Basic Guide to Installing Stoneworks Pavers
Check Availability & Order Pavers
Stoneworks pavers are generally kept in stock at our factory and key distribution points to allow for delivery within a day or two of ordering, however it is always a good idea to check local lead times, especially in regional areas, before preparing your site. Order your pavers, Paver Bedding Sand, Road Base and other materials from your local landscape supply yard (see our list of Stoneworks distributors in “Where to Buy”) with a view to having them delivered to site a couple of days before you need to start laying. This way, everything will be ready for you when your all of your friends and family turn up for the free BBQ (…oh, and to lay some pavers).
Check for correct quantities and colours as soon as your delivery arrives but leave the pavers wrapped on the pallet until the day you’re laying them. Don’t leave stacked around the site in “star-stacks” for more than a few hours as any corners exposed to the air for a day or two will tend to lighten up compared to the covered part of the paver. This can cause a whitish “picture frame” effect on the corners which can be difficult to remove. This is caused by fine minerals forming on surfaces exposed to the air during the concrete curing or “hydration” process. Ensuring an even exposure to oxygen across the whole paver surface as soon as the wrapping comes off is the best way to go.
It is always best to order all the Stoneworks pavers you need for one area in one hit, so you are guaranteed of receiving one consistent batch. This is especially important if ordering matching bullnose, which we prefer to Make To Order for you with the body pavers so we know they will match well. Made To Order may take 1-2 weeks in general. As with all masonry and stone products, if you have multiple pallets of Stoneworks pavers, blend them from a variety of pallets as you lay, as colours will generally vary a little from pallet to pallet. This natural, subtle variation in colour is a key feature of Stoneworks pavers when well blended and enhances their natural charm. Colours may also vary noticeably from batch to batch due to variations in natural materials and weather conditions during manufacturing and curing.
Finally, always allow at least 3% to 5% extra pavers to allow for mishaps on site, cutting waste and to have a few spares to pop in the garage in case of any need to pull up and replace pavers in the future.
Prepare the Site
Excavate the area to be paved to allow for the Base Layer (generally 75-150mm thick of Road Base depending on how rocky and stable the sub-base is), Paver Bedding Sand (a washed, coarse, river sand with an even thickness of 20mm to 30mm) and the Paver thickness (40 or 50mm thick depending on the type of Stoneworks paver selected). Establish the falls and level using a spirit level on a Concrete Screed or board and string lines where appropriate.
Spread & Compact Road Base
Spread the Road Base to an even thickness and compact using several passes of a vibrating plate compactor (a.k.a. “Wacker Packer”). Fill any low spots with more Road Base until a firmly compacted, very flat, level base with the correct falls and heights is achieved. Your finished paver surface will only be as good as the base, so this part is critically important. Don’t be tempted to lay pavers without a good base layer, as pavers laid straight on dirt or sand and dirt will move, stain and promote weeds. All paving should be kept below any weep holes in walls and should slope away from the house with a clear path for water to drain away quickly. Any soft spots or drainage will need to be rectified before proceeding.
Place Screed Rails & Spread Paver Bedding Sand
Place two 20-30mm thick screed rails parallel to each other and maybe a metre or so apart on the Road Base and spread Paver Bedding Sand roughly between and over the rails. PVC piping makes great screed rails – flexible to follow any contours, consistent in thickness and smooth for sliding the screed board across the top. Do not use Crusher Dust or “Cracker” Dust as bedding as it contains fine minerals that will migrate through the pavers and cause unsightly, stubborn staining and tends to hold more moisture than coarse sand. Washed River Sand is free of salt and other minerals, drains well to keep pavers drier and is the only bedding material we recommend.
Screed & Level the Paver Bedding Sand
Using a Concrete Screed, Straight-Edge or similar, work across the two rails in a sawing, zig zag, left to right motion to scrape away excess sand, leaving a smooth bed for the pavers. Carefully slide the screed rails out without disturbing the sand. Fill the voids with more Paver Bedding Sand and smooth with a trowel or wooden float.
Set the Lines
Set string lines at right angles to establish paving lines. These will help keep the joints straight for that truly professional look. One easy way to make a perfect right angle is with the 3-4-5 rule: make a triangle with 3 metre, 4 metre and 5 metre stringlines and the corner between the 3m and 4m sides will be a right angle. Who knew?
