December 13, 2016
A great looking driveway is a great way to provide conveniently and secure off street parking while also enhancing the look of your home. When professional install block paving it usually looks like any easy job, but with the right materials and some manual work, it is not quite a major task as you may think. All you need to do is to follow this simple step by step guide.
For everyone else, you will simply have to hire a contractor who knows how to lay block paving. It’s a recommended way to go if you don’t have the time or the patience to learn the entire process properly. Starting it without having proper knowledge can lead to a lot of troubles.
Before you even start it is a good idea to have a plan before any ground is broken. You need to draw a simple plan of your home, sketching where you need the blocks to be installed. Once your plan has been finalized, layout lengths of string that marks out the dimensions of your purposed patio in position. Also, make sure the approximate location of any services like gas, cable TV, electricity etc are known.
The first stage of the construction process is to carefully remove the existing driveway this could be either concrete, tarmac or concrete flags. Depending on the size of the area, you can either use a shovel, mini excavator or hire a JCB to excavate the existing driveway. The minimum depth of a typical home driveway is 200-250mm below the finished paving level. This allows 150mm of hardcore, 50mm of your block paving and 50mm of sand. If your excavated area appears to be flat, it will be necessary to create a slight slope that will aid in dispersion of the standing water. This should be constructed with 1.80 falls along the length and 1.40 fall across the width. It is important to note that you need to dispose of the excavated materials in a manner conforming to statutory regulations.
You need to always cover your skin when handling cement. Using cement mixer, mix 6 parts ballasts and 1 part cement to create a concrete foundation for edge restraints that is 100mm thick. Use a spirit level and string line to make sure the edge restraints unit is placed on the foundation that will sit at the required finished level. The edge restraints can either be kerb unit of 60mm thick paving block. Mortar the kerb unit using a rubber mallet and trowel and again using concrete, form a hauch up at least half the block height.
The sub-base should be profiled in such a way that it matches the planned profile. A sub-base consists of granular material Type 1 that is installed in a minimum depth of 150mm. Using a vibrator plate compactor or use vibrating roller for large areas in layers of 50mm until the desired level is reached.
Ideally, you need to start from the right angle, place your blocks on the top of the laying course while ensuring they sit 5mm of the finished level. Depending on the desired laying pattern choose blocks from different packs in order to minimize the risk of color patching. Once the blocks are laid, cut a number to complete the area by using block splitter.
You need to use yard broom to brush the kiln dried sand into all joints and thoroughly compact using a vibrating plate compactor to ensure all blocks are at a desired finished level. Subsequently, top the sand and using compactor re-compact to ensure no joint is left unfinished.
This article has been created with the help of few good people. Advices and guidance was also provided by EKS Construction, UK based block paving company that operates locally.