Introduction

Great outdoors start with the right paving

 

Here's everything you need to know about pavers, all in one place!

 

The easy part is usually imagining what your backyard space could look like.

You might be imagining garden steps leading down to lush, green grass - a water feature by the back, and some beautiful retaining walls to round off your garden beds! 

Then comes the harder part.

To achieve this, it requires careful planning, knowing where to source the right materials, what types of materials you should be even sourcing, and how to lay it down. 

Perhaps you already have concrete paving laid down? Or you have a pool area that needs consideration?

While our website answers all these questions for you, we think that what you might be looking for is all that information in one place. Simply click the sections above to find the information most relevant to you!

 

Paving Design Ideas

Need inspiration for your paving?

Knowing what type of design or pattern you'd like for your paving is just as important as knowing what type of pavers is best for your situation. And while we'll touch on that a little later on - let's just discuss some paving ideas for your outdoor project.

It's important to understand what type of colours and patterns you'll be going for, as this will make it easier for you or potentially even your professional tradie to source and supply the right amount. This will ultimately save everybody time, effort and the cost of buying too many pavers, as well as having to dispose of it.

General pattern & design ideas:

  • The use of different size pavers
  • The use of different coloured pavers
  • The positioning of your pavers  (herringbone, stretcher bond, basket weave, diagonals)
  • Consider framing your pavers (contrasting header)
  • You can create a 'centrepiece' for your paving

The gallery below showcases some of the ways that you can position, frame and create a colour way for your paving designs. We have so many more great ideas that you can find in our knowledge centre, right here.

Different Types of Pavers

Different pavers are better for different purposes

When it comes to paving, choosing the right paver for your project is such an important factor. 

We're sure that nobody wants to go through all that effort of preparing and installing the pavers to only find that they aren't as practical and functional as you'd like them to be. A good example of this would be the types of pavers you choose to have by your poolside. Rather than choosing one that is prone to erosion and isn't safe for your family, there are a huge range of specific pool pavers that have slip & salt resistance.

Now that you're aware of the various types of design choices available at your disposal - learn about what pavers are better for what projects and why. 

So what types of pavers exist, and when should you use them?

1. Driveway Pavers

A paved driveway can add more value to your home than concrete driveways. Paved driveways do not crack like solid concrete driveways and you can always lift a paver in your driveway to expose and fix underground services. Driveway pavers are also created in such as a way that makes it durable under the pressure of big cars, and also aid in the grip of your tyres. These particular types of pavers are unlikely to be affected by regular movement of cars.

What variety of driveway pavers exist?

2. Pool Pavers

While there are many reasons contributing to the importance of pool pavers, there's none that are quite as important as the features of safety.

As you've probably encountered at some point in your life, there are some surfaces that aren't as forgiving when wet.

This is why it's important to have slip-resistant in your pool pavers, which have a characteristic of giving grip, regardless of how much water has hit the surface. 

What variety of pool pavers exist?

3. Commercial Pavers

APC has the ideal solution for any commercial and residential projects including heavy industrial applications, machine laid paving, permeable pavement solutions, agricultural, livestock, interlocking styles, severe erosion problems, high pedestrian and vehicular traffic areas.

Commercial Pavers generally feature an 'interlocking' type of feature, along with durable material that prevents it from chipping, cracking, flaking, shrinking or expanding. Another great feature is that is there is any form of breakage, the paver can be individually removed & replaced - making it an extremely cost effective option for areas with high amounts of traffic.

What variety of commercial pavers exist?

4. Patio & Alfresco Pavers

These pavers are great for reinventing your outdoor space. They are a low maintenance outdoor paving solution that will add a premium look and feel to your outdoor entertaining area!

 

Download FREE Paver Type Brochure

Picking The Right Paver

Top Tips to Choosing the Right Pavers

 

Pavers are an eternal part of almost every typical Australian home and surrounding areas of a household. Be it indoors, outdoors, formal or semi-formal space in offices, or commercial areas, pavers are one of the most popular choices.

Pavers are versatile and can be used in various shapes, sizes, styles, colours, and finishes. So if you're thinking of using pavers to renovate any of your surroundings or just want to construct a new structure with pavers, it’s a great idea!

