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A Guide To Paving Your Driveway

The process of paving a driveway requires carefully following a number of stages and adhering to practices that many people are perhaps unaware of. Here we run through the steps that are involved.

Choosing A Design

The first stage is of course to choose exactly what you want from your drive. It is important to give thought to how you use your driveway. Things like whether you use it to keep a van or caravan, a car, or simply to walk on by foot should all be given consideration. If you feel that your drive does encounter heavy use, block paving is an ideal choice, offering a strong and solid base with small joint gaps. Various types are available in a range of prices. An option for lighter use would be thick Indian paving cobbles or setts which can be provided in a selection of colours and materials. This type of material suits a more scenic garden, and can work well within a green space, creating attractive paths and courtyards. Different patterns can be created and designed to suit the appearance of the overall property.

Preparing The Area

Before laying any driveway, the area involved will need to be marked out and suitably dug, either by hand or using some sort of equipment. A depth of between 200 and 250mm below the surface level is recommended, to allow for a sand or stone dust base. Making sure the finished level lies below the damp proof course of the house is also important, as is ensuring that the driveway does not lie totally flat, giving it sufficient drainage.

Edges

A concrete bed will need to be created, on which to place the edge bricks or kerbs. As this requires precision and accuracy, marking out the areas using items such as string and spirit levels is helpful. These should then be haunched with concrete and will provide an outline guide, within which the laying of the paving can begin.

Preparing To Lay

The first stage of the laying will be to create a bed layer, usually of crushed concrete or roadstone, followed by sand, on which to place the paving material directly. The depth of this will vary depending on factors such as the type of paving used, the level as to which it will compact, and what sort of material is used. As this forms the final level before the surface is placed making sure it is compacted and levelled sufficiently is vital. This process is often known as screeding.

Laying

Laying the paving commences from the bottom of any slope, and at a straight edge, to ensure uniformity and structure is maintained. At this point any designs and patterns are considered, and different blocks of bricks are often alternated between, to give the driveway variety. Any alignment changes are made at this stage, with cuts to slabs made to fit gaps if necessary.

Finishing

The final stages involve sweeping kiln sand across the laid driveway to fill the gaps between the slabs and block the joints. A vibrating plate compacter can then be used to fully compact the paving, before another sweep of sand. This process is sometimes repeated a few times to ensure that the end result is of a high quality, with the paving settled and all gaps filled.