A step by step guide on how to prepare the ground and lay block paving including tools required and tips for success from our friends over at Bradstone.
STEP 1 Design:
You will need to draw up a design that suits your own requirements.
- Are you replacing or extending your existing driveway?
- Are you completely landscaping the front of your house to make it low maintenance?. Once these decisions have been made, you can decide on the type of block you wish to use and the colour.
Colour is important because you do not want it to clash with the house bricks.
STEP 2 Excavation:
Depending on the size of the job, you may want to use a mini excavator, or hire a JCB to excavate the existing driveway, as this will save you time and a lot of backbreaking work.
- Mark out the area that needs to be excavated.
- Dig out the area to the desired level, (which depends on your existing surfaces) while making sure that your proposed finished level is 150mm below the damp proof course in the brick of any adjoining buildings.
- If the excavated area appears to be flat, it will be necessary to create a slight slope to aid the dispersion of standing water. This should be constructed with 1:40 fall across the width of the drive, and a 1:80 fall along the length.
STEP 3 Edge restraints:
- Using a concrete mixer, mix 1 part cement and 6 parts ballast to create the concrete foundation, which should be 100mm thick in depth.
- The kerb unit or edge restraint will sit on top of this at the required level. This should be done using a string line and spirit level.
- Mortar the kerb units or edge restraints to the foundation using a trowel and rubber mallet.
- Once the kerbs are in position, haunch the back of the units so that the concrete reaches half way up the rear of the kerb.
STEP 4 Subbase:
- Lay the MOT Type 1 Roadstone inside of the edge restraints and rake to the desired level in layers of 50mm.
- Level and compact using a vibrating plate.
The roadstone should be at least 100mm thick after compaction. The vibrating plate should be passed over the area at least 7 times ensuring it’s thoroughly compacted.
STEP 5 Screeding:
Once this has been done, a layer of slightly damp sharp sand, to the depth of 50mm, needs to be applied and compacted with the vibrating plate.
- A second layer of sharp sand to a level of 20mm then needs to be applied on top of this. Using the string lines, screeding rails and straight edge, this second layer of sharp sand needs to be levelled to the correct falls.
STEP 6 Paving installation:
- Always begin laying block paving from the bottom of a slope, preferably starting from a right angle or a straight edge. Place the blocks on top of the laying course ensuring blocks are around 45mm above the desired finished level.
Continue with your desired pattern while making sure that you are using blocks from between 35 packs at once to minimise any colour banding. When the full blocks are laid, you will need to cut an amount of blocks to fill the smaller gaps. This can be done by using either the block splitter or the diamond disc saw. You should avoid making a cut block less than a third of its original size.
STEP 7 Finishing touches:
Once all of the blocks have been laid, sweep the drive thoroughly to make sure that there is no debris left on the blocks. Then apply kiln dried sand and sweep across the whole of the drive, making sure that this sand falls down between the joints of the blocks. After doing this, the drive needs compacting with the vibrating plate. You will then need to sweep more kiln dried sand over the drive and compact again. Keep doing this until all of the joints are full of sand.
Why not download the Bradstone Laying Block Paving Guide to take on site: