If you do not want short and long ruts in the ground, the driveway must be paved. You can take matters into your own hands. In the following instructions you will learn everything you need to know about new and historic paving and how you can pave your driveway yourself.

Choosing the paving stones

Each pavement has its own set of requirements, so the first step in self-paving your driveway is choosing the pavers you want. You can choose from many different paving stones. Here is an overview.

Concrete plaster

Concrete paving stones have the following basic characteristics and differences:

  • consist exclusively of concrete, mixed with cement, small stones and water
  • In the case of paving stones for outdoor use, additives are added to the concrete so that the stones resist frost and road salt
  • There are single-layer concrete pavers and two-layer ones
  • Two-layer blocks have a core of very strong concrete, on which a facing shell is applied
  • two layers make the pavers cheaper overall to produce
  • Stones can be designed by giving the facing shell a special surface or a specific colour
  • Facing shells in various thicknesses, from approx. 8 to approx. 12 millimetres
  • Problems with poor processing: the core and facing shell separate from each other
  • Concrete paving stones are produced with or without a so-called bevel
    • slightly beveled edge, which has a decisive influence on the stone quality:
      • Stones without a bevel are laid close to each other without a joint, with a precisely defined surface, a few curb stones usually have to be cut here
      • Beveled stones are quicker and easier to lay because they are laid with a joint, which gives you a little play
      • create a slightly higher rolling resistance when driven over
  • Driving noise is also a little louder
    • a stone with a bevel is not the best choice for the driveway next to the study
  • do you want to pave a castle courtyard: Concrete paving stones are shaped so regularly by industrial production that they can be laid with the help of machines

Concrete paving stones – the different types

Various types of concrete pavers are made, differing in size and load capacity:

  • Concrete stone:
    • Square/rectangular
    • with/without broken edge
    • usually with spacers/nubs on the side for quick installation
    • Production of approx. 6cm to 2.4m width/length and 6cm to 1.4m depth
  • concrete slabs:
    • by definition, when the stone is at least four times as long as it is strong
    • Sizes from 20 x 20cm to 50 x 50cm are produced, recently also larger ones
    • Slabs are considerably more sensitive to breakage than concrete blocks, and higher-strength materials are used
    • Mostly square shape, but if laying in a diagonal bond is desired, there are also bishop’s miter shapes or corner shapes.
  • Concrete Verbundstein:
    • Almost countless forms
    • common basic shapes: single and double symmetrical shape, S-shape, I-shape, H-shape and polygonal shape
    • creates a bond with excellent load-bearing capacity both in the horizontal and in the vertical direction
  • Concrete decorative stones:
    • Concrete pavers with special colors or finishes
    • produced by special additives or surface treatments
    • Special concrete blocks, the surfaces of which enable the blind and visually impaired to find their way around thanks to incorporated nubs or grooves
  • Concrete racestone:
    • Stones with turf chambers that result in a water-permeable paved surface
    • also available in many formats and laying patterns
  • Drän-Betonsteine:
    • Not very resilient stones made of concrete with cavities
    • allow surface water to seep into the ground
    • Leakability decreases over time

natural stone paving

Natural stone paving is made from natural stones that are so strong that they can be used as paving stones. These are essentially basalt and gneiss, granite, greywacke and porphyry, which are felled in quarries and then further crushed with machines or by hand using a wide variety of methods. The paving stones, which are made of natural stone, are never completely identical in shape, color and quality. They shouldn’t and don’t have to. The tolerances of the “living stones” that are tolerated in the professional field are defined in special standards.

Natural stone paving has many advantages, this oldest form of paving is offered in many and very expressive variants. Natural stone is colour-fast and very durable, hard-wearing and insensitive to dirt and easy to care for, non-slip and perfect for unusual designs.

You can choose from a variety of sizes, from cobblestones (known as cobblestones) to paving slabs to mosaic pavers. In addition to these standardized natural stones, there are also stones that are “simply taken from nature” and laid to make paving, such as boulders, pebbles or cat’s heads (also called candy paving or plug-in pebbles, the size is between pebbles and boulders).

Buying new natural stone will cost you more than concrete blocks, and you’ll need to insist on certification if you want to be sure your stone isn’t made by cruel child labor. However, there are also numerous dealers who also have a good selection of natural stones to offer in their range of historical building materials.

