• Preparation


  • Sub-base


  • Sub-base


  • Sub-base


  • Sub-base


  • Edging


  • Edging


  • Sharp sand

    Sharp sand

  • Finished driveway

    Finished driveway

Stage 1. Prepare the area you wish to Block Pave

Remove all the topsoil or existing surfacing. A JCB mini-digger was brought in to deal with the heavy excavation work. It easily chomped its way through the old tarmac, and made light work of the 200mm excavation depth. (In areas where there is a possibility of coming up against cables or pipes a shovel should be used to avoid damage.) To allow for drainage it will be necessary to create a slight slope during the excavation, dropping 25mm over 1 metre across the width (1:40) and 25mm over 2 metres along the length (1:80).

Compact the excavated area with the plate vibrator.

Drainage channel should be installed at this time if the paved area slopes towards the house/building or any other place where water run-off would not be welcome. Recessed manhole covers should also be installed at this stage if required.

Cover the entire area to be paved with a membrane to reduce contamination of the Sub base material with the soil and help prevent future problems with weeds.

Step 2. Sub Base

Lay the sub-base material either MOT Type 1 Slag or Limestone

Compact it firmly with the plate vibrator; depending on how well it compacts, you may need to go over the whole area several times.

It is essential that this sub-base is firm and to the right level.


Install all edge restraints and set firmly in concrete to correct levels.

Edgings may be laid long ways against the edge ('a stretcher course') or with short side against the edge ('a header course') depending on personal preference.

Sharp Sand

Spread the sharp sand to a depth of 50mm, compact it with the plate vibrator and spread a further 15mm of sharp sand over the area as a loose screed. Correctly level the screed with a rigid piece of timber or screed bar drawn along guide rails.

Lay the blocks hand tight only; with a joint gap of 2-5mm, starting in one corner, and at the bottom if there is a slope.

Randomly mix and lay blocks from at least 3 packs to ensure even distribution of colour and texture.

Cutting In

Place the block to be cut into position against the body of the paving, so that its bottom edges are tight against the top edges of the full blocks in the body, and so that it overhangs the line being cut to. With your eye directly over the line of cut, sight through to the edging and mark the line of cut on the block with the edge of a small piece of slate, a steel nail or similar, allowing 3-6mm for a joint against the edge.

Block and Slab Splitters

For ease of us when it comes to cutting paving materials you will require a block and slab splitter. They are simple to use, have no lethal moving parts, generate virtually no dust, and can be used on a wide variety of paving types.

They come in a range of sizes, with different models offering different cutting-widths capable of handling materials from brick size up to flagstones, and various jaw-opening sizes for units ranging from 25mm up to and beyond 200mm.

They work on the principle of 'squeezing' a paver between an upper and a lower blade and exerting such force than the paver 'snaps' along the line of the blades. Available at hire centres, starting at around £25 for a day,

Powered Saws

Powered saws are also used for cutting blocks and pavers, the most commonly used is the hand-held cut-off saw.
Petrol-engined power saws can be hired from hire centres at approx. £20 per day.
Always tell your hire company exactly what you require the saw for and they will advise on the best blades for your requirements.

Continue leveling sand and laying blocks as before until area is covered.

Sweep the area thoroughly after it has been laid and check for damaged blocks; if there are any, replace them.

Compact the whole area with the plate vibrator. Sweep Jointing Sand over the entire area, ensuring it gets right into all the joints between the blocks.

Vibrate the area again to force down the Jointing Sand and fill any gaps which appear in the joints. Surplus sand can be left on the surface for the wind/rain to wash into joints.

After the paving has settled for a period of time, the blocks can be brushed with a silicon coating to protect against spillages.


You have completed your task, enhanced the look of your property and undoubtedly increased its value.