How to Lay Paving Stones – Step By Step Guide

How to Lay Paving Stones – Step By Step Guide

Mar 28, 2023

Every sizable property owner necessitates a sturdy but beautiful driveway right from the gate to the garage door. A garden around the property must have sumptuous walkways to move across and reach to the swimming pool or patio places in between. Small to mid-sized properties looking for a decent patio to arrange a Quebec party.

These all installations, patio, path, pool deck, and driveway need careful planning with the help of experts or experienced professionals. If you are capable of doing it yourself, here is a step-by-step guide to lay paving stones for multiple constructions to beautify your property with the required synergy.

Gather the Tools

You have to gather the following tools:

  • Masonry saw
  • Splitter
  • Vibrating plate compactor
  • Shovels
  • Brooms
  • Grading rake
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wooden 2×4 and 1-inch pipe
  • Stakes and string
  • Hand level
  • 10”– 12” Nails or spikes

Planning and Layout

Any construction needs engineering planning, and an exterior designer can help you to create accurate drawings on engineering drawing papers with the required measurements to work. Contractors or masons always demand such precise drawings before starting the work.

planning n layout

If possible take the help of any exterior designer or landscape architect to obtain professional drawings. If it is not possible, measure the entire landscape where you want to lay paving stones and fix everything on the drawing paper.

Before starting anything, run an inquiry in the local utility body to assure what is laid beneath the ground so you cannot hit a cable or supply/drainage pipe accidentally. If anything buried, request them officially to remove it at the safe places.

Find Suppliers for Sand, Base, and Stone Material in Your Vicinity & Contact It

Getting required raw materials like

  • Number one -stones for paving.
  • Number two – base material to lay the foundation on the land to give stability and strength.
  • Number three-the sand to fill it in between the layers.

Cement and concrete to fix the construction, and edge restraint to stabilize the stones in construction is mandatory before doing anything on the project.

Cost-effective price required grades of quality material, and on-time delivery is a concern while finding the suppliers. The best thing is to get a reliable one in your vicinity. Go online and run a search, you will get everything about the suppliers like products, price, services, location, and reviews to check their credibility.

If you live in the USA, I will recommend “World of Stones” in Maryland with several branches as the most dependable supplier for stone craft and a variety of paving and other materials at competitive market rates and with the highest quality.

Choose the Paving Stones

Once you find the right supplier like WOS consider a range of natural paving stones, such as Sandstone, Limestone, Flagstone, Bluestone, Slate Stone, Granite Stone, Cobblestone, Fieldstone, round stepping stones, and stone bricks. I prefer a blog on natural stone patio pavers to read more, go through it.

Leverage the free consulting services provided by the supplier you have selected to make the right decision for your paving stone needs.

Calculating the Amount of Paving Stone Needed

It is a simple thing if you are familiar with the term square foot. You can measure the length and width of the area to cover in paving in a unit of the foot. Now, multiply length with a width (LXW) and get the total square footage of your construction area.

Now, obtain from your stone supplier the paver coverage rate, which is depending on the size and shape of paving stones. Take care to buy additional material up to 5-10% to fit the curves and odd spaces.

Mark the Area for Stone Paving

If your area is in regular shape, it is easy to mark it by using rope, spikes, and lime/chalk powder. If it is in an irregular shape, you need to learn some trigonometry and calculate angles, curves, and sides applying engineering knowledge. For a big size project, the help of a civil engineer or experienced contractor is mandatory.

Determine Slop

Keep in mind that your exterior paving needs adequate drainage. A slope of 1/8” to ¼” is recommended in most conditions if it is a path/walkway or driveway, part the slop into two directions from the centerline. For the patio, the one-sided slope is enough.

Now, how will you fix the slope in the field?

  • Take a stake and fix it at the high point of your imagined slope.
  • Mark the correct required height (Suppose it is 12”) on the stake and tie a string around the stake at the marked point.
  • Now take another stake and fix it at a linear point on the boundary exactly opposite to the earlier stake.
  • Calculate the slope (1/8” to ¼”) and lower down the mark on the stake at the boundary. So, it will 11” now if the distance is 8’ to 4’ accordingly.
  • Now tie the knot on that lower mark, and you will get the linear
  • Similarly, create string cross-lines to cover left areas and assure the correctness of slope.
  • Repeat the process at a regular distance so you can cover the majority of stones beneath the ropes/strings.
  • You have stakes with correct marks fixed on the surface of the land. Now, it is time to remove the strings/ropes to open up the area for digging the ground for installation.

Excavation of Installation Area

Now, how will you count the depth?

