In this article, we are going to talk about paving stones and the reason why paving stones are an ideal choice. If you are someone who is in the construction business then you might even be able to lay the paving stones bases on this article. However, if you don’t want to do the exhausting work on laying down tons of paving stone then you can always outsource the work to a professional contractor. After all, only a professional knows how to perform such skillful tasks with great precision.
Are you ready to learn the basics of paving stones? So without getting stopped blocked by a curb, lets ram towards the learning the basics of paving stones. In order to understand paving stones, you should first understand the following terms; Ramming, A curb, Sanding, and Cladding.
As much as we would love to rush to the store waving bundles of money, the first step is the planning phase. Planning consists of looking for the right paving materials according to the planned site of constructions. Color, size and thickness of material are important factors to consider.
Paving Stone Color
The goal is to find a color that blends nicely into the surroundings and the environment. That however doesn’t mean it has to be the same as the wall of the house next to it. With a unique and clever design, both the house and the paved surface can be highlighted. I recommend sheets with a patterned surface as they hide dirt on them much better than homogeneous, single-color sheets. If for some reason the pavement is damaged, the damaged parts can be removed effectively if the pavement has a patterned surface.
I recommend this trick for cladding. It has been seen that women usually prefer solid and light beige sheets, and that’s the hardest thing to keep clean. I think that a nice pavement that is dirty look worse than a relatively less nice pavement that is super clean. But it’s an individual decision (it would be if the women didn’t always choose everything -> I don’t want it to seem like there is no equality, but there is no equality, none, Vica. When choosing a color, you should also consider the curb (even a stair element).
Paving Stone Dimensions
The size of a paving stone determines several things: if you have little space, you may want to use a smaller sized paving stone. The same is true in the opposite ca
se: for relatively larger areas, large stone is recommended. There are certain tricks to paving stones which you can perform based on the size of the stone you choose.
If you choose a small paving stone, you will have plenty of joints in which weeds, ants and other chunks will rejoice happily. Of course, this will also be the case for larger types of paving stones, but with larger paving stones, there are fewer joints and less suction.
Another trick that results in reduction of both material and labor costs is that in case of a certain size (e.g. the width of the pavement), it is worth choosing a space stone of a size that fits so that we get a nice result even with a few cuts.
Each manufacturer has its own dimensions, which, of course, is constantly being changed so that the paving stones that were laid a few years ago cannot be accidentally replaced, extended or repaired. I am really not in favor of this. We can protect against this clutter by adding an extra 1-2 m2 of paving stone so that we have something to reach for later in case of trouble. This will create a Win-Win situation for everyone.
The women fall for the thickness, and in this case the boys too: the thicker a paving stone, the more it can be loaded. Usually manufacturers produce a range of 3 different paving stones based on their thickness:
- 4 cm thick: ideal for pedestrian traffic, so don’t drive around
- 6 cm thick: paving stone thickness designed for passenger car traffic
- 8 cm thick: this one is for the heavy traffic like trucks
And, of course, there are other paving stones as well like the 4.5 cm and 3.5 cm thick horrors that the manufacturers invented so that we couldn’t replace or repair the surface later. These idiot-thick stones were invented by someone who had no idea what he/she was talking about!
Paving Stone Layer Order
Once we have the color, size, and thickness, it’s worth outlining the layer order of the paving stone. This is important so that during construction we can analyze and make decisions about how much to buy, how long to go down during the excavation, how much concrete we will need, etc.
The paving layer order also helps to adjust the connection levels nicely: e.g. in the case of a staircase which has been given a smooth ceramic covering and the last degree ends in a paving stone. Here, the level of concretes will be determined by the paving layer order. If we spoil this, we will have stairs of different sizes that our guests will fall on like a frontline soldier.
What I would like to highlight is that I can’t imagine a paving stone layer order without a concrete bed! Some people just put compacted rubble and geotextiles under the paving stone, but that someone is not me. No matter how little traffic and load we plan, concrete should be placed under the paving stone. Why? Well, there are several reasons to support that:
- The concrete base layer is not prone to subsidence, while the compacted bedding may sink and consolidate over time.
- The concrete base layer is more difficult to weed up. Weeds emerge happily from the compacted layers even in spite of the geotextile spread.
- The concrete base layer is homogeneous, load-bearing everywhere. The compacted gravel bed is hard in places (where it was rammed by Jóska) and soft in places (where it was not rammed by Jóska).
