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How To Lay A Block Paving Driveway

Are you about to work on a project that will involve using mortar? If so, you’re in the right place. Mortar is normally used for binding building bricks or blocks to form walls or structures, fill and seal gaps in brickwork, and sometimes to add decorative colour to masonry walls.

If you need to learn how to mix mortar to complete your project, we’re here to help.

What Is Mortar?

Mortar is a mixture of sand and cement and once mixed, is a workable paste which hardens to bind bricks and building blocks such as stones and concrete masonry.

It is typically known to be thicker than other binding materials. This makes mortar a great option for building outdoor structures like walls, barbecues and structures made of bricks and blocks.

There are two ways that you can mix mortar; either with a cement mixer or by hand. Read on to find out what you will need for your project and how to mix mortar (using both methods) ready to use in your project.

What You Will Need

  • A trowel
  • A pointing tool
  • String line and pegs
  • A rake
  • A shovel/spade
  • A rubber mallet
  • A wheelbarrow
  • A cement mixer
  • A compacting tool
  • A block splitter
  • A broom
  • Block paving stones
  • A sub-base aggregate & building sand
  • Cement mix & ballast

How To Lay A Block Paving Driveway

The secret behind laying a block paving driveway is preparation. Before starting, you’ll need to prepare by getting the right equipment and materials, planning the design of your driveway, and the excavation. Follow our steps and you’ll be able to lay your own block paving driveway – without paying a hefty bill!

Here’s how to lay a block paving driveway:

  1. Once you’ve decided on a design to suit your requirements, you’ll need to think about the colour of your paving. Top tip – make sure it doesn’t clash with your house bricks by using our Paver Picker tool below!
  2. Next, it’s time for excavation. Using your spade, dig out at least 150mm below the damp proof course, with a gradual slope (this helps with the dispersion of any surface water). Make sure to create the slope with a ratio of 1:40 fall across the width of your driveway, and a 1:80 fall over the length.
  3. Using your cement mixer, combine 1 part cement and 6 parts ballast for the concrete foundation – this should be 100mm thick. Your edge restraint (or kerb) should sit on top of this, using a string line.
  4. Next, with your rubber mallet and trowel, gently hammer the kerbs in position. Once this is done, haunch the kerbs by adding concrete half way up – on the rear side.
  5. For the primary layer of support for your paving, you’ll need to add at least 100mm of sub-base aggregate – just make sure to spread evenly within the edges of your drive. To ensure a completely even base, add roughly 50mm each time and then firm using your compacting tool. Pass over the area between 6 and 7 times for so that your blocks will remain in good condition over the years.
  6. Once all of your drive has been compacted, you’ll need to add a layer of building sand and then use your compacting tool. Cover your drive with a second layer so that the sand reaches the line of the final paving.
  7. Now it’s time to add the blocks. It’s best to start at the bottom of the slope and work your way up. We’d always recommend starting from a straight line or a right angle for the best quality finish. Lay the blocks approximately 10–15mm above your desired finish level – to avoid a build up of the same colour, use blocks from 3-5 different packs at the same time.
  8. When you’re laying block paving, you’ll encounter blocks that are too big for the space. This is when you’ll need your block splitter to cut the blocks to size – just try not to cut a block smaller than a third of its original size.
  9. You’re nearly there now! Once you’re finished laying, sweep the driveway to remove any leftover debris that could be on the blocks. Next, apply a layer of building sand so that it falls down in between the empty spaces, then compact again and repeat this process until all the joints are full of sand.
     

Cement Mixer Method

1. For larger DIY jobs, you may want to consider using a cement mixer. When using a cement mixer ensure it is on a firm, level ground and have someone around to help you with loading and unloading.

2. Using a shovel, load half of the sand, half the water, then half of the mortar cement into the mixer, avoiding build-up of any dry material on the blades of the drum.

3.  Add more water is necessary and mix for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture is uniform in consistency and colour.

Hand Mixing Method

1. Hand mixing can be hard work, but satisfying if the correct procedure is followed. Always work on a hard, smooth surface, for example a sheet of plywood or in a wheelbarrow.

2. Using a shovel, add half of the sand and half of the mortar cement onto the flat surface or into the wheelbarrow and turn over the sand and cement until they are mixed together well.

3. Form a crater in the middle of the pile and add some water, then bring the dry material to the water and mix until the mixture is uniform in consistency and colour. Add more water to the mixture if necessary.

4. When you’ve finished using the mortar for your project, always clean your tools immediately and leave the area tidy.

 

FAQ's

How Many Bags Or Tubs Of Blue Circle Mortar Will I Need?
You can calculate the amount of Postcrete you will need by using this handy online calculator.

Where Can I Find More Information About Mortar?
For more information about the Mortar product itself, take a look at this detailed product data sheet.

Where Can I Find More Information Regarding Health & Safety When Using Mortar?
Before using this product, please refer to the product packaging for all health and safety information. You can also take a look at this detailed material safety data download.

Can I Recycle The Packaging?
Yes, all Blue Circle plastic packaging is made of recyclable material so is suitable for recycling and should be disposed of in the correct manner.

We hope you found this guide useful in learning how to mix mortar ready for your building projects. Hopefully you are now feeling confident enough to complete your project to a professional finish. For a video breakdown of the process, you can head to this step-by-step video demonstration.

If you found this post useful, please tag us in any social media posts of your projects using @BradfordsBuild on Facebook, @bradfords_building_supplies on Instagram, or bradfords-building-supplies-ltd on LinkedIn, so that we can see the finished result.

If you need further help or advice, please contact us or visit your local branch to speak to one of our experts.