Laying paving stones

Would you like to lay the paving stones around your house or in the garden yourself, with new concrete paving or with old paving stones? Or maybe create a garden path? Here you will learn a lot about the fundamental differences between concrete and natural stone and how you can lay paving stones yourself.

Concrete paving stones and their advantages

Concrete paving stones are, so to speak, the variant for every occasion: They are produced in an unbelievable number of shapes and are comparatively inexpensive due to their industrial production. You are dealing with a fairly unproblematic material, concrete basically consists of nothing but cement, small stones and water (for external stones, however, there is an additive for frost protection). That can be produced in almost any color and with almost any surface, especially with the two-layer stones, if there is “slouching” during production, the two-layer stones, in contrast to single-layer stones, can, however, also separate into two parts. Then you still have to note that concrete paving stones are offered with or without a bevel. A bevel is a sloping edge, such stones are laid with joints, which should make laying a little easier. However, the bevel also increases the rolling resistance, so such stones develop a little more noise when driven on.

These concrete paving stones are produced in several different types, as a square or rectangular concrete stone, as a concrete slab, concrete composite stone, decorative stone, concrete lawn stone or as special concrete stone that makes orientation easier for the blind and visually impaired or allows water to seep away as a drainage stone. The stones can be designed with broken edges, can have spacers or knobs on the sides, which guarantee a quick installation, and are certainly made in any size you have in mind.

The variety of colors and shapes for concrete pavement is almost infinite, so take a little time to shop.

Granite paving stones and their advantages

granite paving stones

Granite paving stones are among the natural stones that have always been popular because of their diverse advantages. Here are a few arguments for the natural stones:

  • Natural stone paving is not only the oldest, but also the most durable form of paving stones.
  • This plaster shows the same color for decades.
  • There are many ways to lay natural stone paving, alone and in various combinations.
  • Such a plaster is very expressive, in different ways: playful and lively, calm and straightforward, very modern – everything is possible.
  • In most cases, the aesthetic value of a natural stone pavement exceeds that of a modern concrete building material.
  • While concrete pavement always needs to be cared for, natural stone pavement is easy to care for.
  • “Neglected” natural stone paving unfolds its own charm in the garden, which even increases its individual effect.
  • Natural stone paving is usually very resistant to abrasion, easy to clean, insensitive to stains and insensitive to embers or cigarettes.
  • The irregular stones cause a very good infiltration of rainwater.
  • Natural stone paving is quite non-slip and has a good grip, while some concrete stones become very slippery even with dew or light greening.
  • Natural stone paving is ideal for ambitious design requirements such as curves or arches, because you can choose the right stones.
  • There are many additions for natural stone paving with the same material, block steps and palisades, bricks and curbs and pillars.
  • Natural stone can usually be combined better with other building materials than concrete – pebbles or other decorative stones, natural stone figures, fountains or spheres fit in harmoniously.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly: natural stones are simply beautiful, and granite in particular comes in almost every imaginable shade.

If it is always said that natural stone is more expensive to buy than concrete block, this is only true when buying a new one. However, if you are looking for historical building materials, you can buy granite paving for the same square meter price as concrete paving – if you are willing to do a lot by hand, it is much cheaper.

Different types of granite paving stones

The following types of granite paving are distinguished according to the size of the stones:

  • Large stone pavement, colloquially known as cobblestone: Large-format natural stones, the most common sizes are cubes with edge lengths of 14 cm (13/15), 16 cm (15/17) and 18 cm (17/19).
  • The numbers in brackets explain because the edge length may vary by one centimeter, no natural stone can be broken exactly.
  • Small pavement: almost square stones, which may also have dimensional tolerances, common sizes are 8 cm (7/9), 8.5 cm (7/10), 9 cm (8/10), 9.5 cm (8/11) and 10 cm (9/11).
  • If you want to calculate exactly the stones you need for one square meter, use the 10 cm (9/11) size sorting, of which you need 100 (90/110) stones per square meter.
  • The mosaic plaster is the smallest plaster size and is now made by machine, in the common sizes 4 cm (3/5), 5 cm (4/6), 6 cm (5/7) and 7 cm (6/8).
  • Stone slabs are larger and thinner than cobblestones; according to the relevant standard, they must be three times as long as they are thick.
  • If the standard ratio is not achieved, these slabs are referred to as paving slabs.
  • Stone slabs or paving slabs can be one square meter in size, so they can be used to lay out paths and large areas very quickly.
  • Raupplaster is called an irregular pavement made of broken natural stones that is not suitable for driving on.
  • Coarse pavement is very firm and resistant and is mainly used to secure bank areas or river beds.

With granite you will surely have no trouble finding the shade you want. You have a lot more choice when it comes to natural stones, there are also paving stones made of basalt and limestone, marble and shell limestone, porphyry and quartzite, slate and sandstone, each with different degrees of hardness.

Peculiarities of the cobblestone pavement

cobblestone pavement

As just shown, cobblestones are natural stones of a special size that combine all the advantages of natural stones but have some special features: We know this cobblestone from numerous historic old town cores, no wonder, it is one of them oldest methods of paving roads. That is why cobblestones always look familiar and authentic to us, and most people associate an impression of cosiness with cobblestones.

Real cobblestones are always made from natural stones, from granite or greywacke (gray to gray-green tinted, very old sandstones with some quartzite, slate, phyllite, etc. in it), basalt or limestone and other sandstones with sufficient strength.

