How to lay Concrete Pavers

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How to select the right Concrete Pavers

  • Select concrete pavers that match internal floor coverings to ensure the transition from indoor out is subtle and blends with your decorating style.
  • If paving around pools or building stairs, choose a range to create a smooth finish.
  • Combining large and small format pavers can add textural qualities for a more distinctive space.
  • Paving joint mortar saves time, effort and water and is ideal for applying a permanent, rigid joint more than 5mm wide and a minimum 25mm deep on all types of paving.
  • When paving a small space keep the design simple and use a neutral coloured, large format paver to create a sense of space.
  • National Masonry recommends that concrete pavers be sealed with a quality penetrating sealer following installation.

Large format Concrete Pavers speed up the laying process

  • Gather ideas on the look you want to achieve. Look through this brochure and also obtain a free copy of the latest National Masonry Outdoor Design Guide.
  • Find the paver that is recommended for your particular need.
  • Measure your area to be paved to determine quantity of pavers required. This area is simply calculated by length (m) x width (m) = area (m2) for basic square or rectangular spaces (m = metres).
  • Select the paver size you prefer. Large format pavers are larger than or equal to 300mm (length) x 300mm (width) and small format pavers are less than 300mm x 300mm.
  • Select a colour that complements your area, home and surroundings.
  • Choose to D.I.Y. or hire a professional contractor. Refer to page 8 for a basic guide to laying pavers.

Basic Guide to installing Concrete Pavers

Prepare the site

Excavate the area to be paved to allow for the base layer (generally 100 -150mm thick of road base), bedding Sand (generally 30mm thick coarse washed river Sand) and the paver thickness. Establish falls and level using a spirit level on the screed board. Spread the road base to an even thickness and compact using a mechanical plate compactor.

Add the bedding sand

Place screed rails on road base and spread bedding Sand roughly between and over the rails – keep the rails. The easiest way to screed Sand is to use two guides (screed rails) and a screeding board (e.g. a flat piece of timber). Establish bedding tracks with the screeding board.

Level the surface

Bed the screed rails into the bedding Sand. Drag the screeding board in a sawing motion from side to side across the rails to create a firm, flat laying surface. Remove the rails, fill in the voids with bedding Sand and trowel smooth.

Set the lines

Set string lines at right angles to establish paving lines. These will help keep the joints straight for that truly professional look.

Begin the laying

Start laying along the longest straight edge of the designated area and lay whole pavers first. Leave 3-5mm between pavers to allow for jointing Sand (unless the pavers have nibs).

Cut pavers

Cut and position part-pavers if the job requires them. Edge restraints prevent the pavers from moving.

Fill the joints

Sweep jointing Sand over the finished dry paving, ensuring that all joints are full.

Finishing touches

Sand filled joints:

a) Pavers 50mm thick or greater – surface to be plate compacted.

Always remember to use a rubber mat or carpet beneath the plate compactor to prevent damage to the pavers.

b) Pavers 40mm thick or less – surface to be hand compacted with a rubber mallet.


  • surface to be hand compacted prior to application.

Caring for your pavers

Prevention is better than cure

  • Sweep regularly with a stiff bristled broom to keep pavers free from debris.
  • For maximum protection we suggest pavers are sealed after installation with a penetrating sealer. Please check with a reputable sealing company for advice.
  • Seal pavers with a penetrating sealer before grouting to avoid grout smears.
  • Re-seal pavers as required paying extra attention to heavy wear areas and salt-water locations.
  • During construction, cover the paved areas to protect against damage.
  • Protect your pavers against possible staining from mortar, oxides, cement and rust.
  • Do not use hydrochloric acid to clean pavers.  If using a proprietary cleaner that contains acid, test on a sample paver first as it may permanently damage (etch) the paver surface if applied too strongly. 
  • Do not use high pressure cleaning apparatus to clean pavers.
  • In all cases, attempt to clean a stain before it hardens or dries.

If a stain occurs, follow some simple steps:

  • Assess type of stain carefully before taking action (incorrect assessment of stain can cause the stain to be more difficult to remove).
  • If stain cannot be accurately assessed, conduct a trial process on a small portion of stained area to determine most appropriate action.
  • Do not use hydrochloric acid to remove stains under any circumstances. Refer to the guide beside for some stain removal solutions.

This is general information and should be viewed as a guide only National Masonry urges you to ensure that you obtain appropriate professional advice tailored to your circumstances before commencing paving projects.