Installation GuidesHow To...
Please feel free to look through the installation guides below for advice. Should you require further help, give us a call and we’ll try our best to answer your questions.
- Lay Paving
- Laying Porcelain Paving
- Lay Artificial Grass
- Lay Block Paving
- Lay Permeable Block Paving
- Lay Walling Blocks
- Installing Fencing Panels
- Installing Trellis
- Installing Timber Gates
- Building a Pergola
- Saige Composite Decking Hollow Boards
Take your time to research the different types of paving slabs and estimate quantities and costs.
Allow 150mm below the damp course of your house then excavate approximately 200mm for the foundations, laying bed and slab thickness.
To prevent later movement of laid paving a good foundation is essential. 100mm deep of compacted scalpings (crushed limestone, pink in colour) or a lean concrete mix of ballast and cement mixed 6 parts ballast to 1 of cement is ideal.
Ensure a slight fall when laying to take surface water away from any buildings. We recommend laying paving on a full bed of mortar, mixed 6 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement at a damp and workable condition without being overly wet and runny. Push the slab down by hand to roughly the level required then gently tap into place using a rubber mallet ensuring the paving is level using a spirit level. Allow a gap of 10-15mm or whatever the manufacturer suggests for the type of paving you are using between each slab. Do not walk on the paving until the mortar has set.
Some slabs can be butted together and don’t require pointing. If they do, once the slabs are laid pointing ties the whole area together. The joints should be filled with a damp 3 to 1 mortar mix which should be trowelled between the slabs and firmed in. Take care not to stain the slabs when doing this. Smooth off using a pointing tool (a piece of firm hose would do). Alternatively use a jointing compound.
At the planning stage try and keep cutting to a minimum. Should you need to cut slabs powered disc cutters are available from local hire shops. Make sure you follow correct safety procedures and obtain instructions as these are potentially dangerous machines.
Please follow the link below for Bradstone’s instructions on how to lay porcelain paving.
Installing on a hard (bound) surface such as concrete, tarmac, macadam, asphalt
- Ensure surface is clean and free from debris
- A slight fall of 1:200 to assist drainage is preferred, otherwise a few drainage holes in the concrete are recommended
- If laying on top of paving slabs or decking it is recommended that an underlay is used to prevent the pattern of the slabs/decking from showing on the surface of the grass.
- Spot glue or lay loose and fix around the perimeter.
- For a wooden base it is best to staple.
Installing on unbound surfaces
Well compacted unbound aggregate bases are ideal and if laying an artificial lawn from scratch this is highly recommended, but any unbound surface that drains and is stable and fairly level is satisfactory.
- Remove soil to a depth of 100mm
- Compact and level the ground with a compactor plate or roller
- Option of fixing down weed membrane
- Lay sub-base, such as scalpings to a depth of 25-75mm, level and compact with a plate compactor or roller. If you choose a timber fixing for the edge of the grass, fit using tantalised timber and fixing spikes
- Add a thin layer of fine aggregate (such as sharp sand) over the sub base and compact again
- Roll out the grass over the base and ensure the directional pile runs the same way if there are multiple pieces. Trim to size with a sharp knife and secure any joins
If you are trying to keep the cost down you can just compact existing soil and cover with a thin layer of compacted fine aggregate (sharp sand). However you must remove the existing lawn or unevenness will soon become an issue.
a). Sand filled grasses should be spread over the base and filled with the kiln dried sand and brushed in. The weight of the sand holds the carpet in position.
b). Products not requiring sand infill are fitted under tension and are fixed around the edgings by either;
- Butting up against an existing wall or kerb
- Fixing to a tanalised timber edge board
- Placing the edge of the grass under paving stones
- Burying the grass edge under adjacent natural turf
Making joins in larger installations
All cuts should be made with a sharp knife. Joins are made by sticking the underside of the artificial grass to a special seaming tape with the recommended adhesive. Adjacent panels of grass should be laid together ensuring straight cut edges are butted close together. All of the grasses have a directional pile so make sure that all panels are running in the same direction. The edges should then be folded back and the seaming tape laid, shiny side down, centrally along the joint. Apply beads of adhesive to the tape and spread out to create a solid think line about 10mm wide. The carpets can then be folded back down and pressed into the adhesive.
Remove any debris, particularly leaves and pet droppings, otherwise they will compost into the surface and allow moss to grow. Sweep or in dry conditions it can be vacuumed with a domestic appliance or leaf blower. Do not vacuum sand filled grasses! If moss does form treat with a moss killer and sweep away. For best results use a stiff brush. Remove any weeds by hand or spot spray with weed-killer.
