Laying pavers on a new patio, walkway or driveway can be executed professionally even by beginners, provided proper planning is done beforehand. One can expect significant effort to be invested in the job, but it can be finished over a number of days.
It is important to plan the paving job and assemble all the necessary tools and supplies before putting the shovel in the ground.
Begin with finalising the layout including the area to be paved, the style of paver and the design or pattern for laying the pavers.
Before ordering the pavers, calculate the area to be paved in square metres with a margin of 5% to 10% to account for cuts that will have to be made to fit difficult spaces and curves. The supplier can assist with advice in this matter. Along with the pavers, joint filling sand or gap sand should also be ordered to fill the joints between the pavers. One bag should be enough to cover 15-20 square metres.
Necessary tools to lay pavers include a screed board and two screed rails 40mm x 25mm x 3m long; a piece of timber 100mm x 75mm x 500mm; spirit level; rubber mallet; club hammer; line level; string line and pegs; broom; diamond blade brick saw; plate vibrator; wheel barrow; shovel; mattock; rake; wooden float and edge restraints, either concrete or steel, aluminium or plastic.
One can also hire the plate vibrator, wheel barrow and screed rails to save money.
Doing the job
Excavation is the first step to paving any surface. Dig out the site to about 180mm to allow 40mm for the paver layer, 30 to 40mm for the sand layer, and 100mm for the compacted base. Maintain a slope from the house for water drainage, usually 15-20mm per metre. Use the level and screed board to get the right slope.
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 the base is well compacted and hard.
The depth of the sand layer can be ascertained by placing the screed rails parallel on the base layer. Use the level to ensure the right slope is maintained using sand to adjust rails as needed. Drop sand between the rails using the wheelbarrow. 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 while moving down the rails.
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.
Start laying pavers from one corner, dropping them into place so the sand bed is not disturbed. Place a paver underfoot if one needs to step on the sand. After laying a course of pavers along the two far walls, the string line should be used from one end of each wall to the other end, to make sure that the first course is straight.
Check for straightness again with the string line after laying three or four courses. Since there may be minor variations in size in the pavers, slight adjustments may be required. Use the trowel to slightly move individual pavers until the line is straight.
If the pavers are too large or need to fit into irregular places, they may have to be cut. Define the line with a straight edge and use the diamond blade brick saw to make the cuts.
Once all the 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.
The cracks between the pavers can be filled with very fine kiln-dried joint fill sand to keep them in place. An alternative is gap sand, which has added silicon, and expands and sets when dampened with water to give a firmer joint that helps prevent weeds. One bag of sand will cover about 15-20 square metres.
Compact the entire area again once. 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.
Sweep off remaining sand, and hose down to clean the pavers as well as activate the silicone sand.
Sealing is the final step in the paving job. All pavers, whether concrete, stone or clay should be sealed after installation. Sealing helps maintain colour and surface finish, and prevents unwanted staining or efflorescence build up on the pavers. Sealing is an easy process in any paving job, and is similar to oiling a timber deck. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and seal the pavers within 2-4 weeks of installation to guarantee the best results.
Centenary Landscaping Supplies provides a wide range of landscaping products and materials including pavers, concrete steppers, drainage channels and gravels, timber fencing products, garden edges, retaining wall blocks, rocks and pebbles, sandstone, sands, mulch compost, top soil potting mix and fertilisers.