular Traffic uses.

Within each specification there are minimum compressive strengths:

• C902 requires 8,000 psi
• C1272 requires 8,000 psi for pavers set on a concrete or bituminous bed (Type R)
or 10,000 psi for pavers set on a sand bed (Type F)
For Vehicular C1272 pavers there are minimum thickness depending on the application:

• For pavers set on a bituminous or rigid setting bed (Type R) pavers must be at least 2 1/4 inches thick
• For pavers set on a sand setting bed (Type F) pavers must be at least 2 5/8 inches thick.
Clay pavers shrink during the firing process so both specifications outline permissible dimensional tolerances for particular applications:

• Application PS – Pavers for general use – permits +/- 3/16 inch on paver dimensions
of 3-5 inches and +/- _ inch on dimensions of 5-8 inches
• Application PX – Pavers for use where exceptionally tight tolerances are required –
permits +/- 3/32 on paver dimensions of 3-5 inches and +/- 1/8 on dimensions of 5-8 inches.

The high firing process that produces fired-clay paving brick produces slight inconsistencies within each brick. Limited amounts of chipping and cracking are inherent in the brick making process. As such specifications C902 and C1272 outline requirements of tolerable inconsistencies.

Brick pavers ‘shall be free of cracks or other imperfections detracting from the appearance of a designated sample when viewed from a distance of 15 feet for Application PX and a distance of 20 feet for Application PS.’

A delivery of brick shall contain not more than 5% brick that do not meet the dimensional and chipping requirements, unless otherwise agreed upon by the buyer


The requirements for brick pavers that may be set in sand, bituminous setting bed, or rigid concrete are specified in this section.

A. SAMPLES: Five individual samples of each brick color and/or texture showing normal and extreme variations in color or texture.
B. CERTIFICATIONS: Submit certifications that all brick pavers will meet or exceed designated specifications.
1. Installer shall have a minimum of five years experience.
2. Installer shall submit for approval, a list of projects similar in nature and size that establishes his/her ability to complete this project. A resume for the project-superintendent should be submitted to establish his/her ability to complete the project. If for any reason, the qualifications are not acceptable, work shall not commence until an acceptable installer is found.

A. Clay brick pavers to be manufactured by a registered manufacturer.
B. Pavers may be chamfered and lugged or square edge without lugs. Finish may be smooth or textured.
1. True 4x8x2-1/4 as per ASTM C 902 Class SX, Type 1 Application PS, 8000 minimum PSI, 6% maximum average absorption.
2. Slip resistance shall be tested in general accordance with ASTM C 1028-96, standard test method for determining the static coefficient of friction of ceramic tile and other like surfaces by the horizontal dynamometer pull-meter test. Minimum static coefficient of friction shall be .60 for wet and .70 for dry.
1. True 4x8x3 as per ASTM C 1272, Application PX, 8,000 PSI minimum, average compressive strength, 6% maximum absorption.
2. Slip resistance same as LIGHT TYPE R.

A. Joint widths to be no greater than 5/32 of an inch and not less than 1/16 of an inch.
B. Pavers shall not be touching each other unless they have spacing bars.
A. Sweep dry sand, cement or polmyric sand into the joints after the pavers have been set in place until joints are flush with top surface. Fog lightly with water. Repeat process until the joints are full.
A. Protect newly laid pavers with plywood or carpeting as the work progresses. If mechanical compaction is required, you must protect the surface to avoid chipping.

See? Just like all my other comments!

P.S. I would use the flexible retainers and aluminum stakes for the perimeter of my patio that they sell in home centers. It's easier than mortar and it will last a lot longer. It'll be invisible, too, once the grass grows around it. The other advice in Sunset I agree with. How could I not? It's a lot like what I said.

Posted by: Darrell at May 17, 2007 02:01 PM

Did you say "bituminous"?

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 17, 2007 02:29 PM

Yes, DC, that's exactly like the conversation went!

Hey hey now I didn't say that. I'm just contributing my engineering expertise to a proper solution to the problem at hand. Let's be careful not to infer what was never implied and written.

Posted by: Desert Cat at May 17, 2007 04:19 PM

Don't make me stop this car!

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 17, 2007 07:00 PM

Do you say asphalt instead?
Necessary if you decide to "paver" your main thoroughfare.

When engineers fight, no one dives under the tables.

Posted by: Darrell at May 17, 2007 07:40 PM

Could be worse: I've heard computer programmers squabble, and it's worse.

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 18, 2007 12:35 PM

Confession time: I have been laughing about this all weekend.

Posted by: Desert Cat at May 20, 2007 10:03 PM

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