Bradstone Advice on Laying Block Paving
STEP 1 Design:
You will need to draw up a design that suits your own requirements.
- Are you replacing or extending your existing driveway?
- Are you completely landscaping the front of your house to make it low maintenance?. Once these decisions have been made, you can decide on the type of block you wish to use and the colour.
Colour is important because you do not want it to clash with the house bricks.
STEP 2 Excavation:
Depending on the size of the job, you may want to use a mini excavator, or hire a JCB to excavate the existing driveway, as this will save you time and a lot of backbreaking work.
- Mark out the area that needs to be excavated.
- Dig out the area to the desired level, (which depends on your existing surfaces) while making sure that your proposed finished level is 150mm below the damp proof course in the brick of any adjoining buildings.
- If the excavated area appears to be flat, it will be necessary to create a slight slope to aid the dispersion of standing water. This should be constructed with 1:40 fall across the width of the drive, and a 1:80 fall along the length.
STEP 3 Edge restraints:
- Using a concrete mixer, mix 1 part cement and 6 parts ballast to create the concrete foundation, which should be 100mm thick in depth.
- The kerb unit or edge restraint will sit on top of this at the required level. This should be done using a string line and spirit level.
- Mortar the kerb units or edge restraints to the foundation using a trowel and rubber mallet.
- Once the kerbs are in position, haunch the back of the units so that the concrete reaches half way up the rear of the kerb.
STEP 4 Subbase:
- Lay the MOT Type 1 Roadstone or scalpings inside of the edge restraints and rake to the desired level in layers of 50mm.
- Level and compact using a vibrating plate.
The roadstone should be at least 100mm thick after compaction. The vibrating plate should be passed over the area at least 7 times ensuring it’s thoroughly compacted.
STEP 5 Screeding:
Once this has been done, a layer of slightly damp sharp sand, to the depth of 50mm, needs to be applied and compacted with the vibrating plate.
- A second layer of sharp sand to a level of 20mm then needs to be applied on top of this. Using the string lines, screeding rails and straight edge, this second layer of sharp sand needs to be levelled to the correct falls.
STEP 6 Paving installation:
- Always begin laying block paving from the bottom of a slope, preferably starting from a right angle or a straight edge. Place the blocks on top of the laying course ensuring blocks are around 45mm above the desired finished level.
Continue with your desired pattern while making sure that you are using blocks from between 35 packs at once to minimise any colour banding. When the full blocks are laid, you will need to cut an amount of blocks to fill the smaller gaps. This can be done by using either the block splitter or the diamond disc saw. You should avoid making a cut block less than a third of its original size.
STEP 7 Finishing touches:
Once all of the blocks have been laid, sweep the drive thoroughly to make sure that there is no debris left on the blocks. Then apply kiln dried sand and sweep across the whole of the drive, making sure that this sand falls down between the joints of the blocks. After doing this, the drive needs compacting with the vibrating plate. You will then need to sweep more kiln dried sand over the drive and compact again. Keep doing this until all of the joints are full of sand.
Bradstone Advice for laying permeable block paving:
Concrete block permeable paving differs from conventional block paving as it allows rainwater to filter through gaps between the blocks into a stone sub base below where there is enough space to store the water for a short time. It can then either soak into the ground or into drains to collect the water for reuse.
When assessing the design of a permeable paved driveway considerations should be given to levels, soil permeability and soil strength.
Infilta block paving is laid in a similar way to normal block paving
- Conventional MOT Type 1 or scalpings is not used for the sub base as it is not free draining, the Bradstone 20mm open graded Drainage Aggregate is used.
- It is best to prevent vehicles running on the sub base during construction if possible, as they will cause rutting in the loose surface.
- Once the blocks are laid it is restrained in the conventional way with a kerb or edging and provides more than adequate support to traffic.
- In free draining applications, a suitable geotextile should be placed at formation level (overlapping joints by 300mm), below the drainage aggregate subbase.
- Where the subbase is designed to hold water an impermeable membrane lining should be used.
STEP 1: The depth of the subbase will be governed by the strength and type of the underlying ground. Typically you will need to be around 200mm deep on soils of good strength and 500mm in areas of poor soil strength.
STEP 2: The laying course uses Bradstone Bedding Aggregate, a 6mm angular, open graded material. Unlike normal bedding sand, it is free draining and therefore it does not require any control on moisture content.
- The laying course should be 50mm thick, rather than 30mm for conventional paving and it is not compacted before the blocks are laid.
