banner image

How to Lay Paving

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to lay a paved area in your garden using Cement Australia Gap Sand & Concrete Mix.

Tools you will need:

  • 2 Screed rails (20mm x 40mm box metal)
  • Screed or straight piece of timber
  • Spirit level
  • Rubber mallet
  • String line
  • Hammer
  • Brick bolster
  • Tamping tool or compactor
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Wooden float
  • Tape measure
  • Garden hose


Materials you will need:

  • Bags of Concrete Mix 20kg
  • Bags of Gap Sand 20kg
  • Road base
  • Bedding sand
  • Timber pegs
  • Pavers
  • Access to water


Recommended products

For filling the joints in the pavers we recommend you use Cement Australia Gap Sand.  For haunching the edges of the area you pave we recommend you use Cement Australia Concrete Mix.

Concrete Mix

Hardens within 24 hours, can be finished to a smooth surface

Extra Strength PRO-50 Concrete Mix

Hardens within 24 hours, can be finished to a smooth surface

Gap Sand

A special blend of graded fine sand and additives to lock pavers in place

Before you get started

  • Read the Hints & Tips section
  • Ensure there are no pipes or services below the ground; contact Dial Before You Dig on 1100 or via their website for advice on the locations of submerged pipes and cables.
    get advice from Dial Before You Dig on the location of cables or pipes on your property
  • Plan to complete your paving in the morning before the area to be paved is in the full sun.
  • Coverage: One 20kg bag of Gap Sand fills 3.5m2 of brick size pavers or 12m2 of 400x400x50mm pavers each with 3mm joints.
  • Use our simple Calculator to work out how much Gap Sand & how many pavers you will need for your project.



Before you begin any project, please ensure you protect yourself with the following:

Look after yourself properly

  • Protect your skin and eyes.  Cement based products are alkaline and can cause burns to exposed skin or eyes.
  • When working outdoors, be SunSmart - Slip on some sun-protective clothing – Slop on sunscreen - Slap on a hat - Seek shade - Slide on some sunglasses.
  • All 20kg bags require 2 people to lift them safely. Always follow safe lifting procedures to avoid injury.  So you will need a friend to help you handle the 20kg bags - the more friends the merrier for larger paving jobs!


How to use  Gap Sand & Concrete Mix to lay paving

Step 1: Calculating the area to be paved

Paved areas are mostly square or rectangular, triangular or circular. To determine the area to be paved please use the formulas below:

  • Square or rectangular area in m2 = length x width
  • Triangular area in m2 = half width of base x height
  • Area of a circle in m2 =  µ (pi) x radius squared (or µr2)

These formulas provide the square metres of the area to be paved and you will need this information to be able to order your bedding materials.

Step 2: Calculate the materials required

To determine the amount of bedding materials required to create the stable bed for your new paved area:

  • Road base laid at 100mm depth
    • Amount required in cubic metres =  area in m2 x 0.1
  • Bedding sand laid at 50mm depth when compacted 
    • Amount required in cubic metres = area in m2 x 0.05

Step 3: Preparing the area to be paved

Mark out the area to be paved with a string line placing the timber pegs 50mm beyond the end of the paving to minimise the impact on the string line when digging the ground. Excavate the area to be paved to the depth of the paver plus 100mm for the compacted road base and 50mm for the compacted bedding sand (i.e. 150mm in total).

Tip: Ensure that the base is gently sloped away from any nearby buildings allowing for a fall of 20mm per metre.

Step 4: Place and compact the road base

Tip the road base into the area to be paved spreading it evenly to a depth of 110mm using a screed allowing for 10mm settlement when compacting. Compact the road base with a tamping tool thoroughly wetting the road base to ensure it compacts hard. Set the screed rails at the ends of the area to be paved to ensure that the base has the desired fall.

Step 5: Spread and compact the bedding sand

Place the bedding sand on top of the compacted road base to a depth of 60mm allowing for 10mm settlement as the pavers are placed on top. Set up the screed rails (20mm x 40mm box metal) at each end of the area to be paved using wooden stakes and level the bedding sand.

Step 6: Laying the pavers

Lay the pavers in rows according to the pattern that you have chosen ensuring that they are level with each other using a rubber mallet.  Butt joint the pavers together leaving a 3mm gap between them continually checking for level with a spirit level.

Tip: As you pave the area, you can rest on the pavers that have already been laid. 

Step 7: Cut the pavers as required

When there are spaces requiring less than a standard paver length, measure and make the required cuts to the paver using a brick bolster. Ensure that the cut pavers fit neatly and are butt jointed to the next pavers.

Step 8: Haunching the edges

Haunching the edges locks the pavers into place to prevent them loosening or dislodging from their intended position.  Dig a trench along the edge of the paving deeper than the bedding sand and road base. In a wheelbarrow, mix one 20kg bag of Concrete Mix with 2.5 litres of clean water with a shovel and using a trowel place the mixed concrete up against the side of the pavers in the trench you have dug.  Angle the surface of concrete half way up the side of the paver and smooth the surface using a wooden float.

Watch this video to see how to mix Concrete Mix.

Ensure that you leave space for the soil, turf or other finish that will added. Ensure that the concrete does not go under the pavers or onto the surface of the pavers and if it does remove it immediately.

Leave this haunching to set for 24 hours before compacting the pavers.

Step 9: Filling the joints and compacting

Spread Gap Sand over the full surface of the pavers and work the Gap Sand into the joints using a broom.

To compact the bedding sand, use a compactor for larger paved areas or a rubber mallet for smaller areas.  Sweep off any excess sand.  To activate the additive in the Gap Sand, use a hose on a light spray setting to thoroughly wet the whole paved area.  Be careful to avoid any flooding or directly hosing the joint which will wash the Gap Sand out of the cracks.

Step 10: Ready for use after 3 days

Allow 3 days for the concrete to harden and the Gap Sand to bond the pavers into place before using the paved area.


Hints & tips

  • Pavers are cut using a bolster and hammer.
  1. Mark the cut line using a marker pen
  2. Rest the paver on a bed of sand
  3. Line up the bolster on the top face of the paver placing the bevel to the waste side of the cut and strike with a hammer
  4. Repeat this process for the other 3 sides of the paver and the paver should break evenly
  • Alternatively the paver may be cut using a diamond tipped brick saw.
  • When preparing the base under the area to be paved use appropriate drainage to ensure that there is no water build up under the pavers, this will reduce the risk of subsidence.
  • If efflorescence (white powder) appears on the surface of the pavers, brush it off with a broom.
  • Don’t assume that the areas pavers butt up to are always straight – continually check with a string line. Pavers are not always exactly the same size so be sure to allow for variations and make small adjustments if required.
  • For rounder corners install pavers in a fan shaped pattern with even gaps. For sharper bends mark and cut wedge shaped border pavers to fit.