My Collapsing Paver Walkway

With each passing week, my paver walkway continued to cave in – and I was frankly getting more than a little frustrated.

I was definitely worried about someone tripping and getting hurt because the walkway was becoming less and less stable, and even worse: I had no idea how to make the burrowing stop!

Can you see the depression in the stones in the middle of the following shot?

This problem started a couple of years ago, at roughly the same time the groundhogs appeared on my property. (But this isn’t about groundhog damage – that’s another story entirely for some other day.) This is about chipmunks, I’m almost certain.

Collapsing Paver Walkway

Chipmunk Highways under My Pavers?

I wrote previously about my paver walkway burrowing pest, when I had to replace a tiny sliver of stone that was lost and fill-in a little bit of undermined soil. I frankly thought it was a sort of cute… Chipmunks are nice little animals, after all.

But this is so much worse now. Having removed a somewhat larger area of pavers this time, you can see the extent of the burrowing…

Paver Walkway Burrowing

For the life of me, I can’t imagine where all the missing soil and stone dust might be, but clearly quite a lot is missing.

Missing Paver Walkway Stone Dust and Soil

So, here’s where the frustration got the better of me. In the shots that follow, I’m going to show what I did to remedy this situation. I’m not 100% sure it was the best thing to do, and I’m not at-all sure it’s going to last. So, I would invite anyone reading to please add suggestions, experiences and wisdom in the comment area below.

Any masons reading out there? If so – your inputs would be particularly appreciated!

For me, though – I was having guests over within the week, so I dealt with the problem, for better or worse, as follows…

Concrete and Polymer Paver Jointing Sand

Starting with the basics – I went right to concrete. My primary goal was to solidify the walkway for the short-term and hope that perhaps it would help (at least somewhat) for the long-term as well.

Concrete to Fortify Undermined Paver Walkway

So, I began by removing as many pavers as necessary in order to expose all of the paver undermining from those [evil] chipmunks – and then simply started back-filling with concrete…

Paver Burrowing Concrete Backfill

What’s good about this is that the walkway will surely be short-term fortified. What’s bad, best I can tell, is that I’m now locking these pavers together and not really doing anything significant to deter further burrowing.

Concrete Backfill Under Paver Walkway

Nevertheless, the backfill continues and when I have enough material in place, I start replacing the pavers one-by-one, tamping as best I can to get a snug and level fit. Work gloves were extremely helpful to protect fingers while positioning the stones here…

Replacing Walkway Pavers with Concrete Backfill

Once all is in place, I used a polymer fortified paver jointing sand to hold things together even more tightly. I like to use polymer [basically plastic] fortified sand with pavers; it just lasts a bit longer than regular sand – plus you can buy it in colors to match your stones.

Polymer Fortified Paves Jointing Sand

But will polymer fortified jointing sand really do anything to deter these tenaciously-burrowing cute little minions of Satan?

(Sorry – I got frustrated again.)

Seems unlikely. It does, however, look quite nice – and it made me feel a tiny bit better knowing I might be making their job just a tiny bit harder!

This gets carefully sprinkled onto dry pavers and brushed in using a push broom…

Paver Jointing Sand Push Broom

And finally, a very light spray of water is applied as shown, and it needs to cure overnight.

Light Spray on the Paver Walkway Polymer Jointing Sand

Be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions if you’re using a product like this; you may need to ensure a certain number of hours will be rain-free. You may also need to be sure no extra material remains on the paver surface as there’s a chance of staining.

Final Paver Walkway Rehab

A Stable Paver Walkway

Once complete, my walkway is stable once more – for the present, anyway… We’ll see what the spring brings once these rodents (I mean, uh, ‘cute little Chipmunks’) return and start simply burrowing where there’s no concrete under the paver stones.

It may very possibly become an ongoing battle…

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