Pavers come in stunning varieties. However, choosing the right ones for your paving project is sometimes confusing and tricky.

Here are a few top tips to help you choose the right paving:

  • Ask for free samples. Branches do not always represent a true sample of the product
  • Consider durability and suitability (e.g. Is the product suitable for pools?) - if you're not sure, one of our friendly specialists can assist you in making the right choices for your situation
  • Consider the colour, size, appearance and whether they would be easy to maintain
  • Get suggestions on what you should choose – smooth or textured pavers? Thick or thin pavers?
  • Ensure the store you visit has adequate product knowledge
  • Do not buy products online. It can be the most expensive mistake you ever made
  • Don’t buy the cheapest product. Buy one that has the best value for money, and one that is made by a reputable company. The cost of having to replace a cheap, low durability paver is a lot more expensive that buying the right one in the first place. 

Be it a driveway, walkway, garden path, corridors, pool surrounds, space in living area, or any outdoor entertainment area; pavers prove to be an ideal choice giving you that wonderful look you always wanted in your surroundings!

Australian Paving Centre specialises in masonry product supply and presents all types of pavers and blocks on displays. We offer an exclusive, large collection of natural stone, bricks, tiles, clay, retaining wall products, etc.

How To Install Pavers

APC's step-by-step instructions on how to install your pavers:

 

PREPARING TO PAVE

 

STEP 1: Preparing the site

Correct preparation is the most important part of your paving project and if done correctly will save you time in the long run and make sure your pavers will look great for years to come.

Excavation

In most cases it may be necessary to excavate the area to be paved. The depth of this excavation will depend on the thickness of paver you have selected.

The depth of your excavation should be as follows:

(Depth of paver) + 30mm for bedding sand + 75mm compacted road base (for walkway)

or 150mm compacted road base (for driveway) = depth of excavation required.

Once you have worked out the desired finished surface level:

  • Drive four stakes into the ground on the corners of the area to be paved and run string lines between them at the finished surface level.
  • Level the strings using a string line level.
  • Remove all grass from the area to be paved.
  • Excavate the ground to the required depth.
  • The prepared ground must be even.
  • Compact or replace soft spots in the ground.
  • Spread and compact road base if paving a driveway area.

Rain water must flow off the finished paving and away from the buildings. The paving must not be perfectly flat but should slope a little (about 15mm per meter).

If the paving is against the side of the house, the pavers must be below the damp-proof course. Never cover damp proof courses or air vents.

Check evenness and depth of base by measuring from string line. The finished surface level of pavers may be at or above ground level.

 

 

ESTIMATING MATERIALS

 

STEP 2: Subgrade

Correct base preparation is perhaps the most important part of every paving project. The sub-grade is the natural soil that the paving is supported on. This should be firm and all top soil and vegetation removed. String lines should be used to determine the finished level.

The finished height of the sub-grade should be trimmed to within 25mm of the desired level and compacted if necessary. Backfill for service trenches should be compacted in layers no greater than 150mm. Correct preparation of sub-grade reduces the incidence of shrinking and rutting.

 

Roadbase

The roadbase is imported quarry rubble used to build up areas, set levels and provide a strong, stable layer to support the laid pavement. A 75-80mm thick layer for walkways and 100-150mm thick for driveways to 10mm of the desired level to allow for compaction.

The roadbase for walkways may be reduced on sandy or non-reactive sub-grades, however, it does add considerable strength to the pavement and is recommended for a ‘first class’ job. All roadbase material should be compacted with, at least, three passes of a mechanical vibrating plate compactor.

The roadbase material extends past the outer perimeter of the paving work. This means that the edge restraint lasts longer and reduces the incidence of outer perimeter paving subsidence, so common with standard paving practices.

 

Bedding sand

The next step is to lay bedding sand evenly over the area to a depth of 30mm. Bedding sand (washed concrete sand) is required under all paving.

1 tonne will cover approximately 20m2.

i.e: 20mÇ x .03(30mm) depth m = .6 Cubic mÑ

.6mÑ x 1.8 = 1.08Tonne



STEP 3: Screeding the bedding sand

A 30mm layer of bedding sand is required as the final preparation for laying pavers. The levels for this base will be reflected in the finish of the paving, so it must be accurate.

