The Ultimate Block Paved Driveway

The Ultimate Block Paved Driveway

Part One

This blog post is going to be an overview and instruction on how to build your perfect driveways using block pavers. We will outline all the basic methods, techniques and list all the materials and tools that you need to produce the perfect finish.

If you are a Cornish resident and considering a new driveway then please go to our Driveways page on our website Cornwall Builders

Before you start make sure you are following the UK’s regulations and guidelines regarding water drainage. For more information visit this website Driveways Regulations

Excavation.

This is your first task when laying a driveway, for best results hiring a small digger will make it a half day job instead of a 3-4 hard laboured slog!

Calculate how deep you need to go bearing in mind these simple measurements

  1. Blocks 50mm
  2. Sand 40mm
  3. Base 150mm

On top of this you need  to be 150mm below the damp course of your house so total depth will be around 350 – 400mm deep. You may need to go deeper depending on the layout of your drive.

If the drive slopes towards the house bear in mind you will need to install drainage at the base of the drive near the house. At the end of the excavation you should have a clear level area ready for building.

Edge Restraints.

These are blocks which hold the edge of your driveway in place. They keep everything together and are made strong enough to take the weight of cars and vans.To fix these important blocks we are using an all in one ballast 6 parts to 1 water.

Lay out a taught string line to mark out the line and the level of where your edge restraints need to be. Spread the concrete base below the line and begin to tap in the blocks to the desired height using a spirit level as you go along.

“Haunching” the edge restraints is next. Putting a line of concrete on the outside of the blocks staying 25mm below the top to set the outside perimeter in place. This needs to be left overnight so that the mounting concrete and blocks are set into place.

Sub-Base.

The sub base has to follow the same falls and levels of the final finish, once you have laid approximately 80mm of the stones/hardcore it needs to be pressed into press ensuring a hard, solid and flat surface. The more it is compressed the less likely your drive stones will move in years to come.

Screeding.

Lay the blocks onto a layer of sharp fine sand. This sand also needs to be slightly damp to ensure it will not blow away or end up squeezing through the gaps in your paving. So we lay the sand in stages whilst putting in the blocks to stop the sand from drying out.

Compact the sand using the vibrating plate machine and then you are ready for the screeding. This is simply the final levelling of the sand to give you a perfectly flat base to start putting on your block driveway.

This can be done a number of ways, we usually use long timbers on each edge to give the desired level then scrape away the excess sand using another sturdy timber.

Laying the Blocks

This is where the driveway really starts to take shape!You need to decide exactly how the pattern of the blocks is going to go, you may have different sizes or they may be all the same shape. Either way you need create an imaginary line and follow it with the rowing.

Make sure you are not standing on the screeded sand to mess up your fantastic levelling. Fill in as much as the area as you can until the only gaps are where you need to cut the blocks.

Cutting Blocks

There are 3 different tools you can use to shape your pavers

A simple hammer and chisel

A block splitter

Or a power saw

Its perhaps best to leave the power saws to the professionals, so choose between the hammer or block splitter. Mark out the shape of your blocks with chalk and take your time when cutting and shaping.

This can be a slow task but the accuracy in which you do this will determine the quality finish of the driveway that you are looking for. And before you know it you will be shaping your last block and patting in with your hammer!

Jointing

Now your driveway is nearly complete. One of the final jobs is to give the blocks a good sweep to get rid of any excess building debris before you put on the fine building sand.

Kiln dried building sand is needed to fill in the gaps between all your paving blocks. Put on a pile of the sand and using a brush sweep it all over your drive filling in all the gaps as you go along.

Top Tip

Use plenty of sand and leave the excess on the surface ready for the compacting

Compaction

Onto the final step now!

Using your vibrating plate machine pass over the blocks 4 or 5 times and really press down those blocks into the sand and shake all the kiln sand through the gaps to provide a solid surface. Once you’ve done that have a final sweep and you are all done.

To recap on what we have just described, now you know exactly what is involved you may want to consider using a professional to lay your drive. For all Cornwall Homes here at Cornwall Builders we are ready to do all of the hard work for you.

Simply call us on 0800 852 7944

If you are keen to do it yourself then the key is really in the preparation.

  1. Solid well set edge constraints and a really well laid sub base with the stone.
  2. Make sure the sand is damp when screeding
  3. Keep straightening the line of blocks every time you lay another row, its very easy for the pattern to start drifting off and hard to correct when this happens.

Follow these steps, take your time and you will have a fantastic looking drive and save a lot of money