When it comes to hardscaping projects, it is essential to learn how to lay pavers. They come in many different colours, shapes and sizes, allowing you to create a wide variety of mosaic patterns that best suit your tastes.
Pavers work great on pathways, planters, walkways, and even driveways. They resemble an old-world European feel that looks perfect for almost any hardscaping project you can think of.
Not only do pavers look aesthetically pleasing, but they’re also easy to maintain. Just pull out one or two pavers and replace them with new ones in order to preserve its classic appeal. One of the main benefits to pavers is its water-absorbing features.
Even in heavy downpour, pavers absorb water slowly to prevent standing water from forming. It’s no surprise that many homeowners use pavers because of its rustic appeal and its low-maintenance characteristics.
While pavers bring forth plenty of advantages, you have to know how to lay them properly. If you don’t, the pavers can shift out of place and cause a number of different problems. If you’re interested in using pavers for your next hardscaping project, then you came to the right place.
Step by Step Guide on How to Lay Pavers
This paver installation 5-step guide will help you lay down pavers correctly so you can enjoy a sturdy, beautiful outdoor flooring and you can also check Soil Yourself for more tips.
Step 1: Preparing the Foundation
The first step in laying pavers is to prepare the foundation. Check to make sure you’re using a rubble and root-free sand sub-base with a minimum thickness of 50mm.
Level the sub-base thoroughly and damp it down before using a hand compactor to pack it in. For most domestic applications, hand compaction is usually enough when laying pavers, but if you’re laying it on high-traffic vehicular areas, then mechanical compaction will be necessary.
Step 2: Spreading the Sand
This step is where you establish your final level by spreading the sand. Simply lay two runner boards (either metal or timber) on leveled sand and spread the sand loosely over the areas between the runner boards.
From there, screed the sand with a notched screen board to remove high spots and fill up low spots.
Check out steps 1 and 2 in this video:
Step 3: Laying the Pavers
Start by laying pavers at a straight, fixed edge. Work your way slowly by laying the pavers according to your desired pattern. Gently place each paver on top of the sand and use a rubber mallet to tap it lightly into place.
You can also hand tamper the pavers if you wish. Make sure that the pavers have at least a 2mm gap in between for sand filling later on.
Since you won’t be able to walk on screeded sand, work in small sections and use the laid pavers as a walking platform.
Step 4: Compacting and Joint Filling
After laying pavers successfully, you can now proceed to compaction and joint filling. Before compacting, apply a thin layer of joint filling sand and spread it evenly throughout the paver joints.
This will help minimise surface damage and aid with the movement of the compactor. Use a high frequency, low aptitude compactor to compact the pavers. Usually, three passes is enough to set the pavers in place.
The surface area of the compactor should be wide enough to cover 12 pavers at once and the metal base should be covered to prevent it from damaging the surface of the pavers.
For a cushioning effect, consider adding a 12mm plywood sheet onto the base of the compactor. After the compacting is finished, brush the surface with clean, washed white dry sand. Make sure all the joints are completely filled before sweeping off any excess.
Once the paving has been laid, apply a final layer of sand and sweep it onto the joints to achieve maximum lock-up and ensure each joints are completely filled.
Step 5: Installing Edge Restraints
The last step in paver installation is to install edge restraints on edges that don’t rest on a solid kerb or wall. This helps prevent the pavers from spreading under loads and resist lateral shifting altogether.
Both the subgrade and sub-base need to be compacted underneath the edge restraint while extending at least 100mm beyond its outer edge.
A pre-mixed concrete (20:14) i.e. 20mpa, 14mm aggregate size can be used to install the edge restraint barrier. Ideally, the barrier should extend at around 100mm beneath the brick and extend at 100mm beyond the header course.
The depth should be around 100mm as well. The completed barrier must extend 20mm from the bottom of the header course. This is what creates the lip that forms a restraint to stop the paving from shifting and moving.
Why Driveway Pavers Beat Asphalt and Poured Concrete Alternatives
Driveways can be constructed from a wide array of materials and, at first, it may seem difficult to commit to one option. While each material offers its own set of benefits and has unique weaknesses, concrete pavers are the best across the board.
Poured concrete is rigid and fragile, and asphalt looks unfinished, but concrete pavers are proven to be enduring and aesthetically pleasing.
Driveway Pavers Longevity
Concrete pavers are renowned for their compressive strength, making them excellent candidates for driveways subjected to heavy loads.
While larger concrete pavers are more likely to crack than smaller concrete pavers, the joints between them allow for a far more flexible surface than that achieved by poured concrete.
Concrete driveway pavers are able to flex and bend ever so slightly as the underlying earth expands and contracts, or as tree roots grow.
Driveway pavers are likely to remain pristine for decades thanks to its strength and flexibility and, should extreme mechanical weathering damage a concrete paver, pavers can easily be removed and replaced without uprooting their neighbors.
Driveway Paver Designs and Visual Versatility
Driveways contribute to a property’s curb appeal and it is, therefore, important that they look polished. Fortunately, with concrete pavers, you don’t have to compromise looks for longevity.
Concrete pavers inherently look more sophisticated than asphalt or gravel. In addition, modern manufacturing technologies have enabled the craftsmanship of a near-endless variety of concrete paver styles.
Driveway paver designs can be sourced in almost any color and size, and can be finished with tumbled or smooth surface textures—among others.
With such a great selection of pavers to choose from, finding one that suits your home and hardscape should be easy. Concrete pavers can even be manufactured to look and feel like natural stone, with all the strength, accessibility, and affordability of concrete.
Driveway Pavers Laying Patterns
Concrete pavers can be laid in a variety of formations, each of which contributes to a particular aesthetic or achieves an interesting optical illusion.
The running bond pattern, for example, can make a driveway appear longer or wider, depending on the direction in which the pavers are laid.
Circular paver patterns can contribute toward a dramatic driveway design, while the herringbone formation adds dimension to a uniform paver selection.
A random arrangement of pavers can contribute toward a natural aesthetic where pavers that mimic natural stone are used.
Jointing material plays a greater role than holding individual pavers together. Depending on the color of jointing material you choose, it can stand out in contrast or help to tie the landscape design together.
A contrasting jointing material can emphasize the clean lines of sleek pavers or draw attention to an intricate laying pattern.
Jointing material that echoes shades found elsewhere in the landscape can help to anchor the driveway and create a smooth transition between the new paver surface and the rest of the property.
Jointing material in the same color as the field pavers can effectively disappear and create a smooth, seemingly unbroken surface