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Paving Installation

In this we will learn about the process of installing the paving both natural paving (slabs, cobbles, etc) and also porcelain paving.

Natural stone

Intro:

This is somewhat an installation guide which you can consider on how to install/lay the paving material of your choice and dream at your home either it be in lawn, backyard or in front of the house. The purpose of the guidelines is to outline the basic principles of installing your paving. Normally a wastage factor of minimum 10% should be allowed for cuts and any minor surface imperfections.

Planning:                                        

This might be the first step in your paving but is also the vital one as it contains all the pre planning before you commence paving by your own or through some professionals/landscaper. A perfect plan is also important for a perfect execution. And a plan must include size, thickness and pattern of pavers/slabs you will use in your planned space. A drawing is also needed for the planning process in laying patio or any paving. Where in a drawing includes all details of your paving area and its surroundings.

Moreover, you should also take in consideration the delivery time of your material so it will available to you on time when required. Following are the material/products required in laying a patio.

Safety gear you'll need:

Protective footwear; gloves; ear & eye protection; facemask (ffp3)

Tools you'll need:

String line & pegs; spirit level; tape measure; rake; shovel; wheelbarrow; trowel; wide paint brush; drill and mixing paddle; rubber mallet; broom & brush; bucket/s & sponge; joint spacers; grouting tool

Materials you'll need:

General sub-base (gsb); sharp sand (concreting sand); cement plasticiser (optional); flexible grout

You can ask your stockiest to calculate how much all-in ballast, building & sharp sand and other material you will need in order to lay perfectly. Furthermore, according to building regulations, to protect your house from damp, it must be 150mm below any damp proof course (dpc). So this should also be taken into consideration well in advance.

Site preparation:

The site preparation starts with having a fall as a part of drainage plan; having pegs and string to be used in marking the area to be paved. It also includes in case if the area you are paving is unreliable or has persistent weeds, place a geo-textile over the ground first, and then start digging out that particular area. Now a 150-200 mm depth in that area is to be digged out for a strong base under the paving acting as/or so called foundation. This 150 mm depth hole will include a 75mm of hardcore mix and a 75mm of soft sand mix which must include the paving thickness also. Before stone is laid use a wacker plate or a wooden batten to firm and make a solid compacted base. After compacting hardcore mix ensure there no voids left in case if there’s any, fill it with sand and compact it again. Lastly, spread only enough mortar for one flag at a time, ensuring at the same time for bed to be larger than the flagstone.

Laying paving:

As stone is laid/paved to the area it has to be ensured to have a slope away from home. A slope can be generally optimum to have 1mm of slope in every 60mm of stone distance laid as it fulfills drainage purpose as well as doesn’t look sloppy to the eyes. Tools which are helpful in laying the stone are 1 wooden batten, 2 wooden pegs and a spirit level. These tools are used for maintaining slight slope for drainage. If there is large paving area consider to choose slabs from different packs at the same time for even better look and feel of the paved area at same time ensuring you have enough slabs.

The mortar mix contains ¾ part of sharp sand to 1 cement. This mortar mix is the layer between hard base and stone paving which will be laid. A length timber is used for equal base for paving. A corner is the best way to start your paving from on bed of mortar towards an edge which maybe adjustable, on a mortar mix contains ¾ part of sharp sand to 1 cement. Generally it is recommended first to dry lay you flags(be it random pattern or a circle), if possible to check the fit and ensuring you like the pattern. Then using spirit level check the level, if not use rubber mallet gently on the stone for leveling and continue until all paving is laid as to ensuring your paving is full bedded and supported. The mortar under the paving should be fully laid instead of spot paving as in case of spot paving you will see spots of cements on the stone surface after some days of absorbing the mortar and if not paving may not intact properly underneath and come loose after few years of use.

There are adhesives in the market for the better intact of stone and cement mix, for waterproofing against damp-susceptible paving, used in making mortar mix for strong bond and also used for wall cladding and step risers.   

Jointing/pointing:

Now comes the part of filling the joints/space left between the paved stone. A mix containing 3 parts of building sand to 1 part cement, a dry mix will be the result. Now using the sweep make sure all every joint is filled with the mix. Now a water can is needed to water the mix in all the joints between the area you have paved. Make sure not to over water as it can damage and flood all the joints. And in the meantime wiping away the entire extra mix towards a corner else if mix is left on surface of paving it might become hard and maybe impossible to clean it.

