How to Lay Clay Pavers

Laying clay pavers can add a touch of timeless elegance and charm to any outdoor space. Whether you're creating a stunning patio, a beautiful walkway, or a captivating driveway, clay pavers offer durability, natural beauty, and versatility. However, proper installation is crucial to ensure a long-lasting and visually appealing result. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of laying clay pavers, from opening the packs to mixing the crates and executing the installation with precision. Additionally, we'll cover essential aftercare techniques to help you maintain the beauty and functionality of your clay paver project for years to come. So, let's dive in and discover the art of laying clay pavers, transforming your outdoor space into a haven of elegance and functionality.

Preparation & Installation Techniques

1. Prepare the Tools and Materials:

-Clay pavers: Purchase the required amount of clay pavers for your project.

-Safety gear: Wear gloves, safety glasses, and knee pads to protect yourself.

-Measuring tools: Have a measuring tape, string, and stakes for marking the area.

-Excavation tools: Gather a shovel, wheelbarrow, and a rake for clearing and preparing the area.

-Base materials: Prepare MOT Type 1, sharp sand (or grit), and cement. (As a rough guide, each bulk bag of MOT Type 1 covers 3.5 sqm and each bulk bag of sharp sand covers around 11 sqm.)

-Compaction equipment: Rent or borrow a plate compactor or tamper for compacting the base.

-Finishing sand: Kiln dried sand for brushing into the gaps between pavers.

 

2. Plan and Mark the Area:

-Determine the area where you want to lay the clay pavers.

-Mark the perimeter using stakes and string to create a clear outline.

3. Excavate the Area:

-Dig out the marked area to the required depth, considering the paver thickness and base materials.

-The typical depth allows for 150mm compacted MOT Type 1 + around 40mm compacted sharp sand + the clay block thickness.

-Remove any roots, rocks, or debris from the excavated area.

-Ensure the excavated area is compacted and level.

4. Install the Base:

-Spread a layer of MOT Type 1 over the excavated area and use the rake to level it.

-Compact the crushed stone with a plate compactor or tamper to create a stable base.

-The final compacted level should be at least 150mm.

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Siena

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Aged Bruno

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Basalt

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Aged Rosa

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Aged Mastiek

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Aged Nero

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Novoton

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - WF Bruno

5. Add the Edge Constraint:

-Mix up the mortar using 5 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement.

-Install the edging pavers and haunch the outer perimeter to prevent movement.

-Allow to set.

6. Unpack the Pavers:

-Unload onto a firm surface.

-Stand clear of the pack to avoid falling pavers.

-Place a hand on the corner of the pack over the strap that is about to be cut. This ensures the strap is released downwards. 

-Cut the strap at a point around 3 pavers down from the top of the pack.

-Ensure all packs of pavers are mixed to ensure even distribution of colour. 

-The paver packs require unpacking vertically, not horizontally. This equally distributes minor size variations helping to maintain the correct bond pattern. 

-When unpacking, take care to prevent the packs from becoming imbalanced and tipping over. 

7. Laying Patterns:

-Use string lines to ensure laying lines remain straight.

-Natural tolerances and manufacturing tolerances may not permit perfectly straight lines. 

-Clay pavers allow for stritcher bond, herringbone and basketweave patterns. 

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - Alder Tumbled Alfaton

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - Alder Tumbled Supraton

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - Alder Tumbled Triton

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - Alder Tumbled Atlas

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - Alder Tumbled Ruston

8. Lay the Pavers:

-Spread a layer of sharp sand (or grit) between the edge constraints. 

-Compact with the plate compactor to a depth of around 40mm.

-Start laying the pavers starting from an edge restraint or a centre line. 

-A joint width of 2-5mm with a target width of 3mm is typical to ensure there is no point contact between the pavers. 

-Make adjustments as necessary. 

-When a sufficient area has been laid, apply a fine layer of kiln dried sand across the surface. 

-Compact down with a plate compactor and a rubber sole-plate to avoid damaging the pavers. 

-Brush further kiln dried sand into any gaps that appear and ensure these are filled up. 

9. Cutting the Pavers:

-Cut clay pavers using either a block splitter or bench mounted water cooled power saw for optimum results. 

-Clay paving should not be cut to less than a quarter of the original size along the length of the paver. 

-Never cut across the width.

10. Maintenance:

-Clay pavers are best cleaned using biodegradable detergents, but do not clean within the first three months. 

-High pressure washing can remove kiln dried sand from the joints and this will require replacing.

-It is not recommended that clay paving is selaed as any dirt and spills can be cleaned up. 

-Oil will not generally penetrate into the body of clay pavers and will usually sit on the surface of the stone until removed. 

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - Baggeridge Promenade Telford

Wienerberger Clay Pavers - Tumbled Baggeridge Cobbles

Conclusion

Laying clay pavers is a rewarding endeavor that can transform your outdoor space into a stunning and functional area. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this tutorial, you have learned the essential techniques for a successful clay paver installation.

From preparing the tools and materials to opening the packs, mixing the crates, and executing the installation with precision, each step contributes to a durable and visually appealing outcome. Proper aftercare, including regular maintenance and occasional cleaning, will ensure the longevity and beauty of your clay paver project.

Remember, attention to detail is key throughout the process. Take the time to accurately plan and mark the area, properly prepare the base, and align the pavers meticulously. The edge constraint ensures that the central blocks remain in place whilst at the same time, defining the boundaries and enhancing the overall aesthetic.

With your newfound knowledge and the right tools, you are now equipped to embark on your clay paver journey. Embrace the creative possibilities and let your imagination guide you as you design captivating patios, walkways, driveways, and more.

Enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your outdoor space come to life with the timeless elegance of clay pavers. So, roll up your sleeves, get ready to create, and revel in the beauty and functionality of your completed clay paver installation.