Paving How to Guide: How To Lay Block Paving

PavingBlock Paving looks great on a patio, for a driveway or a garden path. Paving is clean, neat and gives your outdoor spaces a professional look. There are so many different choices when it comes to paving depending on your paving slabs, their colour, texture and size. Laying your own block paving can save you money but we do not recommend it for a DIY novice. If you have had some experience in DIY before be sure to follow instructions carefully and if you are unsure consult your local builder’s merchants for more details before embarking on the project solo.

The below is merely a guide please consult your local builder’s merchants for specific amounts of materials required and for detailed instructions and best methods.

Materials and tools you will need: 1 spirit level, bricklayers tools set, timber offcut (just the one), a plasters float, sharp sand, concrete and mortar, edging blocks, angle grinder, fine dry sand, a rubber mallet and of course your chosen block paving.

You can get all these products for great prices from your local builder’s merchants in North Wales.

Preparation: Before beginning you need to prepare and excavate the area. Always have a detailed plan in mind before you break the ground. Be sure you know exactly how many paving slabs you will require and the equivalent concrete and mortar. Draw a detailed diagram before you begin and be sure of the shape you want your paved area to be. It is best to have more slabs than you need so you can cut extras to the correct shape for the edging slabs. Make sure you know where all the gas, electric and TV cables are before you start excavation.

If you are unsure how deep to make your excavation the standard typical depth for a domestic driveway is usually 200mm-250mm. Bear in mind this is based on a 100-150mm sub-base, a 40mm sand bed and paving blocks of 50mm. Always check the depth of your paving blocks.

Before you even begin laying paving you need to lay a sub-base of concrete. You must spread, level and compact this bas a minimum of 100mm and allow it to dry. Try to make sure there are no voids and use sand to fill any voids.

To Lay a Retaining Edge: When your sub-base is dry you need to lay your edging blocks on a bed of mortar. Use your spirit level and builder’s line to make sure the blocks are level and correctly aligned. Use the rubber mallet or similar utensil to make sure the blocks are pressed down firmly. Continually use the spirit level to check for blocks being level with the string line. To keep the edging blocks firmly in place in can be beneficial to build up extra concrete around their outer edge. Be sure the concrete has completely hardened before moving on to the next stage. It may take up to three days to be properly dried.

Using Sand: When you are certain the edging is in place, dry and level you can cover the sub-base with sharp sand. You will use your timber offcut to help position boards at each end so that the sand is level and to the correct depth for your patio, path or driveway.
Start by dampening your sand and spreading to a depth of roughly 65mm. Do not over dampen the sand. Compact your sand down another 10mm then go back and carefully loosen the top layer slightly.

With your plaster’s float smooth the sand down.

Laying your paving: Finally you are ready to lay your paving blocks. There are so many patterns to choose form so try laying a few dry first to check your pattern works, especially at the edges and that you are happy with the design. Always start laying from the corner. Be sure to lay them tightly against one another with minimal gaps. While you work kneeling on a timber board will help you not to disrupt your paving blocks as you lay them. You will probably need to cut some blocks to size so mark these using a straightedge. Lay the blocks on a firm surface for cutting and always use protective clothing.

Fine Sand: Fine sand can be used to fill in the joints of your newly paved area. Brush the joints with a broom to make sure the sand gets in evenly. Press all blocks firmly and levelly at the end with a compressor.

Now you have a beautiful new patio, driveway or garden path to brighten up your outside areas.

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