A Homeowner’s Guide to Laying Paving Stone and Pavers

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Pavers are a great way to enhance your landscape. However, there are a few things you should do before beginning your installation. First, lay your patio area out before you begin to ensure you have enough pavers and the size and layout look okay.

Step 1- Digging Out for Your New Patio

You should dig down 150 mm for the foundation and paving mix. Furthermore, those pavers that are located directly against a house needs to be 150 mm below the damp proof course.

Another thing to remember is the patio will need to have a fall to ensure water does not collect on the patio. The patio foundation should slope away from the house 1 cm for every 60 cm wide. For example, if you install a 3 m wide patio, the patio should have a fall of 5 cm.

Step Two- Preparing the Patio Base and Mortar Preparation

Your patio’s foundation should be a 6 to 1 concrete mix. This means the concrete should be 6 parts sand and 1 part cement. When mixing your cement mixture, just add enough water to dampen the mixture so that it will hold together. The mixture should be damp and workable; however, it should not be runny or overly wet. Pour the cement mixture into you patio area at a depth of 75 mm. Then, use a piece of timber to level the surface out.

Step 3- Laying Out Your Pavers

Before you mix and pour your foundation, you will need to set up a string guide to ensure your paving is level. The first line should run from the base of your house to the furthermost length of the patio. The second line should from side to side. A third line should mark correct slope for proper drainage.

Once these string lines are in place, you can begin to install your patio. Spread some mortar out that is slightly larger than the paving stone you are laying. The mortar should be thick enough so that you can tap down the paving stone to the proper height.

Next, grab a rubber mallet to tap the paving stone into place. When using a rubber mallet, you want to strike the paving stone in the center and each corner of the paving stone. Tap firmly, but not too hard. Continue tapping until the paving stone is at the correct level. Use a spirit level to ensure that it is level and the proper fall has been reached. You will need to leave a joint between each paving stone. After you have completed you patio, do not walk on the patio or set anything on it for 24 hours to allow the mortar to harden.

Step 4- Paving Joints

The mortar that you use for your joints should be mixed at a ratio of 3 parts building sand to 1 part cement. Mix a small amount of water to your mortar until it creates a smooth mix. The mortar should be damp, but not wet. You can also add a plasticiser to make it easier to work with the mortar.

Once the mortar is properly mixed, use a trowel to install it in the joints of your patio. Use the tip of your trowel to press down and smooth the mortar. Take precautions to ensure the mortar does not sit on the paving stones. If any gets on your paving stones, wait a couple of hours until the mortar begins to harden and then scrape it off the paving stone. Trying to remove it immediately will result in only smearing the mortar rather than removing it.

After the mortar has hardened, sweep your patio to remove any loose tidbits of mortar. You are now ready to begin enjoying your newly installed patio.