Block Paving Driveway

Each and every job is distinct and will present distinct challenges, so this extremely streamlined detailed guide can only hope to illustrate the essential phases of building in the most generic terms.

Block Paving

Block Paving

Prep work

It’s a great idea to have a plan before any ground is broken.
Using building illustration software such as Procore’s drawing tool is a great way to guarantee that your plans are quickly drawn and available if you are able to do that.  If not, please read on and I hope I don’t bore you.

On this job, a construction drawing was prepared beforehand (as part of our design service), so that the client could be sure they were happy with the proposed dimensions and layout, and that the contractor understood exactly what was expected.

Block paving driveway plan

The area of the planned paving must be defined ahead of time, permitting approximately 300mm over at each totally free edge to make the handling of products and haunching of edgings or kerbs that much easier. Sand, a spray marker or string lines and stakes can be chosen to mark out the location – see Setting Out page.

Make sure the approximate place of any services such as electricity, gas, cable television, etc., are known before and excavation occurs – see Working Safely page.


Dig off as required, and throw away spoil. On this project, a 3.5 tonne mini-digger was hired-in to undertake the excavation which with a total location of 115m m² plus additional for drain, flower beds, etc., would create around 30m m³ of spoil to be carted off-site to a licensed garbage dump site The excavator would also assist to spread out the sub-base material.

Digging Level

The excavation depth for a typical domestic driveway is 200-250mm listed below completed paving level, based upon 100-150mm sub-base, 40mm sand bed and 50mm block. Normal contractors’ skips hold approximately 4.5 m m³ of excavated product, which, presuming a 200mm dig depth, works out that each 20-25 m² of paving will need 1 skip to deal with spoil. Remember that excavated product expands by 20-30 %, so each 1m m³ removed will become 1.3 m³ for disposal.

Rather than rely on a fleet of around 7 or more skips, the spoil was gathered by a Grab Wagon, which can collect about 9m m³ at a time and works out more affordable than using skips.
Make certain any soft spots are excavated: they ought to be backfilled with compacted sub-base material. Remember, it’s better to dig too deeply than too shallow.

Any drain that is required ought to be set up at this stage in the building sequence and haunched with concrete for security.


laying the sub-base

laying the sub-base

Spread, level and compact a minimum 100mm thick layer of sub-base material.
The sub-base needs to be profiled or graded to match the planned profile of the finished paving and ought to be precise to ± 10mm. There must be no gaps within the sub-base – any such spaces should be fulled of stone dust or grit sand and compacted before positioning the laying course.

spreading the sub-base

On this job, a non-woven geo-membrane has been chosen in between sub-grade and sub-base to prevent the stone being lowered into the underlying clayey material (and the clayey product being pumped up into the sub-base). As discussed in the Frequently Asked Question, geo-membranes are optional but if there is any query relating to the competence of the sub-grade, they are a good financial investment.

Edge Courses and Kerbs

Establish tight string lines to guide line and level of edge courses and kerbs
Edge course bricks and kerbs should be laid onto a concrete bed. Check that straight lines are certainly directly, which the curves are ‘sweet’. As soon as pleased with the lines and curves, edge courses and kerbs should be solidly haunched with concrete a minimum of 75mm thick.

Laying kerbs.

Kerbs are laid first.  The client needs a little clay bull-nosed kerb to the flower bed edges of the new driveway, so these are set up initially, laying onto a concrete bed and buttering the joints in between each of the kerb systems to give a cool and tidy surface. They are then robustly haunched with fresh concrete.
Wherever there is a kerb, that will certainly serve as the restraining edge so the edge courses does not have to be laid on concrete, however this contractor chooses to have very firm and reliable edges, so the ornamental edge course, making up a 200mm large ebony brown brick with a 100mm large red-multi contrast and then a last 100mm large ebony brick is laid on a lean-mix concrete.

Laying Course

Preparing for a block driveway

Preparing for a block driveway

Spread, level and compact laying course sand, and screed to fix level.
Screeding the laying courseWhen compressed, the laying course sand must be 25-40mm deep. The key to effective screeding is developing a smooth, even and flowing surface on which to lay the bricks. The surface profile of the screeded laying course basically matches that of the completed pavement, so focus on detail is essential.

Block laying

The plan requires a 45 ° pattern, so a starter course of blocks square to the building is developed. 90 ° patterns are very well started at a corner or major edge of the building.

Laying of all complete blocks continues, with the operatives working from the already laid paving, not from the screeded laying course. The bricks (blocks) are randomised prior to laying by selecting them from at least 3 open packs. this helps avoid blotching or banding of colours and enables the paving to show off the full range of tones to finest result.

Alignment and compliance

When all the full blocks are laid, they have to be looked for alignment by utilizing a string line stretched along the diagonal courses and adjusting as essential, making use of the alignment bar device as shown in the photo. Clay pavers typically need significant re-alignment as the imperfect rectangles are prone to wandering off-line during the laying procedure. Concrete blocks, being moulded as ideal rectangular shapes, normally suffer less drift and so require less re-alignment, however they ought to constantly be checked prior to cutting-in.
lining up pavers
Utilize a tight string line … positioning bar
… to obtain the diagonals looking straight


Once the alignment has been checked and verified, the edges can be cut in.
bench installed saw
Bench-mounted sawbench mounted saw
Marking blocks prior to cutting
Clay pavers are noticeably more difficult to cut than their concrete counterparts and so the professional on this project chose to make use of a bench-mounted saw instead of rely on a block splitter. This refers individual choice as it is completely acceptable to choose a splitter for clay pavers and it would be the first choice device for a lot of concrete pavers.

Finishing Touches

Take care of Recess Trays and gully covers, if needed.
Inspect paving for compliance.

Jointing and compaction

The final task is jointing. This is done when all the cutting-in has been finished, and the compliance checks carried out.
Kiln-dried jointing sand is topped the block surface area and swept into the joints making use of a soft brush.

jointing sand
Empty jointing sand onto pavementspread jointing sand
Use a brush to spread the jointing sand
The paving is now compressed choosing a vibrating plate compactor (wacker plate). 4 to 6 passes are made over each area of paving, rotating passes at 90° to the previous pass. With clay pavers and some of the more decorative concrete blocks, a neoprene cushioning mat is connected to the base of the plate compactor to prevent spalling damage to the edges of the bricks.
condensing blocks
Compacting the blocks and jointing at the same time. Operatives should wear dust masks.mat on plate compactor
A neoprene mat affixed to the plate compactor helps protect the clay pavers

Block Paving Driveway Completion

Excess jointing sand can be swept off the surface and it is now ready to be made use of.
The jointing sand may settle over the first few weeks and must be topped up as quickly as this becomes apparent. Numerous block pavements, of both clay and concrete pavers, might display efflorescence in their early life but this need to vanish within 12 months.

Routine upkeep will keep the pavement in tip-top condition and some clients will certainly wish to consider making use of a sealant to protect their investment from unintended staining.

For More information about the best way to lay block driveways please visit our home page AND visit our contact page where we can give you some excellent advice over the phone.

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laying a block paving path