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If you’re looking to install the best block paving Sheffield has to offer, then this block paving tutorial is the perfect place to start. Below, we’ve outlined the crucial steps you will need to follow in order to lay block paving quickly, efficiently, and effectively, so you can enjoy the endlessly-appealing block paving in your own home.

Step One: Design and materials

  • When laying block paving, it’s important to have the finished project in mind. Consider how you want the block paving to look and the intended size of the finished block-paved area
  • Mark out the exact dimensions of your intending block paving, and measure the entire area; you will need this measurement in order to ensure you have purchased the correct amount of materials.
  • With the above complete, you can decide on your choice of brick colour, being careful to ensure the colours work well with your existing house brickwork and hard landscaping
  • You’re now ready to purchase your materials and begin the process of constructing your own block paving.

You will need

  • Sub-base aggregate
  • Block paving stones
  • Sharp sand
  • Kiln dried sand
  • String line and pegs
  • Broom and/or rake
  • Screed rails
  • Shovel or spade
  • Mallet
  • Tape measure
  • Wheelbarrow

You will need to hire or purchase…

  • Cement mixer
  • Block splitter
  • Compacting tool
  • Mini excavator (for larger projects)

Step Two: Excavate the area

  • Mark out the intended area with string lines, so you know exactly where you need to excavate
  • You can either excavate the area manually, or use a mini excavator for larger projects
  • Dig out the area to at least 150mm below the damp proof course of your house; you can dig deeper if you prefer, but 150mm below the damp proof course is the minimum
  • You will need to dig a slight slope rather than a flat surface in order to allow surface water to disperse; aim for a 1cm drop per 60m of length.

Step Three: Create the foundation

All block paving needs a solid, concrete foundation that is strong enough to withstand constant use, which is particularly important if you are constructing a driveway that will house heavy vehicles.

  • Your foundation should be at least 100mm in depth
  • Create a concrete mix of one part cement and six parts ballast and add to the intended area, using a string line and spirit level in order to achieve a flat finish

Step Four: Add the edge restraints

  • Edge restraints are essential component of any block paving area, providing stability and support to ensure the entire construction is secure
  • You will need to mix a concrete foundation to hold the edging blocks in place
  • Create a concrete mix using one part cement and six parts ballast for the foundation, which you’ll use to line the edges of the intended area
  • When the concrete has dried, lay the blocks on a bed of mortar using a string line – pulled taut so as to ensure consistency – as a guide
  • Use your mallet to gently hammer the blocks into place, then apply mortar to the outside of each block to around the halfway point in order to add extra security

Step Five: Apply a layer of sub-base

Sub-base helps to add an extra layer of strength to the area.

  • The sub-base will need to be 100mm after compacting, so initially applying a little more than this is recommended
  • Use a rake to spread the sub-base and ensure an even distribution across the concrete surface
  • Firm down the layer of sub-base using a compacting tool, working in small sections in order to provide a flat, secure finish
  • Ensure the completed sub-base is at least 100mm deep when the compaction is complete

Step Six: Add two layers of sand

  • Add a 50mm layer of slightly damp sharp sand onto the compacted sub-base
  • Use the compacting tool to level the sand
  • Add more sand to a depth of around 20mm on top of the first layer of sand, ensuring the surface remains level

Step Seven: Screeding

Screeding helps to provide extra security and ensure the area is fully prepared for the blocks.

  • Insert your screed rails into the sand
  • The tops of the screed rails should be level with the intended bottom layer of block paving
  • When the screed rails are inserted, drag a spare screed rail across the top of the inserted rails in order to remove any excess sand

Step Eight: Lay the blocks

  • Block paving should always be laid from the base of the slope, then slowly progressing upwards
  • Start in a corner or, if there are no corners available, at a straight edge or border
  • Place the blocks straight and then slide them into place
  • The blocks will initially sit slightly higher than the intended finished height; this provides ample room for compacting
  • When all of the full blocks have been laid, you can use the block splitter to cut blocks to size and fill any remaining gaps. Wherever possible, avoid splitting blocks by more than a third.

Step Nine: Finishing touches

With the blocks laid, our block paving tutorial is almost complete, but there are a few finishing touches to complete…

  • Sweep the intended area with the broom to remove any debris that may have accumulated while the blocks were being laid
  • Spread a layer of kiln dried sand and sweep across the entire area, ensuring that sand falls into the joints of the block
  • When the kiln dried sand is in place, you now need to use your compacting tool to compact the area; ideally, use a rubber sole plate in order to reduce any scuffing
  • After compacting, another layer of kiln dried sand needs to be swept over the bricks, followed by a second compaction – and repeat this process until all of the joints between blocks are completely filled with sand
  • When the joints are filled with sand and compacted to your satisfaction, your driveway is complete.

In conclusion

By following the steps above, you should be aware of how to lay block paving in a way that looks the part and works perfectly for many years to come. Enjoy!

For other options on refurbingshing your driveway please check out our resin drives service.

About The Author

Bricklayer with 20+ years experience.