What Tools Do You Need To Lay Paving Slabs?

Paving Slabs

Paving slabs have a wide variety of uses. It is laid with city roads, squares, sidewalks around houses, shops and cafes. Usually, a large amount of material is spent on such territories. It is important that it is inexpensive compared to many other materials, and allows significant savings if you need to pave a large surface. But what is not worth saving on is styling.

Laying paving slabs is a process that requires certain knowledge and special tools. All the necessary tools can be divided into three groups: required, desirable, for instance custom concrete paver molds, and tools that are better for rent due to the high cost.

The first is a shovel. In most cases, a shovel is always available at home or in the garden. A shovel is needed to prepare the surface.

Mandatory tools include a trowel. It comes in handy to manage the laid tiles – raise them, align the position, replace the damaged tiles with a new one. Trowels come in various shapes and purposes, a tear-shaped trowel is suitable for laying tiles, one edge of which should be a narrow blade and the other curved.

A mallet is a hammer with a rubber working part, the handle can be wooden or metal. It is used for planting tiles on the ground, so the rubber must be elastic and soft.

You will also need a tape measure and a ruler. A metal profile up to 3 meters long is used as guides, but it is better not to use wooden guides. Together with the guides and concrete paver molds, a cord is used, which makes it possible to ensure the evenness of the edges of the tiles when laying it. A garden wheelbarrow is required to transport the tiles. The grinder is required to cut the material.

These are the basic tools you need for styling. The paving grab makes it easy to carry the tiles. The extractor is used to remove metal pegs.

How to make a base for concrete paver molds on soft ground?

The type of soil on the site determines which type of base to choose for laying paving slabs. As you can imagine, if the soil is soft, special requirements are imposed on the rigidity and strength of the base. If the laying is done on sand, then as a result of the load, both the paving slabs and all layers of the base will sag. Let’s find out how to determine that the soil is soft and how to lay paving slabs on it.

Soft soils are subdivided into loose (gravel, sandy) and cohesive (clay, loamy, peaty). They are more common than others in nature. They consist of three main parts: mineral particles, liquids and gases. The soft type of soil is characterized by a reduced bearing capacity. It will sell under the wheels of the car, resulting in a track. Ground support is one of the features that helps determine the type of soil. Therefore, it is enough to look around, inspect the paths where the laying will be done. If the path is at least 1 cm below the level of the adjacent territory, then it will be necessary to strengthen the base so that cars and trucks can drive on the paved surface. If the level of the path surface is 2-3 cm lower, then the reinforced base will allow you to move only on foot and in a car. For the movement of trucks, it will be necessary to lay on a concrete base with a reinforcing mesh. Accordingly, if the path sags by 3 cm or more, a concrete cushion will be needed to move a car on a paved surface.


So, if you have determined that the soil on the site is soft, you need to strengthen the base. To do this, carry out the following actions:

Geotextile is lined between the ground and the first layer
To strengthen the layer of crushed stone, a layer of sand is poured and rammed
The thickness of the crushed stone layer is increased
Pour concrete pad with mesh reinforcement

It makes it possible to better and more evenly distribute the pressure on the surface, to reduce the load on certain areas of the site. Before laying it, preparatory work is carried out: they make a dredging and thoroughly compact the resulting trench. The excavation is done with the expectation that the soil is soft and compacted to a great depth. Compared to hard soils, it will be necessary to double the number of compaction approaches. After that, geotextiles are laid along the trench. Then the first layer of rubble is poured, and then the foundation is created in the usual way.

Strengthening the base with sand is a less effective way than geotextiles. However, in the absence of the latter, you can resort to this method.

First, you need to excavate the soil, tamp it thoroughly, and then cover it with sand. This layer should be 10 cm thick.

The method of strengthening the base with rubble is as effective as geotextile. However, such work will take more effort. To use this method, excavation is carried out to a great depth, the difference is 15-20 cm. The bottom is also carefully compacted. First, a layer of crushed stone of a coarse fraction with a thickness of 15-20 cm is poured. It is compacted and the next day it is poured with water at the rate of 2 liters per square meter. This process is repeated the next day. At the end of the compaction work, the foundation is built as on solid ground.

Concrete paver molds with reinforcing mesh

The excavation must be done to a depth of 35-40 cm, the bottom must be tamped. Next, a sand layer with a thickness of about 5 cm is poured. A layer of crushed stone of the middle fraction with a thickness of 10 cm is poured on top. It is followed by crushed stone of the middle fraction, the layer should be 10 cm. The third layer of crushed stone is created with a thickness of 5-7 cm from the material of the fine fraction. It is very important to compact each layer well. Reinforcement (steel or fiberglass) is laid on it. It should be raised 5 centimeters above the surface. The next layer of reinforcement is raised above the previous one by 5 centimeters. The thickness of this layer depends on the purpose of this surface. If the movement of trucks is not expected on the site, it is enough to make a layer 15 cm thick.

Next, boards are placed on the lower grid – guides to determine the horizontalness of the base. The width of the guides depends on the layer thickness. Next, the curbs are installed. They rest against the bottom layer of reinforcement. The height of the curbs is determined at will: so that the curbs are flush with the paving slabs, add the thickness of all layers of the base.

Before proceeding to the stage of pouring concrete, it is necessary to check the horizontal alignment of the guides with a building level and correct it, if necessary. Next, concrete is poured, which is compacted using a construction vibrator. The concrete is leveled along the guides using a board 10 cm wide and 3 cm thick. Regardless of the size of the concrete pad on your site, it must be created in one working day. Otherwise, the strength of the base at the junction will suffer greatly and will drop dozens of times. After 28 days, a layer of sand 10 cm thick is poured onto the concrete, compacted and leveled properly. From above, paving slab elements are laid. Each of them is tapped with a rubber hammer, and the seams are covered with a cement-sand mixture.

So, all these actions are performed in order to thoroughly strengthen the base and evenly distribute the pressure on the surface. The last method of strengthening – on a concrete cushion using a reinforcing mesh – is the most burdensome, but the most reliable way to strengthen the base. Such a surface is guaranteed not to require repairs for the next 10 years.

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