The most effective method to level the bedding is to use two screeding straps set accurately in the bedding sand to the required levels and placed approximately 1m to 3m apart.
The screeding straps are about 100-125mm in width and 2-3mm in thickness. Length of the straps can vary from 1.5mtrs to 3mtrs long.

The screed rail is then used to level off between the screeding straps. The straps are then removed and the sand is smoothed off with a trowel prior to laying the pavers. The bedding sand is not a leveling medium, the thickness must be kept consistent across the paved area to avoid uneven settlement of the paving.

Remember the level of the bedding sand will determine the finished levels of the paving so take your time to get it right and allow for necessary falls.

 

Click here for a video on 'How to Pave'

 

HOW TO PAVE

 

STEP 4: Laying the pavers

When laying pavers, it is generally best to start in a corner or along an edge such as a house footing.

Place the pavers, using the desired pattern, on the screed sand. Take care to ensure that all pavers are level. By using string lines and regular visual checking of the paving, it is possible to keep the joints straight.

Laid pavers can be adjusted with a trowel to correct any minor errors in the joint alignment. Some pavers should be laid with a 2-3mm gap between each paver.

Always work from the top of pavers that have just been laid so as to avoid disturbing the screeded bedding sand.

 

Cutting the pavers

Leave cutting and placing of edge pavers until the last step. Carefully mark the pavers to be cut with a marker and number the back of them. For a quality professional finish, use a diamond base brick saw, remembering to wear proper safety equipment when cutting pavers. Put aside any broken or chipped pavers and use these for cutting if possible.

 

Click here for a video on 'How to Cut Pavers'. 

 

STEP 5: Edge restraint

Where the paving does not abut a solid structure, an edge is required to prevent the pavers spreading or opening up.

Finishing unsupported edges of the paving with a concealed concrete edge strip is the most common method used to support the paving.

The edge restraint should be kept at least 10mm below the finished level of the paving to allow for compaction. Alternatively, the edge restraint can be an exposed concrete strip or the edge can be set on a concrete base.

 

Final preparation

The completed preparation for the paving should be firm and level with a fall to allow for rainwater run-off. The use of string lines will help maintain the line and levels to ensure an accurate preparation. The prepared surface level should not deviate by more than 10mm over a 3m length from the required profile.

 

Laying Patterns

Depending on the overall look you would like to achieve and the area you are paving, there are many different styles of laying pavers.

 

Filling the joints

Dry jointing sand should be spread over the surface of the pavers and swept into joints in the paving. Compacting of pavement should then be completed to lock the pavers in before brushing off the excess sweep sand.

In some instances, it may be necessary to make an additional pass over the paving with the broom and re-compact the pavers to ensure all joints are thoroughly filled.

 

STEP 6: Pave Set

If paving a driveway, footpath, patio or any high foot traffic area, Pave Set is required to fill the gaps between pavers, blocks and bricks to secure their positioning and eliminate movement.

Made from a selected blend of sand, binder and gelling agents, Pave Set does not set hard rather it gels the area between the pavers and may require maintenance in certain areas over time.

Before using Pave Set

Before applying Pave Set to your paved area, check the following list of precautions.

Pave Set should not be used:

  • If rain is forecast within 3 days of application
  • If high winds are expected within 3 days of application
  • On pavers that are not on a well-drained sub-base
  • Around swimming pools
  • In areas that are constantly wet as it does not prevent water penetrating gaps
  • On steep inclines
  • In gaps wider than 4mm

Ensure that the paved area is dry by covering a small area with plastic for 24 hours before application. Inspect the underside after 24 hours to ensure no moisture. This is essential if pavers are recently made or have been subject to recent rain.

Top layer: Jointing sand

When you lay pavers it’s recommended that you leave a 2 – 3mm gap between pavers, jointing sand is broomed into the gaps. A 20kg bag should cover between 10 – 20m2 at the recommended 2 – 3mm gap.

Paved area ____ (m2) x 0.067 (allows for 3mm joint spaces) = ____ 40kg bags of jointing sand required

 

Applying Pave Set

  1. Make sure that the paved area is dry and clean of any loose material such as dirt or sand.
  1. Spread Pave Set evenly over the surface of the pavers, and then sweep the Pave Set into the gaps

Note: A good practice is to pour the Pave Set along the joints to minimise the potential for segregation of the polymer from the sand.

