Forward planning will undoubtedly save you time later on. Having chosen your Pavestone product we suggest you take a piece of paper and mark the outline of the area to be paved. Try to design your project to incorporate sizes of paving that will eliminate the need for too much cutting. This plan will be a useful guide both when ordering and laying. When constructing, remember that when building a patio or path close to a house it is important that the finished paving level is at least two brick courses (150mm) below the damp course. Always provide a 'fall' to drain water away from buildings (a gradient of 1:40 is usually sufficient).
Some of the tools you will need in undertaking a project :- Rake, shovel, tape measure, bricklayers trowel, tamper, spirit level, wheelbarrow, stringlines, soft brush, timber straight edge, mixing board, mallet or hammer and a bucket.
Preparing the ground for paving depends upon site conditions and the intended use of the paved area. If your ground is firm, you probably need only remove the turf and topsoil to a depth to accommodate the 30-40mm sand bed plus the slab and mortar thicknesses. If the subsoil is wet or spongy you need to dig out much deeper to put in a stabilising layer (approx 100mm) of well compacted hardcore (often called MOT, scalping, crushed hardcore) before laying the sand bed, again allowing for 30-40mm of sand plus the slab and mortar thicknesses.
In reality, few areas are already level enough for immediate paving, so some areas need to be excavated whilst others need to be made up with compacted hardcore. The use of hardcore helps ensure adequate site drainage, which is a prerequisite for paved areas.
Examples below are a guide line only and depending on ground conditions, intended usage and the type of paving to be laid may be subject to alterations:
a) Most garden situations - light pedestrian use, solid established ground: Use five spots of mortar on 30 or 40mm compacted sharp sand
b) Heavy domestic use - to take heavy mowers, support planters, maybe on less stable or wet ground: Use five spots of mortar on 30 or 40mm compacted sharp sand on 100mm compacted hardcore
c) Terracotta Tiles and Natural Stone - Use 25mm wet mortar bed on 30 to 40mm compacted sharp sand (note that a hardcore foundation as per b) may be required according to ground conditions) d) Car driveways Blocks may prove a better option than stone. Use 100mm wet concrete bed on suitable compacted hardcore base.
Laying Patio Paving
Once the hardcore sub-base has been compacted, lay the first paving stone in the corner of the area to be paved on a bed of mortar (4 parts building sand to 1 part cement). Tap down the centre of the flag gently with a wooden or rubber mallet to the required height.
Using a string line, regularly check the levels as you lay the paving slabs. When paving large areas run string lines to the extreme points of the patio to ensure the level is maintained.
As it is recommended that paving slabs are bedded on firm foundations, it is only necessary for the perimeter paving slabs to be mortared into place. The inner paving slabs need only to be bedded on sharp sand as with the firm perimeter slabs mortared, no movement is likely.
As you progress the laying pattern, regularly check that the paving is level using a spirit level and, if you are laying slabs with fettled edges, check that the joints are evenly spaced at between 10- 15mm.
Immense care must be taken when cutting paving slabs and full protective safety wear including, face mask, goggles and gloves must be worn.
A diamond saw rotary cutter can be hired from a local tool hire company to cut paving slabs cleanly or alternatively slabs can be split using a hammer and bolster chisel.
On completion, point the joints using a semi-dry mortar mix of 4 parts building sand to 1 part cement. The mix should be damp, neither too wet, nor too dry. Excess pointing mortar can then be lightly brushed away without staining the newly laid paving flags.
If laying paving with straight edges you may choose to 'butt joint'the paving, i.e. to leave no gap for mortaring.
Once the patio is laid brush kiln dried paver sand into the gaps between the paving slabs, sweeping off any excess. This helps to lock the paving together and create a firm surface.