Jul 19, 2011

Patio Building: Dirt Tamping

The finished result

Once we dug out the dirt for the patio, it was time to compress the ground below to create a solid base.  While some sites (including the Lowe’s videos we liked) recommend renting a professional compactor, we’ve heard and read a lot of mixed reviews about them.  A lot of DIYers found that they were unwieldy and difficult to control.  So we first tried to manually tamp down the dirt with a hand tamper we purchased.

While we knew it would take more time and a lot more sweat and labor, we had no idea how much.  It was almost impossible to get the ground flat enough (despite the flat shovel there were still ridges) and it took extraordinary effort to make any progress.  We realized it would take the entire weekend just to tamp the ground - so it was decided we would rent a plate compactor from Home Depot the next morning.

The plate compactor was definitely really heavy and a little difficult to maneuver, but it made quick work of the ground compacting.  Worth every penny- Mike was done in about 20 minutes.  We found that the biggest challenge was getting it in and out of the car due to its awkward and heavy weight (I have a small SUV and it fit just fine with the seats down in back).  Mike said it was also challenging to make turns and get the corners compacted, but overall he quickly mastered the machine.   Advice to anyone who’s ever going to build a patio - spend the extra money and rent the plate compactor for 24 hours - it’s worth it!

We're really glad we had the hand tamper for the corners though because the plate compactor didn't work in those spaces.  But it's a lot easier to hand tamp a couple of small spots than 300 square feet!!

1 comment:

  1. thank you, that was good information