  1. Avoid sweeping the Pave Set over long distances, as this will cause segregation and inconsistent gelling.
  1. Compact the Pave Set into the joints using a vibrating plate or rubber mallet by approximately 10mm.
  1. Apply more Pave Set, sweep and compact until joints are filled. Please note that Pave Set will only work effectively if applied correctly between the vertical walls of the pavers.
  1. Thoroughly clean the pavers by sweeping with a fine bristle broom to avoid the polymer and binder from sticking to or staining the surface of the pavers during wetting.

Note: Using a blower ensures that all residue is removed from the top of the pavers.

  1. With a fine mist spray, completely saturate the paved area until Pave Set has efficiently absorbed the water through its entire depth.

Note: For best results, target areas of no greater than 2m2 at a time before moving on to the next area. Do not flood the area or use high pressure, as this will impede the gelling process.

  1. Allow the Pave Set to dry and gel for at least 2 days (longer during cooler months) before sweeping or allowing heaving traffic on the area.

Note: It is important to allow the approximate drying time for Pave Set to work effectively.

  1. You may need to top up gaps every year especially after heavy rains. To do this clean out the gap before applying the Pave Set and soak again with the steps above.

STEP 7: Compacting the pavers

After the pavers have been laid and dry jointing sand spread over the surface (and into the joints), the pavers should be compacted. This will bed the pavers down and assist in ensuring all the pavers are level and any minor imperfections are rectified to produce a professional finish to the job.

For a more professional finish, it is better to hire a mechanical vibrating plate compactor fitted with rubber or carpet base.

A layer of sweep sand spread over the surface of the pavers will protect the pavers from damage during the final plate compaction of the laid pavers.

 

Click here for a full video on  'DIY Paving'

OR

Download FREE Paving Instruction Booklet

 

Paver Cleaning & Maintenance

Keep them looking new for a lifetime

Now that you've installed your pavers, your one step closer to having the outdoor space of your dreams.

If you're hoping to have your paving looking cleaner and newer for longer, read on to learn about paver cleaning and paver maintenance.

 

1. Keeping Your Pavers Clean

Pavers have been the best and most popular masonry material choice over the years. They give stability to a structure and add a characteristic decorative element to the surroundings. May it be a walkway, driveway, retaining wall, patio, or pool surrounds; pavers fit perfectly in every surrounding making it tough, strong, and long lasting.

Although paving blocks are highly strong and durable, they are bound to the effects of certain day-to-day activities. A driveway might get stained with oils, dirt, and grime over the years, a walkway and any other kind of paving might lose its lustre over time, and a pool surrounds might appear dull and grungy with repeated water spills on it.

Accumulation of dirt, grime, oils, mud, snow, salts, etc. on pavement leads to create a dull, unclean, and old feel. Normal wear and tear as well as occasional staining tend to ruin the original look of your paving.

Here are a few tips for cleaning your pavers:

  • Wash your paving stones or blocks regularly with the help of a garden hose with a spray attachment
  • Use a pressure washer to remove stubborn dirt accumulated over the pavers
  • While using any new cleaning product in the market, ensure you test a random spot before using it – some types of pavers might get damaged by certain chemicals
  • Allow a typical cleaning agent to set on pavers for 4 to 5 minutes
  • Use a paint roller, brush, or broom to apply the cleaner to your pavers
  • Then use a different stiff scrub brush or broom, or simply a pressure cleaner to finally wash your pavement

If cleaned routinely and repaired quickly whenever needed, pavers can give you the best appearance for the lifetime!

 

2. General Maintenance

During the initial settling in period & ongoing, keep a bag of dried sand or polymeric sand on hand, to top up any paving joints that may need a little extra between the joints.

When you poison the weeds in the garden do the same to any weeds in the paving. The polymeric sand is better, to stop weed growth.

Poison any paving areas that do not get a lot of sunlight or are prone to be moist, damp or cold as these areas tend to promote the growth of fungus & mold. If you are pulling any weeds out of the pavers try to get to them before they grow too big. If they are allowed to grow too large as you pull them out it will take the gap sand with the root system.

Preventative spot spraying of the pavers, whilst you are doing the garden is the best way to keep the paving free of weeds.