Visually very similar to the cobblestone pavement, but something very unusual is the slag pavement, which can even be used for areas that are driven on by heavy trucks. Slag is a residual product of the extraction of metals in ore smelting. This pavement is manufactured in the same dimensions as cobblestones, can have all tones from gray to black, and it has an expressive brittle surface that is created by the application of gravel during production.

Or rather, the result was that the slag pavement is hardly produced any more but is in large quantities in stock at many traders for historical building materials (ask about the pollution, there is also dangerous slag from waste incineration). Cobblestones are also often bought second-hand, as old cobblestones look more natural than new ones.

Be careful when buying natural stones as new

If you do not want your natural stones to come from developing countries where they are mined in child labor that can sometimes only be described as cruel, you should actively ask your Guild stonemason dealer about natural stones for which a guarantee can be used to prove that they were made without exploitative child labor . If you come across voluntary commitments or certificates from Asian natural stone exporters, you should be extremely critical of them, internationally recognized certificates such as Xertifix or Fair Stone offer considerably more security. And you don’t have to believe certificates from UNICEF or UNESCO, if they come up again, they are fake – both organizations do not award any seals of quality for natural stones.

Which plaster image do you want?

The decision whether to use concrete or granite or other natural stone, and whether you choose cobblestone or other sizes, basically depends on the desired laying pattern, and the future appearance of the paved surface is in many cases the most important criterion for the selection.

Concrete paving stones are often laid out as composite stones that are specifically intended for a certain association laying. With these stones all kinds of plaster bandages can be produced, common plaster bandages are the half-staggered bandage, the bandage with T-paving (bone stones), the block bandage, the diagonal bandage and the Roman bandage. Natural stones can also be laid in many different stone associations, of which the row bond, the diagonal bond and the polygonal bond (network bond) are the best known. With natural stones, however, you can also create extremely artistic plaster patterns, e.g. B. a scaled arch pattern made of cobblestones, and many associations can be accentuated by curb stones.

If the pavement pattern is clear, you would still have to think about the noise development in the case of a pavement with traffic, which is different for each pavement, and thus come to a decision about the most suitable paving stones for you.

The substructure of your patch

For this paving stone, first create the appropriate substructure, depending on the load:

  • For cars you need a load-bearing base layer of around 25 cm, if the pavement is intended for pedestrians, around 15 cm is sufficient.
  • The paved surface is cleared of earth at this depth, here the base layer of a gravel-sand mixture (grain size 0/32) is placed.
  • When distributing it evenly, create the gradient for the water drainage, normally 2.5 percent.
  • When the base course is ready, the bedding is placed over it, 4 – 6 cm crushed sand or high-grade gravel.
  • This level, also known as the leveling layer, is also used for crushed sand or high-grade chippings.
  • This sand is distributed horizontally with a long aluminum slat.
  • To do this, pull off the sand with an aluminum slat, using previously laid iron or strings on the sides.

Laying paving stones

paving stones

Now you can start laying your paving stones, with a specific method for each paving bandage, which you can find in the instructions supplied by the manufacturer. The following points apply to almost every installation:

  • Most paved areas start in a corner.
  • If you have planned curbs that belong to the overall pattern, these are laid first, at least on one side.
  • However, this only makes sense if you use stones that can be calculated very precisely.
  • When laying, each stone should be tapped individually.
  • If you are laying with joints, you must check the joints with stones without spacers with the joint trowel and align them if necessary.
  • This will be much easier for you with your first patch if you use a joint trowel that is exactly the width of the joint.
  • During installation, you should also constantly check whether the surface is evenly horizontal.
  • You can use a spirit level for this, but a guideline (bricklayer’s cord) is usually better for larger areas.
  • When the surface has been laid, the joints are filled with joint sand (the same material as the base course) and grouted.
  • The paved area is now allowed to dry, then excess joint sand is removed with a broom.
  • Now the vibrator is used to compact (be careful, with some paving stones only work with a rubber apron, otherwise there will be scratches).
  • Then fill the joints again with sand, re-muddy them and clean after they have dried.
  • When that’s done, the edges should be attached to the sides.
  • This can e.g. B. can be done with mortar, which is “smeared” with a trowel at an angle to the pavement edge.
  • This slope could be filled with special edging stones that create a neat finish.

The laying technique shown here is the classic way of laying a pavement, which is still standard today for good reason. Paving stones in a loose bed result in a construction that reacts elastically to static and dynamic loads in an exemplary manner, which also has the advantage that temperature stresses are reduced through the possibility of shape adaptation. In addition, such a pavement always remains permeable to water. In most cases, the advantages of such laying outweigh the disadvantages of a temporary loss of joint filling compound and a possible settlement of green in the joints.

This laying is called “unbound laying”, from which you can already see that there is also a “bound laying” in which the bedding and joints consist of cement mortar (with additives). A bonded installation is not uncomplicated, requires a particularly deformation-resistant base layer and can withstand very little stretching or tension, it is therefore only recommended in exceptional cases.


Paving stones made of concrete and granite, especially cobblestones, when laid unbound, result in durable and at the same time variable paving slabs, the production of which can also be easily managed by do-it-yourselfers. All three stones can be laid in sizes that allow rapid progress, and all three stones allow a variety of design options.

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