Begin the laying
Start laying along the longest straight edge of the designated area (make sure you don’t pave yourself into a corner!) and lay whole pavers first, checking against your stringlines as you go, and taking time to step back occasionally for a visual check along the lines. Always leave 3-5mm between pavers to allow for Jointing Sand (most Stoneworks pavers have 2-3mm spacer nibs built into the sides to help easily establish the minimum width, Abode Pavers are tapered on the sides so the top edges do not touch). Pavers should never be butt-jointed as this does not allow for minor variations in pavers sizes, leading to wonky looking lines and difficulty laying. Spalling or chipping will occur if there is movement or subsidence where paver edges push against each other. So please remember, give your pavers a little space!
Install Edge Restraints & Cut Pavers
Install Edge restraints to prevent the pavers from moving. Typically, this is done by scraping away the bedding sand and pouring a concrete haunch around the outer edge of the paved area. Other materials such as Aluminium or Steel Edging strips, sleepers or the base of a wall make great restraints as long as there are no gaps for sand to escape and the edge restraints are strong enough to withstand pressure for pavers to spread out, especially on a slope. Cut and position part-pavers if the job requires them – an angle grinder is ok for small jobs but can be very dusty. It is best to hire a brick saw (wet saw) for bigger jobs and a professional finish as you will get straighter lines and no dust. Mark cuts with a permanent marker and cut carefully, always using appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear protection and a dust mask where appropriate).
Fill the joints
Sweep a fine, clean, silica based Jointing Sand over the finished dry paving, working the sand in to ensure all joints are full. Dry sand/cement mixes are not recommended for use by DIYers as they can cause permanent cement stains on the surface if handled incorrectly. Flexible joints can last longer too as they’re not affected by cracking. Polymeric Sand (dry, fine sand in 20kg bags, stabilised with a form of gel which sets reasonably hard in the joints but maintains some flexibility) can be used to reduce incidence of ants, weeds and wash outs in small joints. Wider joints (minimum 25mm thick by 5mm wide) can be grouted very easily with our Geo-Fix® air curing mortar jointing compound. This is especially useful for products like Bradstone Cobbles or Old Town.
With excess jointing sand still on the pavers, run a light vibrating plate compactor (with carpet tied on to the base to protect the pavers) to compact them into the bedding sand and settle the jointing sand, locking the pavers in. Once compacted, replace any broken pavers and sweep away all excess jointing sand. Keep some jointing sand handy as it may need to be topped up again over the first few weeks.
Caring for your pavers – prevention is better than cure
- Leave pavers wrapped and as dry as possible until just before laying. After wrapping is removed, ensure paver surfaces are evenly exposed to the air, do not leave them “star-stacked” around the site for long periods before laying as the concrete hydration process may cause exposed corners to visibly lighten in comparison to covered sections.
- Sweep regularly with a stiff bristled broom to keep pavers free from debris.
- For maximum protection we suggest pavers are sealed after installation with a penetrating sealer. Please check with a reputable sealing company for advice.
- Seal pavers with a penetrating sealer before grouting to avoid grout smears.
- Re-seal pavers as required, paying extra attention to heavy wear areas and salt-water locations.
- During construction, cover the paved areas to protect against damage.
- Protect your pavers against possible staining from mortar, oxides, cement and rust.
- Do not use hydrochloric acid to clean Stoneworks pavers. The use of acids and chemically-based cleaning agents can be hazardous and may damage the pavers if applied incorrectly so always consult a professional and follow instructions with great care.
- Do not use high pressure cleaning apparatus to clean pavers.
- In all cases, attempt to clean a stain before it hardens or dries. If a stain occurs, follow some simple steps:
- Assess type of stain carefully before taking action (incorrect assessment of stain can cause the stain to be more difficult to remove).
- If a stain cannot be accurately assessed, conduct a trial process on a small portion of stained area to determine the most appropriate action.
This is general information and should be viewed as a guide only National Masonry urges you to ensure that you obtain appropriate professional advice tailored to your circumstances before commencing Stoneworks paving projects.