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How To Lay Pavers

Before commencing any work it is important to consider the following points to prepare for your paving project.

  1. Paving must slope away from any buildings for rain water to flow away from the building.
  2. Allow for the depth of the base layer, the thickness of the paver being used, less 10mm for settlement after compaction.
  3. Ensure the ground level is even and compacted to create a stable base.

The Base Layer

Spread the base layer evenly over the prepared ground. Base material is generally road base or well graded crushed rock. Rake to an even thickness before compaction. Compaction of road base is usually performed using a mechanical place compactor for an even surface. For best results, it is recommended that the road base is compacted in 2-3 layers, not in one single layer. Remember, an uneven base will give an uneven paver surface therefore use a spirit level to check.

Bedding Layer

Spread and screed a coarse, well graded washed river sand over the base layer. The easiest way to screed sand flat is to use two guides and a screeding board. Place the screeding rails in position so that they slope enough to shed water (check with a spirit level), then spread a layer of bedding sand over the rails. Pull the screeding board over the screeding rails to obtain a uniform depth of approximately 30mm (3cm).  Once the sand has been screeded remove the guides and fill in the tracks with bedding sand and smooth off.

Laying the Pavers

The best way to ensure your paving pattern stays in line is to use set out lines. Use two string lines at right angles to keep the paving joints straight. When setting us the grid remember to add 2-3mm to each paver width to allow for the gap between each paver.
When laying your pavers place them gently on the sand bed. Disturb the bed of sand as little as possible so as not to alter the even surface. Once laid, you may stand on the centre of the pavers however be careful not to stand on the leading row of pavers as they may tilt.

Cutting Pavers

After laying all the full-sized pavers you may find that you need to cut pavers into part-sized pieces to complete your project. Cutting can be done by hand with a hammer and bolster, or for a neater cut with a water-cooled diamond blade electric saw. Once cut, the part pavers must be washed clean of saw grindings. These grindings may be invisible while wet but if allowed to dry, will appear as stains and can be very difficult to remove at a later stage.

Define Your Edge

Edge restraints prevent the pavers from moving horizontally and also restrain the sand and road base. Edge restraints can be made of treated timber, concrete, or a paver on its side.

Joint Filling

Once the pavers are laid, sweep dry fine graded sand over the paved area ensuring that all joints are full.

Compacting the Pavers

To secure the paving in place, compact the pavers using a mechanical place compactor with a piece of carpet or rubber mat under the compactor to prevent the pavers from being scratched or damaged. After each pass of the compactor sweep in more jointing sand and compact again before sweeping off. For driveways it is recommended that a minimum of 3 passes are carried out.

For handy tips and diagrams please download the Guide To Laying Pavers PDF supplied by our good friends at Boral.