- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 03 Sep 2018
How to lay block paving
Block paving, or brick paving, is commonly used for constructing pavements, patios, driveways and so on. It is may be used due to its decorative aesthetic, ease of installation, and the fact that the bricks or blocks allow for easy remedial work by removing and replacing those that are necessary.
Block paving can be used to achieve many different laying patterns, the most common being the herringbone pattern due to its interlocking strength.
Block paving is a very popular choice for domestic driveways and this article will explain the various stages involved for this particular application (although other applications are very similar).
The first stage, once the area required for block paving has been established, is to excavate to a depth that means the finished surface of the blockwork will be at least 150 mm below the damp-proof course of the adjacent building to the paving (and that it drains away from teh building). The typical excavation depth is 200-250 mm below the finished paving level (this comprises 100-150 mm sub-base, 40 mm sand bed and 50 mm block or brick).
The ground should be excavated to a gradual slope to allow surface water to run away and not pool on the surface. If a drainage system is to be installed, the slope can be directed towards that. The typical slope is a 1 cm drop for every 60 cm length.
A skip may need to be hired to remove the excavated material. The amount of excavated material needing to be removed can be calculated by multiplying the surface area by the dig depth, as well as accounting for 20-30% extra for the bulking-up of the spoil material.
 Edge restraints
The edge course bricks and kerbs should be laid on a concrete foundation using a mortar bed, and hammered in gently, checking the line for the correct level. This edging should then be haunched by applying concrete to the outside up to approximately halfway (roughly 75 mm thick).
Coarse sand should be spread and levelled on top of the sub-base layer to roughly 25-40 mm deep. It should then be screeded to ensure a smooth and even surface on which the paving can be laid.
 Laying the blocks
Blocks should be laid from one corner at the bottom of the slope. They should be around 10-15 mm above the measured line as this then allows for compacting once they are all in place.
The herringbone pattern provides the strongest interlocking bond and is achieved by setting the blocks at either 45- or 90-degrees to the perpendicular. Those laying the blocks should always work from the paving that has been laid, not the screeded laying course.
Once all laid, the blocks should be carefully checked for alignment by stretching a string line along the diagonal courses. Concrete blocks tend to drift less than clay pavers which can require re-adjustment.
 Jointing and finishing
Jointing involves spreading kiln-dried sand over the surface of the block paving and sweeping this into the joints. This can be done whilst compacting the paving down using a compactor plate. Care should be taken to alternately pass over each section of paving at 90-degrees to the previous pass.
Jointing sand may settle over the first few weeks of the block paving being completed, and should be topped up as necessary.
Sealant can be applied to minimise staining.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Driven piles are used to support buildings, walls and bridges, and can be the most cost-effective deep foundation solution.
Australian landmark celebrates achievement of carbon neutral status five years ahead of schedule.
Non-material amendments can sometimes be necessary after planning permission has been granted. Find out more here.
Six things civil engineers could do to ensure the success of projects.
Dublin housing crisis restricts employers' ability to recruit, according to new U+I research.
Intricate inlays and beautiful patterns can be created with waterjet cutting.
Two historic quarries in environmentally sensitive areas were reopened to repair Exeter Cathedral.
The phrase ‘time at large’ describes the situation where there is no date for completion, or it has become invalid.
The Maldives is under threat from climate change. Read this report from BRE on their potential involvement in the region.
MHCLG update states there are still 124 private high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding and no remediation plan.