When the foundation is done right, the rest of the project follows suit -- and nothing firms up gravel or sand foundations for patio, stone or cement projects better than a plate compactor rental.
These machines do just one thing -- compact a surface while moving forward at a speed of 65 - 70 feet per minute. Also known as soil compactor rental, plate compactor are designed to compact small, mixed material or asphalt, applying weight and vibration to establish firm, compact and level surfaces.
Beyond setting the foundation, plate compactor rentals are well-suited as a finishing tool to level the surface of stone or paver patio projects.
|Handle height:||38 inches|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.8 gallons|
|Water Tank Capacity:||11 quarts|
|Ground pressure:||Up to 3,372 pounds per square foot|
|Vibrations per minute:||5,800 per minute|
Don't plan on it -- while a rental plate compactor can it into a large trunk, don't expect to close the trunk! It's best to transport a compactor in a pickup bed or an SUV.
Compactors come in handy from the bottom of a project to the top. On a patio project, for example, after you've removed soil for the base, you'll likely want to compact the soil before you add a layer of gravel. Then you'll use the plate compactor to compact the gravel base. After that, if you're using pavers, for example, you'll use the compactor to press the stones into the base, and finally, to finish the surface by compacting to settle sand into the gaps between the pavers.While it is possible to compact gravel using a hand compactor, a power compactor really is the way to do the job right.
A landscape fabric underlayer is a good idea for at least three reasons. First, even the most tightly-fitted pavers can succumb over time to weeds between the cracks. The fabric layer is a good investment against that eventuality. Second, when some soils get waterlogged, unsightly silt can seep up through the compacted gravel and pavers. The fabric barrier can help prevent that. Last, it adds greater stability to the foundation and reduces the chances that the paver surface will become irregular and uneven.
In advance of renting a plate compactor make sure your area is prepped and ready. For example, is most likely that you'll want to clear away a layer of sod or dirt in the project area. Recommendations and projects vary, but generally if you're working on a project like a stone patio or path, you'll want to remove 6 to 12 inches of material to allow for the gravel under-layer and the finished surface.
This is a good-sized machine and generally it will go through the fuel in the tank within two hours. Get gas in advance to you don't have to stop the project halfway through to get a refill.
Consider putting a conduit underneath the base -- The last thing anyone wants to do to their completed paver patio is to dig any part of it up. If you think you'll ever add additional features such as lighting or sprinkler systems, which would involve running a line or pipe under your patio, consider placing a piece of conduit, such as a 2- or 3-inch PVC pipe underneath the surface of your sub-base. Far simpler to snake a line through the conduit than to dig up your perfectly fitted interlocking pavers.
DO: When laying a foundation, plan on running the compactor over your project area at least three or four times. After the first run or two, take a look for shallow spots that may require additional gravel.
DO: Read the manufacturer's owners or operations manual.
DO: Use the rental compactor to apply layers of material. A good rule of thumb is to compact layers of about 1 inch. When the compactor starts hopping or jumping instead of vibrating, cease operations, and add another layer to compact, if needed.