So, contrary to the manufacturers’ recommendation, I think it is imperative to have a concrete layer under the sand in all paving stone layers. If we do not do so, weeds will appear in a few years, which must be constantly eradicated. And due to the weeds, after sometime the paving stone will also be bumpy depending on where the water stops and seeps down and where it has been poorly compacted. This concrete can also be “unreinforced CKT” (C6 or C8 concrete), so no need to build an atomic bunker. You can read more about concretes in this article.
Paving Stone Layer Order In Practice
I think a good paving stone layer looks like this:
- Soil compacted with rammer and peeled from organic materials such as grass and weeds (here you will find an article about digging, with prices)
- 15-20 cm thick sandy gravel, or gravel or fine-grained paved concrete. The point is not the cost, but the fact that water cannot seep into the concrete from below. Oh and it distributes the load nicely as well. The point is to be granular and nicely compacted with a plate vibrator.
- 8-12 cm thick concrete layer. It can be CKT, it can be reinforced concrete or anything that is concrete. Even compaction (plate vibration does effect it) is not usually that wet. The fact that adjusting the levels well can help you afford errors of up to 1-2 cm. This is because the sand layer is already coming for this.
- 2 cm thick layer of sand. The layer can be 3 cm in certain places and 0.5 cm in other places. This will be the layer that helps in setting the level exactly where we want it. This has to be done nicely: You can just pull it off gently without compressing. I tend to sprinkle cement powder on this layer, but this is just how I like to do it, it is not mandatory. It is important that the concrete does not seep or hang out of the sand anywhere, because that will result in a weak structure and tiles will start to sway.
- The paving stone can be laid on the sand bed! These sheets can be 4 cm (pedestrian), 6 cm (car) and 8 cm (truck) thick as previously stated.
I think this is a timeless, tile layer order. It is difficult to weed because there is no organic matter in it, it does not sink because there is concrete underneath, and it is not that expensive. During my construction projects, I worked alongside many companies that were very skilled in laying paving stones and one thing I found out about them is that they also used this same tile layer order.
Paving At Home
The steps for paving stone are same even if we do it on our own or if we outsource the work to a professional company. It is simple, all you have to do it visit the store, buy the pebbles and curbs and then get to laying down the paving stone.
- The first step is the setting: The cornerstones are weighed and pressed for concrete stakes.
- Digging: If you have a machine that can help you with the digging process then well and good, However if you don’t have a machine then you can use a shovel or even your bare hands. You have to dig 0.30 cm from the final level of the paving stone. You can pound and ram the entire terrain with a frog rammer.
- Dig Further: To support the paving stone on the side, a curbstone must also be concreted. This is usually done in a concrete beam, with lateral support. Trust me, it is not that difficult. Describing it, is harder than doing it. You have to set up a parameter and put the concrete in the desired and already set parameter. So cover it with concrete and then put the garden edging in it. The curb should be around 10 to 12 cm deep in the concrete. To construct a smooth and leveled curbstone, the top of the curb should coincide with the planned top of the paving stone. To maximize efficiency, the twine must show a final level and direction (setting). This is one of the most important steps in paving the way!
- Sprinkle and let the concrete set for 1 to 2 days
- Gravel: Spread the gravel nicely in 10 cm layers by vibrating the plate. Compression is not to be missed in any way.
- Order Concrete: If we are concreting to a thickness of 12 cm, then C6 or C8 CKT concrete will do just fine. Spread this concrete with a rake and align it with a slat. It can be compressed with a plate vibrator. This way you will know the quality of the concrete even if you are paving at home.
- It’s Sand Time: An average of 2 cm of 0-4 cm sand must be spread on our concrete surface and pulled off nicely with a scraper strip for an amazing finish. Concrete must not hang out of the sand. If it does stick out, expect a rocking stone that will break over time.
- After sprinkling sand over the concrete, I’m used to something no one does, I spray cement powder on top of the sand. For some reason, it just reassures me that the stones will not move or break, but in reality I don’t think there are many practical benefits.
Now that we have done most of the preparation part, it is now time to move ahead to a more important and spectacular process.
Tightly fit the paving stone according to the installation drawing provided by the manufacturer. Try to place it in a way that the tops are flat so that you only have to cut a small amount of stone.
Pay attention to the directions of the joints. They shouldn’t be irregular.
Let’s sweep the joints. Sweeping the joints may sound simple, but it’s not. It should be done in several waves and when we are done we will pour water on it. The way water pours on the joints can tell us if we are done or should be work on the joints a little more. You can also find a special sweeping sand in the market that is colorful, lime-free and weed repellent. The best thing about it is that it is not that expensive. This smooth sand is in fashion and can be used to improve your house’s landscape.
