Paver base panel vs gravel Reddit

A client has asked me to use this product in his install:

I have no experience with this system and it gives me a few questions:

Drainage- I usually include perforated, socked PVC under the patio to make sure it doesn't swamp out

Resetting- Usually, I tell people about how easy it is to pull op pavers and refill small areas with sand if the ground happens to settle, which is very rare due to the 6" gravel base we always put down

Longevity- plastic does tend to become brittle over time and can have issues when in the landscape. If its all rock, it will outlast the homeowner.

If any of you have experience with this product, I'd love your input.

Thanks so much!



I'm planning to DIY a porcelain tile patio about 400 square feet. We are near Seattle so very mild climate.

Paverbase panels sound ridiculously easy. How well do these things actually work?

It would cost about $400 more than 4" of gravel but the manufacturer's instructions are to excavate, compact the subsoil, weed barrier, screed 1/2" of leveling sand, panels, then pavers. That's it! The amount of work saved would be insane over digging down an extra 4" and shifting 5 tons of gravel.

I'm a bit concerned about the stability of the patio. The compacted soil is basically the stable layer with I guess the panels acting to any hide small shifts that might occur over time. As I said we're near Seattle so the amount of freeze/thaw is minimal. The patio area has good drainage and is not at all prone to pooling or sitting water.


Hello landscaping community! I am excited to put down a paver patio in my front yard! The digging is done, and I am getting ready to put down a base and level it before laying the pavers and retaining wall.

My father-in-law has been helping me, and he has been trying to convince me that I do not need to put down gravel or paver base because of the type of soil in my yard. It is very sandy, and is almost like powder in places. He seems to think that it will tamp down well and that it would not be any different than using the paver base that we would buy at a store.

However, I have always heard that you need to put down 4 inches of gravel and then 2 inches of paver base before laying down anything.

So, what should I do? Should I go by the book and lay down the recommended amount of gravel and sand, or can I get away with using the dirt I have already dug up in my yard as a base for the patio?

I am planning on creating a pathway that goes around my house with a gentle slope away from extra drainage. I saw a couple of YT videos that had them laying an inch or two of sand over fabric and then using these rubber plastic panels (brock paver base panels, gator panels, etc). They claimed that I wouldn't need the 4-6" of crushed stone/gravel under the sand and could then just put whatever stone/pavers/blocks I want on top. However these were very promotional videos. Also I'm in Canada; it gets pretty hot here in the summer and a tad chilly in the winter.

Has anyone used them? I haven't done a cost comparison yet but I can see laying down a few rubber mats being a lot easier than digging down a few more inches and filling it with crushed stone or gravel. Let me know if you have any experience using them and how they've stood up to the test of time. TIA Runny

Edit: replaced “rubber” with “plastic”

I'm installing a small paver patio (well, really a 5x5 landing at the base of deck stairs). The soil is very sandy and well draining (Southern New Jersey). So I've got some questions to ask the hive mind.

My pavers are 2 inches deep.

Knowing that the yard is very well draining (no puddles ever form anywhere) and very sandy is it still the best practice to dig down 8 inches to start the process? My pavers are 2" deep.

Next, from my research it seems that you put down base gravel, base sand, pavers, then fill joints with polymeric sand.

Would I still need base gravel with the area draining so well? If so, is this all purpose gravel OK to use? If so, how deep?

Is this the paver base the right stuff to use? Should this still be 4 inches deep in a very sandy yard?

Now after that there should be a base of sand. This product says "leveling sand" however, while the title of the product says "leveling sand" the first line on the bag says it is joint sand for pavers. Is this the right thing to use on top of the paver base?

Then I finish with this between the joints?

Thanks for the assistance!

I'm looking to install a paver patio to expand my backyard patio. After looking into it, my wife and I have decided to do it ourselves. While looking into it, I came across plastic paver base panels (Lowe's : Apparently, these take away the need for installing the roughly 4" gravel base. So, these go on top of the layer of paver sand.

It looks like these are fairly new, so there is little info on how they hold up long term. Since building a solid base is probably the most important part of building a paver patio, I don't want to take a shortcut to save time now if it's only going to cause more work down the road if I have to fix it.

Has anyone used these paver base panels or can anyone provide any insight on them?

Edit: Am in the St. Louis, MO area. Super hot, humid summers and the winter can get pretty rough too (plenty of snow and ice).

Is paver base better than gravel?

The only significant difference between gravel and paver base, is that the sharper edges of paver base mean it can lock together more effectively than gravel when packed down under the sand and pavers. However, this does not negate the use of gravel if you tamp it down well enough.

Are paver panels worth it?

Benefits of a Panel Base Reduces the cost of digging and hauling. Prevents damage to the landscaping caused by excavating equipment. Allows patio installations in fenced areas or areas with limited access. Protects the screeded sand while you're installing pavers.

What is the best base for laying pavers?

A sand-set paver base is the traditional way to install pavers. This method uses a layer of sand as a bed between the base and pavers. After installing sand, the pavers are laid on top and pressed into place.

How many paver base panels do I need?

Plan the Paver Area Measure the width and length and figure out how much material you'll need. Divide the square footage of your patio by the square-foot coverage of each panel to determine the number of panels you'll need. Add about 20 percent if your patio is an irregular shape.