Tip: when doing the pavers & you have a garden wall or retaining wall, spray the face of the blocks every now and then to prevent mold or fungal growth.


After the pavers have been down for some time, there is nothing wrong with giving them a pressure clean every now & then. DO NOT use a commercial pressure cleaner as this may pit the surface of the pavers, dependent upon the type of paver they are. Use a domestic pressure cleaner of about 1500 psi or less.


If you do pressure clean the paving you must top up the sand in the joints. When using a polymeric sand such as Paveset, read the instructions on how to apply it. Do not over fill the joints when using this type of joint sand. APC have a separate DIY Paving document which explains how to apply this type of joint sand.

 

3. Tips to Maintaining Your Pavers

  • Do not allow moss, weeds or algae to develop on the paved surfaces. It is important to keep driveway surfaces clean and clear. Use standard pesticides on these surfaces.
  • Regularly sweep or clean the pavers with a stiff outdoor broom or garden blower
  • Occasionally pressure clean your driveway to remove stubborn dirt
  • Top up the joint sand when required
  • Always maintain good drainage away from the paving & ensure your storm water drains are clean & running water freely away from the paved area.

 

Download FREE Paver Maintenance & Remedies Brochure 

 

4. Common Stains and Stain Removal

The removal of stains is not always easy, but by following these basic principles it can be made a bit easier:

  • First, determine if the use of chemicals are necessary. If dry sweeping or washing or scrubbing with clean soapy water or detergent fails to bring the paved area to an acceptable state of cleanliness, then you should at least consider it.
  • Rather than automatically using an acid cleaner such as spirits of salts (hydrochloric acid), it is essential to first identify the substance to be removed.
  • Follow the correct cleaning procedures: Always test the chemical on a small, inconspicuous patch before tackling the whole paved area. By testing first, it will ensure that no extensive chemical damage is done to the area from using an inappropriate substance.
  • Safety precautions are essential. There are few chemicals that are entirely safe and some may be potentially dangerous. A few elementary precautions are necessary to ensure that no harm is done to yourself and those around you.
  • Protect yourself against inhaling the fumes and against acid burns on your skin or in your eyes.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Dilute acids in the open with the breeze behind you.
  • Always add acid to water and never add water to acid. This is absolutely vital.
  • Whilst working with these chemicals keep people (especially children) and animals out of the area. Upon completion ensure the chemicals are safely stored.

 

5. Efflorescence

Efflorescence is a white powdery deposit or residue that forms when moisture from within the masonry product dries out or evaporates leaving behind a white salty deposit.

Although efflorescence looks unsightly and aesthetically displeasing it does not affect the product if dealt with quickly and correctly. Efflorescence may generally disappear over time.

The process can be accelerated by dry brushing off any residue and removing it from the surface of the pavers. This can be done by sweeping with a stiff broom, using an outdoor vacuum cleaner and by scrubbing with a brush and clean soapy water.

Sometimes it is necessary to follow this up with a wash of weak acid (hydrochloric acid 1 part acid to 15 parts water ratio) or use a cleaner commonly called “Anti Eff”.

If using acid always add acid to water and never add water to acid. This is absolutely vital.

Always test an area or paver first either using a spare paver or testing the process on an inconspicuous area.

If the salts are not removed from the site they will just be reabsorbed into the masonry product when washed down. Repeat the process until the problem has stopped.

Efflorescence may mean there is:

  • Presence of soluble salts
  • Excessive amounts of water entering the masonry

Soluble salts can be introduced to your masonry product in a number of different ways. They can be found externally in the fill, soil or sand surrounding the product or brought in by the environment such as sea spray. Occasionally the soluble salts can be found in mortar, grout, dried sweeping sand and even the masonry units themselves.


It is always recommended that a good quality washed bedding sand be used under your pavers to help minimize the presence of soluble salts. As the name suggests, washed sand has been washed to remove a lot of the finer material, which also removes any of the salts that may be present.

Click here for a quick video on 'How to Remove Efflorescence'. 

 

6. Dirt and Grime

Dirt and Grime can discolor the pavers no matter what material they made of. Frequent sweeping and occasional washing reduces the effect of dirt and grime and maintains the color and freshness of a paved area.