- Once laid, and prior to jointing, a light pass over with a whacker plate with a rubber mat is required.
STEP 3: Bradstone Infilta blocks have a nominal joint width of 5mm which is greater than normal block paving
STEP 4: Bradstone 3mm Jointing Aggregate should be used for joint filling. Brush in and after ensuring there is not loose aggregate on the surface that could mark the blocks, another pass with the whacker is required.
- Finally, brush in more aggregate to fill voids as required.
- The preparation and levelling of the bedding surface is critical as an aggregate bedding layer will not be compacted as with conventional block paving.
- The above guidance applies to driveways for domestic car traffic only.
- The laying of permeable surfaces using Bradstone Infilta block paving should follow the guidance in BS7533 Part 3.
- Bradstone recommend that permeable paved driveways should only be laid by trained, competent installers.
Bradstone Advice for laying walling blocks:
All walls, whatever the height, need to be built on a firm foundation. This might be an existing concrete base or for a ‘dwarf’ wall (a wall less than 600mm high) on top of an existing paved area.
Important: If you plan to build a retaining wall higher than 600mm or for any wall over 900mm, we recommend that you use an experienced professional.
STEP 1: Digging out the foundation
Mark out the line and position of the wall and then dig out for the foundations.
For dwarf walls, the foundation will need to be 150mm thick and wide enough for the walling blocks and an additional 100mm spread either side.
The finished foundation should be at least 50mm below ground level.
STEP 2: Laying the foundation
Lay level concrete foundations using 6 parts all in ballast to 1 part cement.
Mix the ballast and cement and then add water. You need a fairly wet, pourable concrete so that it flows into the trench footing and is easy to level out.
Simply pour the concrete into the trench, spread out and then tamp down with a length of timber to expel any air pockets that might have formed. This creates a rough, rugged finish that will be an ideal base for the mortar.
Use a long spirit level to ensure the concrete is flat with no slope or fall in any direction.
Leave the concrete over night to give it chance to harden before you move to step 3.
STEP 3: Setting the string level
Start by dry laying the first course of blocks out to check where they will sit on the footing and whether you will need to cut any blocks to fit.
Then move the blocks out of the way and set up a taut string line. This acts as a guide to both the alignment and level of the first course of walling blocks.
Set the height so that it is level with the top of the blocks and make sure you use a spirit level to check it is flat with no fall or slope.
STEP 4: Preparing the mortar
For wall building you need a brick laying mortar of 3 to 1 mix. That’s 3 parts building sand to 1 part cement.
Mix together with a little plasticizer to make the mix more workable. Add just enough water to make a smooth and pliable mortar that is easy to spread.
It needs to be stiff enough to support the weight of the walling block, but soft enough to allow you to work with it and settle the blocks onto it.
STEP 5: Building the first course
First make the mortar bed. Place a line of mortar onto the concrete footing and ripple it with the point of the trowel to make sure there is enough ‘give’ when you set the block onto it.
Put enough mortar on the footing for the block you are laying with a little extra to ensure the end of the block is fully supported.
Place the block into position and using the rubber mallet gently tap the block down to the correct height set by the string line.
Although the string line should be a good guide, double check your levels using the spirit level. Then it’s on to the next block.
The mortar should slightly exude from between the joints and any surplus should be cut off with the trowel.
Remember to fill the vertical joints by applying mortar to one end of the block before positioning it adjacent to the previously laid block.
Keep checking your levels – you can never do this too often!
STEP 6: Building the wall
Stagger the blocks on the next course to ensure the vertical joints don’t coincide.
Where there are gaps of less than a block’s width, you will need to cut a block. We recommend you use a club hammer and a sharp bolster chisel.
Ensure you have marked the block carefully before you cut it.
STEP 7: Pointing the joints
Use a pointing trowel to smooth off the mortar that has been squeezed out as well as filling the gaps
STEP 8: Adding coping stones
If you’re adding coping stones to the top of the wall, then plan the joints you need to avoid vertical joints coinciding, allowing a 10mm joint gap between each coping stone.
If you’re using flat coping stones, ensure there is an overhang both along the long face and the short end.
Then lay following the same steps as the walling blocks.
Remember to keep using your spirit level to check the levels and add a slight fall towards the front edge so that the rainwater will run off.
That’s job done – as a quick reminder follow our 3 tips for success to create a dwarf wall.
- Make sure the foundations are level and solid
- Check your levels frequently with your spirit level
- Never build more than 6 courses at a time.