Block paving is an attractive, low-maintenance option for those looking to renovate their driveway or add in a garden path.
It’s not as noisy as gravel, and it’s better to look at than tarmac – and as such it’s among the most popular types of driveway/garden pavement options out there.
Hiring a professional to lay your block-paving will give you peace of mind and will save you from having to sacrifice your free time. You can easily find someone local using sites like My Builder.
But if you’re willing to learn a new skill, and you have the resources to commit to the job, then you can save money by taking the DIY approach.
Before you get started, you’ll need to assemble a few key tools and materials. Let’s take a look at a few of the key tools and materials you need.
What type of Paving
Before you do anything, you’ll want to research your options when it comes to the paving itself.
If you’re looking for a timeworn look with the performance of something modern and resilient, then Tegula paving makes an excellent choice it delivers the traditional look of block paving and is renowned for its lasting high quality to look.
This type of pavement Is also very diverse and comes in a wide variety of sizes and colour blends to create an individual style to your garden pavement. If you’re looking to limit your costs, on the other hand, then concrete block paving might make a more sensible choice.
Excavating existing hardscapes
It may be that you need to demolish an existing hardscape surface first i.e. asphalt, gravel, concrete or cement. For this, a bobcat would be ideal as they are fast, offer good visibility and height, and can push a pile and lift a bucket with ease.
However, a bobcat can be difficult to get a hold of and be very expensive. Using something like a sledgehammer instead can also greatly assist in quickly and effectively with the breaking down of the concrete, gravel etc. and help dig into the dirt without causing too much pressure on the body.
Vibrating Plate Compactor
This specialised tool is used to squash the driveway as much as possible and ensure that it doesn’t deform when you come to park a car on it.
The tool itself imparts a powerful vibratory compaction effort to loosen up materials and transmits vibration through the plate. These Plate compactors work best on granular soil and are typically used at every stage of the process, from the sub-base to the sand to the block paving itself.
Cutting through block paving, as you might imagine, requires a specialised saw. Using a saw that isn’t designed specifically for paving is likely to result in frustration for example a hand circular saw.
A brick saw like tile saws is a type of masonry saw that uses a special diamond blade to cut and grind through materials while being cooled with running water. These type of ‘Masonry saws’ are much easier to use and don’t require as much of a technique to achieve the perfect cut.
The process is also much faster and efficient. On the other hand, you might opt for a manually operated block splitter; these rely on leverage to force a block into two distinct sections and have a simple and quick adjustment in place for cutting height by height adjustment screws. Before you use a brick saw, be sure you’re acquainted with some basic safety procedures.
If you’re going to be working with extremely loud power tools for extended periods of time, then it’s worth investing in ear protectors. While you’re not taking this up as a profession, you can still inflict damage over the week or so it takes to lay down the paving.
Before operating or using any of the equipment mentioned always read the safety instructions and wear protective clothing such as safety toe shoes, wear natural fiber based clothing (avoid loose clothing) and gloves to keep your hands safe, as gloves are perfect in situations where your hands will be exposed to abrasions.
Waterproof gloves are also available when working on something wet. Loose hair can also be very problematic especially with rotating equipment so, keep hair tied up or tucked away from any equipment your operating.
Finally, we have a few more general-purpose items which you’ll be using when you come to block-pave. While it’s possible to transport blocks by hand, a pneumatic-tyre wheelbarrow will make the job easier with the transfer of dirt, debris and other items.
Spirit levels, tape-measures and chalk will all be used for measuring and marking as you don’t want to eyeball guess the area, you’re paving You’ll also need a dust mask to avoid inhaling that unpleasant airborne brick-dust.