Paving the Right Way

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The summer season is often the best time to start home improvement projects, whether they are simple paint jobs or paving a new driveway. Although there are plenty of professional services out there that can do these tasks, many people like to save some money by completing the jobs themselves. That’s all well and good, but not everyone knows how to pave a driveway or walkway correctly. It’s definitely a complex task, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but with these tips any construction or home improvement novice can begin to pave the right way.

Driveway and Gate

Determining Placement

The first step in paving a driveway or walkway is excavating the area. The base should be dug to the minimum depth of a paver while allowing for approximately 50mm of bedding sand. The base should be firm, even if the ground is soft. If the ground is on the softer side, make sure you allow for a fall for drainage to keep water from damaging the base. Compact the base by rolling or tamping. Establish a level starting point for your pavement using your string lines. The paving should be sloped away from your house.

Place your bedding sand at a depth of 50mm and spread it with a rake. Smooth out the sand and spread it to the desired levels using a screed board.


The third step is to choose a paver laying pattern. There are several designs you can use, but a 90 degree herringbone pattern works best for driveways. Find the average width of the pavers by laying 20 of them side by side and measuring their total width. Divide this number by 20. This should tell you how many pavers you will need for the project. Don’t let the pavers touch each other since this can cause them to become chipped. Try to keep a 2-3mm space between the pavers.


Edge restraints should be placed around the perimeter of your driveway or walkway to keep the pavers in place. A concrete edge or timber works best as restraints and they can be constructed quickly as you need them. The restraints should be kept about 10mm below uncompacted pavers. This allows for compaction settlement.


Once the pavers and edge restraints are in place, it’s time to add a jointing material such as Pave-Lok to the completed area. Sweep it over the area until it completely fills the joints. Once that is finished, the pavers must be compacted. For smaller jobs, this can be done with a rubber mallet and a piece of timber. Larger jobs will call for two or three passes with a vibrating plate compactor. Once the pavers have been compacted about 10mm, another layer of jointing material should be added along with another pass with the plate compactor or rubber mallet.

Once the pavers have settled, make sure to remove all excess jointing material from the area before you spray it down with water. Jointing material has a tendency to adhere to paved surfaces; this is something that can ruin the look of your new driveway or walkway before you have a chance to use it.

The jointing material should remain flexible once it’s dried, allowing for slight movement of the pavers. Your new paved area should be safe to use after a minimum setting time of 24 hours.

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