There must be 3mm joint gap between two paving(ideally 5mm-10mm is recommended) instead of butt joining as gaps between allows paving space for contraction and expansion according to weather and keep slabs safe from chipping during laying of the paving. Then cordon off the freshly-paved area, avoiding any foot traffic for at least 24 hours.

Porcelain

Intro:

This is only a basic guide to laying porcelain outdoor which you can consider on how to install/lay the paving material of your choice and dream at your home either it be in lawn, backyard or in front of the house. If you haven’t laid paving before, best is to research the process carefully.

Planning:      

A perfect plan is important for a perfect execution. And a plan must include size, thickness and pattern of pavers/slabs you will use in your planned space. A drawing is also needed for the planning process in laying patio or any paving. Where in a drawing includes all details of your paving area and its surroundings.

Moreover, you should also take in consideration the delivery time of your material so it will available to you on time when required. Following are the material/products required in laying a patio.

Safety gear you'll need:

Protective footwear; gloves; ear & eye protection; facemask (ffp3)

Tools you'll need:

String line & pegs; spirit level; tape measure; rake; shovel; wheelbarrow; trowel; wide paint brush; drill and mixing paddle; rubber mallet; broom & brush; bucket/s & sponge; joint spacers; grouting tool

Materials you'll need:

General sub-base (gsb); sharp sand (concreting sand); cement plasticiser (optional); slurry primer; any porcelain protector; flexible grout

You can ask your stockiest to calculate how much all-in ballast, building & sharp sand and other material you will need in order to lay perfectly. Furthermore, according to building regulations, to protect your house from damp, it must be 150mm below any damp proof course (dpc). So this should also be taken into consideration well in advance. Porcelain has a lower water absorbency which means the paving must be primed prior to laying, so take extra care to follow these steps! Further ensure to check the size, layout and, more importantly, that you have enough pavers.

Site preparation:

Site preparation starts with firstly using string lines and pegs to mark out the area you are going to dig out for the patio taking the drawings of the plan. Also allow for a 150mm-200mm margin for kerbing or haunching if the patio is not connecting to a solid construction, such as a wall or building.

Next in terms of depth, 160mm below the intended patio height will need to be dug, allowing for 100mm of compacted gsb material, a 40mm bed of bedding mortar, and the porcelain paving, which tends to be between 16 and 20mm. Using a sub-base (or base) is vital, failure to do so may result in the whole area of paving failing in the short term.

Now, add 5 parts sharp sand and 1 part cement to a mixer with sbr additive, which will help the bonding process to create the bedding mortar. Now this mix is filled in the depth upto 100mm for a solid base. The consistency of the mortar should be firm. Apply the bedding mortar to the sub-base with a shovel or trowel so that it sits about 15mm below the string line. In order to allow for the porcelain tile to further compress the mortar and roughen the surface of the bed. Please spread enough mortar for one slab at a time so you can apply paving smoothly and importantly easily.

Laying paving:

Once the bed is ready to be used for laying the porcelain paving first roughly lay your paving slabs on that bed so that you can visualize how the patio will look after laying all the tiles/slabs. This will also highlight any potential issues and those issues can be acted upon before laying the paving actually. The drainage of 1:60 is to be used means a 1mm fall for every 60mm of paving so that you don’t face any issues of water collecting in your paved area. Now the paving can be laid one after another but make sure to use primer when using porcelain as the porcelain pavers are a manmade product, they have a very smooth surface on the back on the paver. Due to this, they do not always adhere on a mortar bed as strong as natural paving does. Natural paving is generally calibrated. When a product is calibrated, line groves are created on the back. This allows extra adhesion to occur. Therefore when laying the porcelain slabs, the primer ensures that the correct amount of adhesion occurs for the longevity of your paving slabs. Any slurry primer that has appeared on the visible side of the paving will need to be wiped off promptly as it will stain the tiles once set. Using spacers will also reduce the risk of movement when laying, therefore keeping edges neat and tidy.

Now when tiles are in place can then be tapped into place and levelled. When tapping the pavers down, please use a rubber hammer to ensure that no damage to the slab occurs e.g. Chipping/cracking. Simultaneously keeping in mind to have fall for drainage.

Jointing/pointing:

Once the paving is completely dry, ensure that it is completely debris and dust free before applying the grout, wiping down with a damp sponge if necessary. Using a rubber float, wipe over the applied grout to compress it. Wipe any excess grout off the paving with a tiling sponge. In addition, weeds are no longer able to take hold, thus ensuring a permanently visually attractive jointed surface.

Job done! And the great thing about porcelain paving is that it doesn't need sealing.

Moreover, another option to lay the porcelain pavers is to lay a solid concrete bed. This is a very solid way to lay porcelain paving. The porcelain pavers need to be applied to the solid concrete using a flexible tile adhesive that is suitable for external pavers. The adhesive must be waterproof.

However it is recommends using a “full wet bed” approach to installing porcelain paving. As first method is advocated by several industry leading suppliers as it uses recognized techniques applied by landscaping professionals and is the most efficient way of installing porcelain flags.

Cobbles & setts

Prepare a plan and outline the project area where cobbles are to be laid. Next is to dig out the installation area recommended 200 -250mm for domestic driveways. Be sure to excavate 150 to 200mm beyond the boundaries of the project to give you ample space to install your edge restraints for further boosting the strength and look of the area.

Lay a suitable sub base such as crushed hardcore between 100 to 150mm and be sure to lay base material beyond the planned boundaries of the said paving. Laying the base outside the boundaries of the pavers will make your project more stable. Ensure the base is well compacted using the necessary equipment such as vibrating compaction plate (wacker plate). After the sub base is compacted, build an edge restraint course with kerbs or blocks on a concrete bed which acts as a restraining edge.

Now followed by the use of 35 to 40mm laying course of grit sand on top of the sub-base; spread, level and compact laying course sand, and screed to correct level. When compacted, the laying course sand should be as deep means the space left for the thickness you choose of the cobbles & setts either be it 25, 30, 50 or 75mm. Lay the blocks on top of the levelled sand close to each other without gaps.

After completion of laying the blocks, sweep kiln-dried jointing sand over the block surface into the joints using a soft brush and compact the blocks using a vibrating plate compactor (wacker plate).

At last if there is no vehicular traffic expected, the setts may alternatively be bedded on mortar laid onto existing firm and stable concrete surfaces or similar but making sure it should be hard and compacted.

These guide lines are informative only and not comprehensive. Use professional landscapers for the job to be done on your garden or driveway of your dreams.

Wallings/claddings

You should strip topsoil first then dig to firm ground and lay level concrete foundations. As a rule of thumb a foundation should be dug approximately one third of the total wall/feature height (minimum depth 100mm) and foundation width should be three times the width of the wall. A recommended foundation mix would be 4 parts coarse aggregate to 2 parts building sand to 1 part cement. Stretch a building line between the ends and build one course at a time, checking for accuracy vertically, diagonally and horizontally using a spirit level. Using a trowel, spread mortar (4 parts building sand to 1 part cement) evenly over the foundations and then over the blocks in each course as you lay them; the mortar should just exude from between the joints and any surplus is taken off with the trowel. Don't forget to fill the vertical joints as you go by applying mortar to one end of the block before positioning it adjacent to the previously laid block. The blocks should be laid in a stretcher bond using half blocks at the end of each alternate course.
Using a pointing trowel, smooth and finish the mortar joints. Top with the required coping.

Please remember for retaining walls higher than 600mm and any wall built over one metre high, professional advice should be sought prior to construction.

If you are building a raised planter, barbecue or similar small garden feature on an existing concrete base or well laid patio, foundations may not be required.

Edgings

Whilst our edging range can be laid directly into the ground, for stability a more permanent method of fixing is recommended. This may be achieved by digging out a small foundation trench to the required length, approximately 100mm deep and 150mm wide. Fill and level with a foundation mix of 4 parts coarse aggregate to 2 parts building sand to 1 part cement.

Once the foundations have cured, bed the edging by gently tapping the top edge with a rubber mallet into a mortar bed of 4 parts building sand to 1 part cement, ensuring each unit is aligned and level. Back fill the reverse face of the edging with the same mortar mix "haunched" with a 45 degree wedge of mortar to a height that will be concealed by the finished surface.

Stepping stones

Evenly space the stepping stones across the lawn or border. Using the stepping stone as a template, cut away the surrounding turf or soil to a depth of approximately 75mm. Infill with sharp sand to a depth of 35-40mm or use a weak semi dry mix of 5 parts sand and 1 part cement. Place stepping stone and tap down gently with a rubber mallet so that it sits just below the level of the lawn.