Paving is not as simple as placing pavers. To do paving properly so that it lasts requires good preparation and good paving products.
Firstly and to give you an idea of what you’re in for, here is a list of the most common tools/items used in paving:
- Builder’s line
- Wooden stakes
- Rubber mallet
- Angle grinder (diamond disc to cut pavers)
- Sweeping brush
- Compactor (manual or compactor machine)
- Sweeping brush
- Spirit level
- Paving bricks
- River sand
- Fine sand
Brief step-by-step of the paving process
Defining the Paving Area
Measure up the area you want to pave. This is important in defining how many pavers and sand you will need.
Level out the paving area. Should the area be sloped or curved, make sure it is sufficiently smoothed out or it will compromise the integrity and aesthetics of the paving. Also remember that if the paving is against an existing solid structure that it be angled very slightly towards that structure to maintain greater structural integrity. This is the most important step so take the time and effort to get it right.
Adding the Sand
Compact the soil thoroughly with your compactor whilst maintaining the level/smoothness obtained in step 1. Be sure to remove loose stones. It is recommended to compact the soil multiple times. Remember, the more you do now, the longer your paving will last and the better it will look.
Now you are ready to add the sand. Lay the coarse sand of the compacted area (make sure you get proper paving sand). The fine sand will come later. The sand needs to be about 5 cm thick and smoothed out with the straightedge.
Laying the Pavers
If you’re up against a wall (whilst laying your pavers) leave a gap that will be filled with cut pavers later.
There are multiple patterns that you can adopt to lay your paving. Here are a few:
Pick one and rememeber to be accurate as any flaw will show up like a sore thumb.
Lay a builders line that you will stick to whilst paving to make sure you pave in a straight line. This is vital and should never be skipped no matter how confident you might be in your ability to pave straight.
Place your first paver near the straightest edge or an existing structure if you have one on the edge of your paving area and leave a small 1 cm gap to the edge.
Once in perfect position, tap the paver firmly with a rubber mallet so that it slightly indents into the sand (so that it won’t move out of place easily).
Always make sure the paving is straight. During the paver laying process, take a step back from time to time to get a broad view of the paving area.
Filling in the Gaps and Edges
Once you are happy with the laying of your pavers it’s time to fill in the edge gaps and mix and pour concrete where need be.
Mark pavers that need to be cut for the edge filling and cut them with the angle grinder. Don’t worry if you mess up, you should have spare pavers and getting the edges filled correctly is worth it.
Once all the edges are filled, concrete the outside edge of the paving area where needed to make sure the paving doesn’t slip in that direction over time (gravity + rain = paving slip). This is why it’s important to use existing structures where applicable tyo avoid unnecessary cement. You can also use edge sleepers and concrete for a better finish.
Now pour and spread the fine sand with a sweeping brush or broom to fill in the tiny spaces between the tightly packed pavers.
The Final Touches
Water down your paving area once the concrete has dried sufficiently. This is to get the fine sand and coarse sand underneath to set and to clean off the unwanted fine sand
If you want to paint the paving area with sealant, wait for it to dry thoroughly before doing so.
Now stand back and relish your accomplishment. You have added value to your property, convenience and usability to your outside area and made your property that much more aesthetically pleasing.
Congratulations and well done!