DIY Paving: For The Committed

DIY Paving: For The Committed

Paving tipsFor do-it-yourself pavers, there are 8 important steps to each paving project. Understanding those steps can be the determining factor in how successful your paving project is. However, for large scale and important infrastructure paving jobs, do-it-yourself paving is not recommended unless, of course, the installer has a good amount of experience.

The Critical 7 Steps of Every Paving Job are:

  • – Preparation
  • – Bedding
  • – Buttering
  • – Laying
  • – Checking
  • – Pointing
  • – Finishing

The success of the project depends upon successful completion of these progressive steps…


The importance of detailed preparation cannot be overstated. Preparation for paving projects involves clearing the site of all obstructions and establishing levels before laying begins. Do not forget that paving must be laid with a slight fall so as to ensure surface water can runoff.


The bedding should be about 35 – 50 mm thick after being compacted. Usually for footpaths and patios areas, a spade or brick trowel will be an appropriate tool. In the bed is “rippled,” the paving can more easily be tapped down to the desired level. The bed will need to be between 6mm and 12mm high to accommodate meaningful tapping. It will usually take two or three attempts to get the bedding right.


If you are using mortar joints, you will need to butter the receiving edges with the mortar. Using your brick trowel, spread the mortar onto the edge of the laid paving with an upwards stroke. The goal is to create a seamless frame. After completing the buttering, you are ready to pour.


Laying the paving is perhaps one of the easiest tasks within the paving process. Ensure that all your paving slabs are level and lined up, and are flush with the edges. Take care not to drag the slabs along the bedding, instead lay them straight into their position. Determine your pattern well in advance so that you’ve got it in your mind when laying the paving.


After laying, tapping and consolidating, you are ready to check your work. You want to check that the slab is not moving. If there is movement, you will need to pack the bed or lift and redo the slab. This can be discouraging but you are already invested in the project and there is no sense in not getting it right. If the slab is moving, the end result will be bad. Always use a spirit level or check against the guide line to ensure that the slab has the desired slope. Make any necessary adjustments before addressing pointing ad finishing.


Patio pointing is also known as “grouting” and “joining”, and can be achieved by applying mortar or sand into the gaps between the paving slabs. What materials you need for this is determined on the type of paving that you have, but always ensure that none of the slabs are moving after you have finished filling in the gaps.


Finishing the paving includes a good sweep and tidy up across the paving’s surfaces and around the edges. Add recess trays and covers if necessary.

Although it is perfectly possible to lay paving yourself, there are a number of challenges that may mean it is a better investment of your time and energy to retain the services of a proven paving contractor.

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