The stones must be compacted with a plate vibrator. A rubber sheet should be placed on the bottom of the plate vibrator to prevent the surface from collapsing.
With these steps, paving the groundwork becomes child’s play, and even a new born can do the job 😀<—Well not really… We look forward to hard, tedious work, which fortunately promises great benefits.
Price of Paving
We can also be aware of the prices through the budget of 1 m2 of paving:
If the paving is made at home, material fees and machine costs must be taken into account. If paving will be the responsibility of a masonry brigade, we will also have to consider labor cost, material fees and machine costs.
- Machine Digging: approx. 15-17 $ / m2 -> 0.3 mx 1 m2 = 0.3, m3 of earth must be excavated and moved.
- For 2-sided support concrete (CKT): approx. 8 $ -> 0.3 m x 0.3 m x 1 m x 2 db = 0.18 m3 of concrete.
- Curb on the 2 sides: 6 $ -> 2 pieces of 1m curb
- Gravel bed: approx. 3 $ -> 0.15 x 1 m2 = 0.15 m3 of gravel must be compacted with a plate vibrator.
- Concreting under sand: approx. 5 $ -> 0.1 m x 1 m2 = 0.1 m3 of concrete must be spread and leveled.
- Sand cover: approx. 1 $ -> 0.02 m x 1 m2 = 0.02 m3 of sand must be smoothened beautifully.
- Paving: approx. 17 $ -> here I was counting on a medium category paving stone, this number may roughly differ from the needs.
Total: If the paving is made at home, the material cost would come out to be 57 $ per square meter. This amount is also followed by transportation cost, packaging cost and other similar charges. They represent a 10% price increase in the previously stated amount so the final material cost will be HUF 63$ / m2. Bam!
Fortunately, this high material cost is not accompanied by a similarly high wage, but it will not be cheap either: We can ideally calculate it according to 25-35 $ / m2.
A 50 m2 paving stone, together with material and labor, will be around 4.500 $ if we entrust the matter to professionals. If the paving is made at home, the investment will stop around 3000 $. Our task is to follow the steps of paving and skillfully design the surface, paying particular attention to the layer order of paving.
Paving At Home, Some Important Tips You Should Know
Once you’ve put your head in making paving at home, here are some tips to further improve your masonry performance:
- If we have to put curbs on both sides, calculate the theoretical width. For example, in the case of 20 cm x 20 cm wide paving stones, we can create a 40, 60, 80, 100 cm wide pavement + the thickness of the curbstones (they usually move around 5 cm). If we want a sidewalk that is approximately 100 cm wide, then the inner distance of the curbstones would be 5 x 20 cm. You should add 1-1 cm to it, so that our stones can actually fit in. Thus, the inner distance will be 102 cm. Then you have to add the thickness of the edges to it, which is 2x 5 cm = 10 cm. So together the width of our sidewalk will be 112 cm. This is exactly what professionals do, not just those who do the paving at home.
- The paving stone is usually cut using a stone cutting disc. Use a 230 mm stone cutting disc. Discs that look like metal cutting discs prove to be a bad choice for cutting paving stone. A normal disc is made of steel and has a diamond cutting surface. So try to get high quality stone cutter that is ideal for the said job.
- Always take 1-2 m2 more space than you need. This will help you in case of any damage. You can also easily and effectively perform replacement and repairs if you have ample space.
- Water can trickle very easily on the paving surface. Use slopes so that the house is not soaked and water is not parked under the paving stone otherwise it will weaken the foundation on the paving stone is laid upon.
- You have to grout several times in a row to really plug the holes in and between the paving stone.
- There are tabs on the sides of some types of paving stones (a kind of groove) that work better together and also make the joints uniform.
- If you are not sure about your business, then it’s better to hire a professional to do the job.
Paving Stone Manufacturers in Hungary
There are so many paving stone manufacturers out there that you can block the Danube with them, but I’ll just list a few I feel offers great value. I’ll drop a link to their website as well:
Semmelrock: It is one of the largest companies among paving stone manufacturers. The company is characterized by a large selection and a relatively high price. They offer good quality against their high price. Link
Abeton-Viacolor: This company was formed from a merger of two paving stone manufacturers. They look less fluffy, but they offer good quality. Link
Leier Paving Stone: This company offers an amazing collection of small paving stones. They offer good quality. I put them at the same level as Semmelrock. Link
Barabás Paving Stone: A paving stone manufacturing company owned by a Hungarian family business. Their quality is medium. I recommend them for value. Link
Finally, here’s a free video on how the big players and professionals do it: