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How to Lay Pavers

If you are planning a new patio, walkway or driveway, follow these instructions and rely on the expert advice of Centenary Landscaping Supplies. Even beginners can lay pavers with professional results. Expect a good workout, but remember that the job can be worked on over a number of days.

How to lay pavers

 

Preparation

It is important to plan the paving job and assemble all the necessary tools and supplies before putting the shovel in the ground.

Layout and Design

Pavers layout

Decide on the area to be paved, the style of paver, and what kind of design. For example, you could alternate two colours, or install a herringbone pattern. Over 150 different styles of pavers are available at Centenary Landscaping Supplies, and they showcase different designs to help you decide.

Pavers and Material

Order the correct number of pavers. Calculate the square metres of the area to be paved. Add 5% to 10%, depending on the number of cuts you will have to make to fit difficult space and curves. Your supplier can best advise you.

Also order enough Joint Filling Sand or Gap Sand. This is used to fill the joints between the pavers. One bag should be enough to cover 15-20 square metres.

Tools

tools for laying pavers

Make sure you have all the necessary tools to lay pavers:

  • a screed board and two screed rails 40mm x 25mm x 3m long
  • piece of timber 100mm x 75mm x 500mm
  • spirit level
  • rubber mallet
  • club hammer
  • line level
  • stools for laying paverstring line and pegs
  • broom
  • diamond blade brick saw
  • plate vibrator
  • wheel barrow
  • shovel
  • mattock
  • rake
  • tools for laying paverswooden float
  • edge restraints, either concrete or steel, aluminum or plastic

To save money, you can hire the plate vibrator, wheel barrow and screed rails.

Doing the Job

Once you have gathered all the necessary tools and supplies, you are ready to start work.

1. Excavate

Prepare the pavers area

Dig out the site to about 180 mm to allow 40 mm for the paver layer, 30 to 40 mm for the sand layer, and 100 mm for the compacted base. Maintain a slope from the house for water drainage, usually 15 to 20 mm per metre. Use the level and screed board to get the right slope.

2. Install Base

Install base for laying pavers

The base layer is composed of gravel aggregate and fines or Road Base. Use the screed board to get the basic level, making sure to maintain the slope. Hose down the area and then use the plate compactor around the entire area two or three times to make sure this base is well compacted and hard. Add a shovel of the base material here and there to true up your level as some areas may compact more than others. 

3. Add Sand

laying pavers preparation

Place the screed rails parallel on the base layer to provide a guide for the depth of the sand layer. Again, use the level to be sure that you are maintaining the right slope, using sand to adjust rails as needed.

laying pavers preparation

Use the wheelbarrow to drop sand between the rails. Position the screed board perpendicular to the rails to spread out the sand evenly over the entire area. Fill areas at the walls as needed, levelling those areas out as you move down the rails.

laying pavers preparation

Once the screed board is at the end of the rails, remove the rails and fill in the rail traces with sand. Use the wooden trowel to smooth and pat the surfaces again.

4. Lay the Pavers

lay pavers

Start laying pavers from one corner, dropping them into place so the sand bed is not disturbed. If you have to step on the sand, place a paver under your foot. Lay a course of pavers along the two far walls. Use the string line from one end of each wall to the other end, to make sure that this first course is straight.

lay pavers

Continue to lay three or four courses, and then check for straightness again with the string line. There are minor variations in size in the pavers, so some slight adjustments may have to be made. Use the trowel to slightly move individual pavers until the line is straight.

5. Cut Pavers

cutting pavers

Pavers may have to be cut if they are too large or need to fit into irregular places. Place a paver against the wall; pull it back about 5 mm, and use a felt pen to mark where the cut is required. Irregular spaces may require more than one cut, so take your time and measure accurately.

cutting pavers

cutting pavers

Mark all the pavers to be cut. Be sure to lift pavers straight up so the sand layer is not disturbed. Define the line with a straight edge and use the diamond blade brick saw to make the cuts. Then drop the pavers back where they belong.

6. Edge Restraints

Pavers edge restraints

Once all pavers are arranged, add edge restraints to keep them in place. Secure them to the ground with spikes, following the perimeter of the design area.

Pavers edge restraints

An option is a concrete restraint against the exposed edge of the pavers. This is called haunching. Use a small wooden float to push concrete about half-way up the paver edge to act as a wedge. This leaves room for soil, mulch and grass to be added later.

7. Joint and Gap Sand

Filling gaps in pavers with sand

Sweep very fine kiln-dried joint fill sand into the cracks between the pavers to keep them in place. Another improved product known as gap sand, has added silicon, which expands and sets when dampened with water. This gives a firmer joint that helps prevent weeds.

Filling gaps in pavers with sand

Place the bag of sand on the pavers, rip it open and sweep the sand into all exposed cracks. One bag will cover about 15-20 square metres.

8. Compact

Compacting pavers

Compacting pavers

Compact the entire area again, once only. For small areas, place a timber on the pavers and hit it firmly a few times with a mallet to vibrate sand to the bottom of the pavers. For larger areas, use the plate vibrator on a lower setting with carpet or rubber under it to avoid breaking or damaging pavers.

9. Cleanup

clean up pavers

clean up pavers

Sweep off remaining sand, and hose down to clean the pavers as well as activate the silicone sand if that was used.

10. Sealing

pavers edge with grass

All pavers, whether concrete, stone or clay should be sealed after installation. Sealing pavers helps maintain colour, surface finish and prevents unwanted staining or efflorescence build up. Many products might be “presealed”, this is not a permanent finish, and is designed only to aid in the laying process and minimise any damage occurring. Sealing is an easy process in any paving job, and is much like oiling a timber deck. Follow the manufacturers recommendations and seal your pavers within 2-4 weeks of laying to guarantee the best results.

Follow these steps to ensure a professional looking paver job. Remember that Centenary Landscaping Supplies are available at every step of the way to give helpful and friendly advice and get you your supplies when you want them and on time!

August 16th, 2013|1 Comment

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  1. […] For example, there’s the instruction manual on how to build your own raised veggie patch, how to lay pavers and a number of downloadable DIY guides in PDF […]

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