People often think that paving is a simple task of just hardening the soil and laying the bricks on the prepared soil. I have listed the process of paving here so that anyone having paving done can follow the steps listed to ensure that the company/builder that you hired is doing the job properly.
Often home owners think that because their builder did a beautiful job building their house that he can also do paving, they find out 2-4 years later that the paving is no where near the quality of the house and often needs repairing or replacement.
A) Surface of the intended paving area is cleared of all grass, rocks etc. and the soil has to be loosened to a depth of approximately 200mm.
B) Fish lines (Fishing gut) are used to determine levels of the paving to ensure that the finished paving will direct rain and other water flows off the paving into the desired place/direction.
C) Once levels are correct the area is sprayed with water to moisten the soil and allow for maximum compaction. A plate compactor is normally used for compaction but I also recommend that a Bomag be considered when paving a larger area. Compaction is a critical area of paving and this is where most builders fall down.
D) Washed coarse river sand is laid over the area to cushion the paving bricks. I often suggest that a bag of dry cement per 50m2 is mixed in with the river sand to act as a weed killer, but it is not absolutely necessary as nothing can grow in total darkness under the paving.
E) The bricks can now be laid on the river sand in a pre selected design. You can google various paving designs with pictures but I recommend the herringbone design as it is one of the strongest designs. Stretcher bond is normally used on walkways or around swimming pools.
F) A 50mm trench is prepared around your paved area and is filled with a concrete/cement mixture. This is commonly called an edgebeam and bricks are packed into the wet concrete/cement and allowed to dry. This edgebeam is going to hold your paving together and needs a minimum of 48 hours to bond.
G) The paved area is now compacted once again to ensure that every brick is firm in its place.
This is a very basic example of how to pave a driveway, pathway or under a lapa etc. If you follow the above steps you should have a fairly good paved area but it is very seldom laid as good as a recognised paving company. It is always wise to consider if the savings you will make by doing the paving yourself is worth the time and effort, or if the extra money spent on a specialised paving company is not an investment for the long run.