 

7. Fresh Mortar Stains

The simplest way to remove wet mortar stains is to lightly cover the pavement before the mortar sets hard, with clean but slightly damp washed sand. Sweep the sand towards the edges of the pavement. If necessary continue to repeat this until the surface is almost clean. The most important point to remember is that the sand must be free of clay.

Follow this up with a further sweep with a dry washed sand. Any sticky wet mortar residues that escaped the wet sanding will be removed. Once again, the sand must be free of clay.

One or two days after the pavement has dried, some mortar residues may still be visible as a faint white mark. Normally this will weather away.

 

8. Dried Mortar Stains

Experiment on a small section of the pavement with decreasing proportions of water mixed with acid, starting with one part acid to ten parts water (remembering to pour the acid into the water, not the other way around).

Once you have determined the appropriate proportion of acid to water, or the type of proprietary cleaning solution needed, proceed as follows:

  • Slightly wet the pavement with a fine spray of water.
  • Using a stiff brush, apply the acid mixture over the areas stained with mortar. Loosen thick mortar patches with a hard implement such a steel scraper. Work on the mortar stain until it is dissolved.
  • Give the area a good hose down.
  • Repeat steps one to three until the whole pavement has been cleaned.
  • A final rinsing of the pavement with a domestic pressure cleaner is often beneficial. However, many pavers can be damaged by the over use of high-pressure water jets so check with APC before commencing. Take care not to remove sand from the paver joints.

 

9. Fungi, Moss and Lichens

These are common, particularly in shady or damp parts of the pavement. They sometimes appear as localised dark stains or patches of green, giving a dirty and unsightly appearance. These growths will not damage the pavement but will cause it to become quite slippery.

To remove these growths, vigorously brush the affected area when it is dry. Domestic pressure cleaners may also be used. While the surface may now appear to be completely cleaned it is important to sterilise the area with a poison or strong fungicide, which should be allowed three or four days to act. Blue crystals (copper sulphate) is one such poison, whilst hypochloride (liquid chlorine, White King) and formaldehyde are fungicides. Other proprietary brands are available from plant nurseries. The surface should be brushed again when it is dry.

You can also pour boiling water on moss and lichens to kill them and clean the pavement.

Please note: Some of the poisons and fungicides may discolour the pavement. Check their effect on a small part of the pavement before proceeding to clean the entire area. Pay attention to nearby garden plants or lawn, especially on the lower side of the area being treated.

Chlorine is another way to bleach out & remove these stains. Applying Chlorine with a garden sprayer is one option & this particularly works well removing stubborn fungal stains. Thoroughly wash off the chlorine afterwards with clean water.

 

10. Tannin Stains

Tannin from gum leaves or bark is partially hard to remove. Once again Chlorine will remove these stains but test a spare paver or test it in an inconspicuous area first of all.

Chlorine is a bleach therefore it may discolor the paver so a test is imperative & leave the paver to stand for a duration of time to ensure it does not bleach out the color. Lighter colored pavers are less likely to be affected than darker colors.

 

11. Oil or Grease Stains

Coca-Cola has been used with great success. Tip the Coke on to the affected paving & leave it for a duration of time & then wash off. Repeat this process until it removes all of the stains.

 

12. Sealing the Pavers

The most effective way to keep paving clean is to use a sealer. There are a number of good quality sealers available which have a life span of 8 – 12 years.

Sealing the pavers as soon as possible after the project is done is the most ideal situation, however we have cleaned & sealed pavers up to 10 years old with brilliant results that make them look as good as new.

There are several types available and your local APC store can advise the best and most suitable sealers to suit the paving product.

APC Tip #1

DIY paving takes a lot of careful consideration and planning. So make sure to do some research before diving head deep into your next paving project! It's not too hard, just have a look at our knowledge centre or visit us in store!

APC Tip #2

If you're looking for more ideas than what you see on this page or our website, or have a specific look you want, we have expert pavers standing around waiting for you to come and ask them! 
Come along and visit our display centres in a location near you today!

Need more help? 

Still unsure about how to pave? Come visit us in store today at your nearest Australian Paving Centre and we would be more than happy to lend you a helping hand and demonstrate. 

To find or contact us quickly, click here.

If you'd like to speak to one of our friendly representatives, simply fill out the form!