13 May 2014
Paving Laying Guide
The laying guide is intended to be a guide only for a standard patio (not porcelain paving) and we would always recommend that you seek professional advice, given specific use and site conditions will affect the way your paving should be laid.
Tools for the Job:
Gloves, Mask if cutting, Trowel, Sprit level, String, Rubber mallet, Wooden spacers
Preparation of foundations
Take time to plan your paved area. Use graph paper to draw up the dimensions of your patio or terrace. Make sure the ground is level and if near the house ensure there is a suitable fall of about 1:40 to allow rainwater to drain away from the house. The paving surface must be at least 150mm below the damp course in any adjacent wall. The foundations will depend upon ground conditions and expected use. For paths and patios with firm foundations and light pedestrian use then 40-50mm of compacted sharp sand may be adequate but for all other purposes you will need firmer foundations. For ground that is less firm then you may need to prepare 100mm of compacted hardcore under the sand. You will need to increase the depth of compacted hardcore to 150mm for driveways.
First prepare and dig out the area to the required depth. Stack your paving carefully near to the prepared ground. You should always inspect the paving before it is laid to ensure it is not defective. Mix paving slabs from different packs to blend colour shades. We recommend that all paving is laid onto a full bed of mortar, using a mix of 1 part cement to 5 parts building sand. The mortar mix is to be slightly wet but not too wet, and damp enough to make a ball in your hand. So do check the water content. A minimum of a 25mm bed should be prepared for each paving slab, and tapped down level with a rubber mallet. Use a trowel to draw the mortar part way up the side of the slab to save on pointing material later. You may find it useful to use a string line to help with the level and fall. Keep checking the levels as you work. Use wooden spacers between each slab to ensure the pointing widths are consistent, unless you are trying to achieve a less regular look.
Do not walk on the paving for at least 24hours. Once set you can start to point. Do not point if the paving slabs are wet, cement can stain the slabs and this is very difficult to remove. There are various methods of pointing, depending on the paving type and the desired finish. For a standard basic method prepare a mortar mix of 1 part cement to 4 parts building sand, the mix should only be damp and not wet. Press mortar mix firmly into the joints. Use a piece of pipe or the end of a spoon to smooth the mortar mix and leave a clean joint, and wipe away any excess mortar from the paving without disturbing the joint. Always allow to dry/set completely before cleaning and sealing. Our paving is usually laid with a joint width of 10mm, but this can vary depending upon your preference for wider or narrower joints.