Special patches

Paving surfaces, even frost-resistant ones, can also be covered with clinker paving. This variant has a long tradition, especially in areas with little natural stone such as northern Germany or the Netherlands. Clinker paving is produced in different formats, here too a distinction is made between clinker slabs and paving clinker.

Then there is a marginal phenomenon in the form of paving that you may have never heard of: There is wood paving, also known as end-grain parquet or end-grain parquet or in Bavaria and Austria called Stöckelboden. This wooden pavement consists of wooden blocks placed on end-grain wood, which are surprisingly strong. They are well known as pavements for historical road surfaces and were also used at the BuGa 2011 in Koblenz. Certainly not the pavement for the average driveway, but if you are looking for something very special …

Then you could also look for old cinder block pavers, which, unlike wood pavers, are even suitable for paving heavily used surfaces. Copper slag pavement was produced up until 1965 and is available in sufficient quantities from recyclers. They have an interesting dark color somewhere between anthracite and black, a very characteristic rough surface because they are grit strewn during manufacture and are available in roughly the size of cobblestones (but thinner). If it suits your house, that would be a really extraordinary idea.

Select paving stones according to use

Once you know which stones you like, it goes on: The selection of the paving stones depends on the desired laying pattern, for concrete paving there are various common options for laying in a bond (stretcher bond, staggered or with a double T, diagonal bond, block bond , Roman bond), but also countless possibilities of a differently patterned installation. Natural stones can also be laid in many patterns, in classic (network or polygonal bond, row paving, diagonal paving) or in free, perhaps self-conceived designs. But not every stone is suitable for every pattern, with the decision for a laying pattern you limit your choice of stones for the first time.

The second limitation concerns the noise level. The noise level changes depending on the maximum speed expected on the driveway and the nature of the surface of the paving. How carefully you have to choose here depends on the location of the entrance, of course. If your study is right next door, you should e.g. B. do without rough stone surfaces if possible.

The next step is to consider whether you want to edge your pavement with special curbs, such as a band in a new pattern. These curbs should then often be given a different colour, so they have to be calculated separately.

Now you can select your dream stones and have your needs calculated and delivered. If you use new bricks, you should consider beforehand where the pallets can be placed. Here you should alternately work stones from different palettes, as there may be slight color differences from palette to palette. Of course, this requires that the pallets are not stacked on top of each other.

The foundation for your driveway

The right substructure determines the resilience, and this is how it is made:

  • Accessible driveways for cars are given a load-bearing base layer of around 25 cm made from a mixture of gravel and sand.
  • A gravel-sand mixture with a grain size of 0-32 is usually used for the base course.
  • The earth at this depth must now be excavated.
  • Note the slope to the sides where the rainwater is to drain, it should normally be 2.5 percent.
  • Then apply 4 to 6 cm of sand as a bedding for the pavement.
  • Crushed sand or high-grade chippings are used for this leveling layer.
  • This sand is scraped off horizontally with a long aluminum slat.
  • To control an even surface height, you can run scraper irons on both sides or simply stretch strings.

Lay the paving stones

Now it’s time to start laying , which of course depends on the special features of the laying pattern you have chosen, but basically proceed as follows:

  • start with the curbs of one side if you have decided on such an accent
  • Lay pavers into the area from a corner unless pattern requires otherwise
  • Put a stone in the bed and tap it in place, the next stone next to it with the right joint width
  • A jointing trowel in the width of the joint helps to ensure the correct joint width
  • Check the level regularly during work using a plumb line and/or spirit level
  • once the surface has been laid, fill in the joint sand (suitable for the base layer) and smear it in
  • After drying, sweep the surface with a broom
    • then compact with a vibrator
  • Rent a vibrator at a hardware store
  • for sensitive stones, equip vibrators with a rubber apron that prevents scratches
  • After the first shaking, grout, fill and clean again
  • Fasten the finished area to the side at a driveway if it protrudes above the surface of the earth
  • apply with mortar, between the upper edge of the stone and the adjoining floor, at an angle
  • Then add edge stones to this incline
    • so a clean finish even without edging stones belonging to the pattern

Any reasonably skilled do-it-yourselfer can lay such a loose bed, and it has the advantage that it is very stable, but at the same time water-permeable and elastic. If you want to persuade someone to lay in cement and cement the joints, e.g. B. so that no weeds grow, you should think twice – such a pavement can only be produced with a lot of expertise and with considerable care in a way that does not lead to cracks in a short time.

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