Patio pavers strong enough for storing wood …

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cbscout

Member
Aug 16, 2018
75
Mid-Michigan
Just wanted to get you all’s take on this. I burn for heat but am limited on land. I thought that I could build a decent looking patio area at the back of the yard where I keep my 10 face cord during the winter, so it doesn’t sit as bare dirt and mud during the spring and summer. My wife would be happy to see it dressed up with her flower pots, I’m sure.

As I was thinking through it, I realized that I might need to consider the weight of the wood regarding the type of pavers I should buy. Trying not to break the bank with this, but want to do it right. Can I use standard concrete pavers for foot traffic like they sell at Home Depot, or will I have to step up to higher end stuff?

Thank you for your thoughts.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,235
central pa
I agree the pavers will be fine. But you won't want to stack directly on them. You will want your stacks elevated off the ground
 
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cbscout

Member
Aug 16, 2018
75
Mid-Michigan
I agree the pavers will be fine. But you won't want to stack directly on them. You will want your stacks elevated off the ground
I use wood racks that raise the wood off the ground by a few inches. The wood stacks are about four foot high. I’ll have 9 to 10 face cord out there at the beginning of the year. I was concerned about the weight and cracking the pavers. Thanks!
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,235
central pa
I use wood racks that raise the wood off the ground by a few inches. The wood stacks are about four foot high. I’ll have 9 to 10 face cord out there at the beginning of the year. I was concerned about the weight and cracking the pavers. Thanks!
Ok good as snobuilder said as long as you set them on a solid base it will be fine
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,285
Woolwich nj
The majority of pavers are made of 5000 psi concrete. Youll be fine. The issue will be the depth of the base and how well you compact it. Your looking to put 2 1/3 cords on it roughly 3k lbs in weight depending on species. Id go at least 5 inches of DGA or 3/4 modified..
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,039
SE North Carolina
I tried something similar but put zero effort into prep. Just laid some pavers on the ground. They looked fine for the first year now not so much. Whish I had a wood shed. Do it right the first time.
 

Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,715
Midwest
Yes, a structural engineer once told me, "Never underestimate the psi loading of a woman in high heels... especially if she has a 'nice personality'." So I think your pavers will be fine.

The two main concerns of mine would be what the sub-grade is and how the drainage is. If you just flop the pavers over the ground, I'd expect they are going to shift and settle a fair amount (as mentioned above!) The other thing will be the drainage. Possibly you can slope them a bit or make a bit of a hump, but I'd expect a small amount of settling no matter what, so just be sure you don't create a small pond.

I know a lot of people use pallets, 4x4's, cinder blocks, landscaping timbers, railroad ties and lots of other things to stack wood on. So far, the best thing I've found to stack firewood on is one row of firewood. It's free, it's already available, I don't have to make another trip, it's always the right size and can be made any length I want. If I need to shorten it, I can always pick the pieces up, let them dry, knock the mud off and throw them in the fire. Or worst comes to worst, over a couple dozen years, they just become an organic soil amendment!
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,083
Philadelphia
Build it right and it'll hold. I've done driveways where f400s and other work trucks drive on no problem.
The load is not very high, for ground pressure, under normal conditions. If your 1/3 cord rack is 8' long with continuous stringers, worst-case scenario is that it's laid perpendicular to your pavers and sitting on a single row. Let's say 8x16 pavers, so a distributed base of 8' x 16" = 10.7 sq.ft. A high estimate for load would be a mix of higher-BTU hardwoods, stacked green at 5000/3 lb, so 1.1 psi between the pavers and base.

An absolute worst-case scenario would be the same wood in a rack with only 4 legs. If we assume you're smart enough to at least roughly center each leg on a paver (not on a seam), you're looking at 3.25 psi loading on the base under each of the four pavers (or 6.5 psi, if each pair of legs shares a paver). That's all very low, when the load bearing pressure of most soils is 2000 - 12,000 psi.

But the driveway and moving truck comparison is really not applicable, as that driveway is primarily a dynamically loaded situation. Even when you park on the driveway, you typically move the vehicle after a few days, and those of us who park in the same place do see subsidence after several years under the four tire locations. If you've ever seen a driveway after someone left a vehicle parked in the same place for several years, you will usually see noticeable depressions where it sat. Static loads are a biotch on plastic (as in deformable under load) materials.

I think that you will likely be fine, especially if you're not in a climate that gets very heavy rains. But don't under-estimate the power of an occasional 6-inch storm, or a solid week of soaking rain, in forming channels and eroding any loose base under constant load. Think of the way your feet sink into the sand, when a wave washes over them, if that analogy isn't too far for a mid-westerner. I would suspect the paver manufacturers have already figured this out to a large degree, and accounted for it in their base prep instructions. But my thinking immediately goes to keeping the base entirely sub-grade with the pavers at grade, as a means of preventing any wash-out.