The five step guide to laying porcelain paving

The five step guide to laying porcelain paving

Posted 3rd April

Planning a new garden is always fun - whether it's choosing which plants to grow, the garden furniture to have, or how often you'll be having a barbecue, there's a lot to consider...

Something you may not assume you can do is lay your patio - while you can always get someone in to do it for you, why not flex your DIY muscles and give it a go for yourself?

This guide from Lee Dunderdale at Bradstone talks you through the process...

You will need:

- Shovel/Spade
- Trowel
- Rubber mallet
- String line
- Spirit level
- Wheelbarrow
- Vibrating plate compactor

Ensure you are wearing appropriate safety protection throughout your task. Wet mortar can burn exposed skin so make sure you are wearing suitable protective gloves and long sleeves to protect your arms, as well as steel toe-capped boots in case of any accidental dropping of slabs.

Before you begin...

- Always dry lay your patio first, a simple job of laying out the paving as you want the finished patio to check size, layout and more importantly you have enough product.
- Ask your stockist to calculate how much sand you will need to fulfil the job and order accordingly.

1. Get digging

First things first, you need to measure your new patio size. We recommend using a measuring tape and pegs to plot your outline, and use a builders square to ensure your angles are correct. Next, cut the ground with a shovel and remove the sections into a wheelbarrow, ensuring you have excavated a depth of around 150mm to allow for the paving and foundation mix. If you are laying directly next to a house then the finished patio should be at least 150mm below the damp proof course. This means you will need to locate the damp proof course and dig out the area to a minimum depth of 300mm below.

2. Prepare the sub-base

Once your patio area is dug out, and the soft ground removed, tip in the sub-base material and rake to an even depth of 50mm. To create the firm foundation, compact the area using a vibrating plate compactor, ensuring that you cover the entire area twice. Be careful though and make sure you use ear protection when using the vibrating compactor, and be aware of noise pollution for neighbours.

3. Apply the primer

This tutorial uses Bradbond Slurry Primer. For porcelain paving, you should always use Bradbond Slurry Primer, which should be painted onto the entire base of the paver. Be careful not to get any on the front of the paving. If you do, wipe it off with a clean, wet cloth immediately. 

4. Lay the paving

When laying porcelain paving, first ensure you are using the correct sand – a soft, yellow building sand. Transfer the appropriate amount of laying bed from the wheelbarrow to the location of your first slab, using a trowel to spread the mixture. Make sure you lay the paving slabs on a full mortar bed, which should support the whole slab. Lower the paver onto the laying bed and gently tap the slab onto the bed with a rubber mallet. Adjustments will be necessary to ensure the paving is fully supported and does not rock or move – use a spirit level to check each paver as you go.

It’s good practice to clean down the face of the slab using clean water and a sponge as you go along.

5. Jointing

When laying your paving, don’t forget to clear enough mortar from gaps between the pavers, to allow sufficient jointing compound to sit comfortably. Use Bradpoint Jointing Compound, which is specially developed to ensure that your patio is jointed to perfection. It is suitable for use with all of our porcelain products, is frost resistant and when cured provides a flexible yet durable finish. Take care to avoid the mix going onto the face of the paving slab. Surplus jointing compound can be brushed off, but it’s often best to leave these bits for a few hours until it has started to harden – once hardened give the patio a good sweep and then that’s job well done.

As a reminder, follow these four tips for success:

- Dry lay the patio first, so you can ensure you have checked the measurements.
- Creating a good solid foundation and check the depths.
- Start laying the patio from the corner and work outwards
- Always clean the face of the slabs quickly after laying them to remove any mortar that could have reached there.

After completing the patio, you can keep on adding a sense of home by providing it with pops of colour to brighten up your space, whether it's through colourful accessories or striking flowers. If you have a smaller garden, using reflective ornaments can really set the space off - simply place them in or around your plants and furniture to help make your garden seem bigger.

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