  • For foot traffic count 4” to 6” depth of base material
  • For vehicles, traffic counts up to 12” depth of base depending on the sub-base material. For soft clay land, it is more profound than harder soil.
  • Similarly, cold-weather regions demand a thicker
  • Count 1” to 1.5” sand bed on the top of the compact base
  • Add the thickness of the paving stones you have selected. You can ask your supplier. Generally, it is in a range of 2 3/8” to 3 1/8”
  • Now, take the sum of the thickness of all layers and excavate the same depth following the marks you have made on stacks. You must measure the depth from the marks to assure the slope you have defined.
  • Cover 6” to 12” space beyond boundaries for installation of edge restraints.
  • Edging will save materials and stones from scattering due to load/pressure.
  • Level the surface of the bottom soil once you achieve the desired depth to fill up the uneven Use the appropriate amount of water to wet the sub-soil and compact it with the compactor.

Installation Area

You will find an overall picture as mentioned in the picture above.

Select the Base Material

It must have stones with the following cumulative properties

  • Coarse
  • Crushed
  • Irregular Shapes
  • Irregular sharp edges
  • strong

These properties of crushed stones make the compacting process easy and load-bearing. You can add 3/4 minus gravel in the mixture and wet the entire material a little bit to attain high compaction.

Lay the Base Material

Spread the base material in a layer of 6” thickness across the entire excavation area. Use hand tamper for smaller regions or mechanical plate compactor for larger areas.

Add another layer and repeat the same process until to attain the desired depth throughout the excavated areas based on marks on the corresponding stacks.

Select & Install the Edge Restraints

Edge restrain holds the shape of the paving project is it a patio, path, or driveway. Edge restrain available in plastic, metal, non-corrosive wood, or pre-cast concrete.

  • Now, fix the edging using 10” to 12” nails into the ground and base materials and paving stones.
  • If your design is in odd shapes, you have to cut edge restraints accordingly.

Select the Sand

The sand quality is essential for paving stones. If sand particles are containing crushed rocks or any organic material, it may result in uneven seating of paver stones. After wetting and water percolation, organic matters whether swell or degrade and leave holes there.

Select ASTM C33 and CSA A23.1. Otherwise, ASTM C-144 and CSA 179 graded mason’s sand is an alternative.

Place Sand Bedding

  • Now, lay 1.5” thick sand layer, but never go beyond it. If you have to work in a vast space, divide the area into smaller fragments and use rake, pipes, and
  • You can apply a screed rail to level the concrete and sand. It will help you to make the surfaces even.
  • Pipes will help you to fragment the large spaces into smaller ones and fill the gaps beneath the pipes after removing them.

Cut Paving Stones According to Design

Sometimes paving stones come into irregular shapes and need mason cutters specially made for stone cutting to get desired shapes according to your design. Today high-end stone cutting machines are available in the market using water jets along with diamond embedded edged cutters.

Start Laying Paving Stones

Installation of paving stones on the sand layer is easy if you take enough care.

  • Never stand up your feet on a sand layer or walk on it. It will disturb the evenness of the layers and create a lot of problems.
  • Similarly, keep your foot away from the edges of stones and try to remain at the center to distribute your weight evenly on the stone.

Tamp Paving Stones

  • Place the first stone slab in position and use a rubber mallet to tap it down evenly.
  • Now, use the plate compactor to tamp the pavers into the sand.
  • Remember that it is essential to keep away direct contact of any mechanical compactor from surfaces of paving stones. Use wasted or empty gunny bags and layer on the top of the paving stones before placing any mechanical or even manual compactor.
  • Apply it thrice to press stones into the sand snugly.
  • Leave joint space of ½” between stone slabs to fill up with silica sands or polymeric sands.

Fill Sand into Joints

  • Some sand will come up during the compacting process and fill the gaps unevenly.
  • Use a brush and knife to press it and distribute it evenly within the gap.
  • Now, pour polymeric sand until you fill about half-full the gaps between the stones. It will keep paving stones from shifting as well as prevent the intrusion of dirt particles and weed seed to sprout. These are nasty things and can spoil external paving due to weathering.
  • For internal flooring, use mortar to fill the gaps completely.

Sealing the Paving Stones

Now, pour finer sand-like bagged silica over the paving stones and brush it manually or use a large broom to distribute evenly on larger areas and completely fill the joints. It will lock the pavers.

Afterward, spray a mild jet of water on the pavers and let them dry. Now, apply a suitable best sealant/sealing product on the pavers to give them durability and protection from weed growth.

Program Stone Paving Maintenance

Regular cleaning, sweeping, and power washing can save your paving stones from the degradation process. Re-sealing with high-quality sealant also grant durability in appearance and save stone color, texture, and shining from fading fast.


Wrapping it up-

If you think doing these all daunting for you or out of your capacity, contact the distributor of the “World of Stones” in your vicinity. It will help you to get the best paving stones, as well as indirect, helps to get the right team of engineers, contractors, and masons in your region to obtain the best out of your investment.



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