How to lay paving slabs with your own hands

How to lay paving slabs with your own hands

How to lay paving slabs with your own hands

June 26

Likbez Do it yourself

Spend the weekend and make a car park or beautiful garden paths.
Photo by Artyom Kozoriz

Artyom Kozoriz

Lifehacker author, mechanical engineer

How to lay paving slabs with your own hands

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1. Prepare tools and materials

To lay paving slabs, you will need the following:

  • tiles and borders;
  • crushed stone and sand;
  • cement and trowel;
  • water and bucket;
  • level and rule;
  • tape measure and pencil;
  • pegs and cord;
  • rubber hammer and rammer;
  • angle grinder with diamond disc;
  • rake and shovel;
  • watering can and broom;
  • UD profiles for drywall or steel pipes;
  • geotextile – optional.

2. Think over the layout

Photo: richoz, anaterate / Pixabay

Depending on the shape of the tile, there are many laying patterns to obtain different patterns. As a rule, all manufacturers supply their products with such information, so you should not have a problem choosing a scheme.

Do not forget that the more complex the shape of the paving slab and the pattern to be obtained, the higher the labor intensity and the more undercuts. If you want to simplify your work as much as possible, choose rectangular or square tiles, and make paths and platforms with straight lines. Ideally, in general, adjust the paving area to the size of a whole number of tiles in order to do without trimming.

3. Mark up

Image: Artyom Kozoriz / Lifehacker
  • Calculate the width of the future track by adding up the number of tiles in a row. Remember to include the thickness of the borders and add 5-10 cm on both sides.
  • Measure the desired distance with a tape measure and use wooden or metal pegs to mark the area for laying paving slabs. To keep them out of the way, use two pins at each corner and drive them in at a distance of 20–30 cm.
  • Stretch a cord between the pegs and outline the perimeter of the working area.
  • Check the diagonals of the resulting rectangle and make sure they are the same. If the distances differ, get the exact size by moving the pegs.

4. Prepare the base

Photo: Serge Cornu / Shutterstock
  • If there is an old coating on the ground, dismantle it.
  • Carefully remove the fertile layer of soil with a shovel. Usually it is 30-40 cm.
  • Make sure all roots and grass are removed so seeds don’t grow through the tile.
  • Level the soil with a rake and compact it well over the entire area of ​​the trench with a hand rammer.
  • To drain water from the surface of the tile, form a slope on one side of the trench at the rate of 1 cm per linear meter.

5. Install curbs

Paving slabs are a relatively mobile surface, so curb stones are always installed along the edges of the paving. They do not allow it to spread due to heaving of the soil. To fix the curbs themselves, they are installed on concrete. The height of the curb can be both above the tile and flush with its surface.

  • Dig small trenches with a shovel a little wider than the curb on both sides of the site.
  • Prepare a mixture from the following calculation: 1 bucket of cement, 3 buckets of sand and 2 buckets of crushed stone. Add a little water so that the solution is thick and does not spread.
  • Lay the mortar in the trenches and place the curbs on top.
  • Set the stones down on the concrete by tapping with a rubber mallet and align with the cord to the desired height.
  • Wait a day for the material to harden.

6. Make a pillow

Paving slabs are laid on a well-compacted cushion. There is enough sand for walking garden paths and playgrounds, the driveways to the garage and parking areas are additionally reinforced with a layer of rubble. Also, a gravel cushion is used at a high level of groundwater, acting as a drainage and preventing heaving. Sometimes, for greater strength and protection against root germination, geotextiles are laid between the soil and the bedding.

How to make a pillow for a walking path

  • Lay geotextiles on the compacted soil (optional).
  • Pour sand into the trench and moisten it with water.
  • Compact well with a rammer to obtain a layer of 15-20 cm. With sufficient density, there will be no traces of shoes on the sand.

How to make a pillow for the platform under the car

  • Lay geotextiles on the compacted soil (optional).
  • Level the bottom of the trench with a thin layer of sand and compact thoroughly.
  • Pour in medium fraction crushed stone and compact to obtain a layer of 20–25 cm.
  • Sprinkle sand on top, moisten and tamp down to a layer of about 5 cm.

7. Prepare and level the cement-sand mixture over the beacons

Photo: Sergii_Petruk / Shutterstock
  • Mix a dry cement-sand mixture (DSP) from the following calculation: 1 bucket of cement for 5-6 buckets of sand.
  • Install beacons from UD profiles for drywall or pipes. Form a slope of 1 cm by 1 m for water flow.
  • Backfill with a layer of DSP 2-4 cm high between the beacons and level using the rule.
  • If holes are formed, add the missing amount of the mixture and tighten along the guides until the surface is even.
  • Carefully remove the beacons and fill in the resulting voids of the DSP.

8. Lay paving slabs

Photo: Alexey Krav / Shutterstock
  • Start laying paving slabs from the corner that will be most visible, and from the lowest point if there is a natural slope at the site.
  • Mount the tiles away from you so as not to step on the prepared surface.
  • Put the bricks in their place, upsetting and firmly knocking them together with a rubber mallet.
  • Check with a level that the horizontal plane …


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