Critical considerations when paving

“I know nothing about paving”. What are the most important considerations when paving?

Installation, Installation, Installation

Use a reputable installer. The vast majority of site complaints we tend to, relate to bad workmanship and inadequate earth preparation by installers. Refer to our guide on the installation of paving prior to seeing an installer and make sure that the installer will comply with the guidelines provided. Point out the instructions, especially to general builders as the installation of paving is not their main line of expertise.

Be aware of scam artists that disappear with deposits etc. Check references and consult consumer bodies and public tools like Contractor memberships with industry bodies like the Master Builders Association or Concrete Manufacturers Association provide you with some form of recourse when complications arise.

There are reasons that some products and services are cheaper than others

We know this but we all push the boundaries in order to save money. The best advice in this regard is to be informed beforehand as to what can be expected.

Have reasonable expectations

Most people expect to pay less for paving than what they eventually do. Look at our page on the price of paving to get a feeling of what paving will cost. Remember, paving is expected to last a lifetime and in many instances it could also carry vehicles like a normal road. In South Africa paved areas are usually large as we have bigger yards and outside living spaces. We will always recommend saving a bit longer rather than to opt for something cheaper.

Paving is made to be rugged and is installed outdoors. Therefore don’t expect paving to look like ceramic tiles. When paving is newly laid it also doesn’t yet look its best. It needs a few months to settle down in a manner of speaking.

There are some practical considerations when it comes to buying paving:

In general paving trucks  are big and bulky. Make sure that they can gain access to residential estates and boomed off areas. Paving will generally be offloaded by cranes in bundled packs. It will however usually need to be manually moved to the place of installation. Therefore be very clear on where you want the paving offloaded.

Allow for breakages and cutting when ordering paving. 5-10% extra should be sufficient.

Preferably be present when paving is offloaded and inspect the packs or at least do it before unpacking and installation takes place. Once packs are broken there is always the possibility of passing blame between installers and manufacturers.

Is the installation of paving quick and easy?

The simple answer is no. It doesn’t matter what an installer tells you. Expect inconvenience. Most paving can’t be installed on top of existing paved materials. There will be digging, refuse and dust. Don’t ever try to rush the installation. Rather let installers do it properly instead of pushing them to rush the job. Remember, you would expect paving to last a lifetime so one or two days of additional inconvenience is nothing in the bigger scheme of things. It is also essential to take the recommended period of “curing” seriously, before using a driveway or patio. If you start using a driveway too soon, it will negatively affect the integrity of the installation.

Are some suppliers better than others?

All paving bricks or stones are not the same. Our aim with this statement is not to try and win your business. Just be aware that there are scrupulous paving manufacturers out there and that the cheapest option will very likely work out to cost the most in the long term.

What paving material is the best?

Make a wise decision when it comes to the type of paving material you select. Refer to our paving comparison for an unbiased guide to the most common paving materials used in South Africa. Again, this guide is not a selling tool. All paving materials have advantages as well as disadvantages.

Read the next article in a road map to buying paving
Back to road map to buying paving 

Apart from specialist installers, most builders, handymen and many DIY enthusiasts also install paving. On face value it seems like a relatively simple trade but there are things that need to be considered carefully when buying or installing paving. Herewith a helpful list of short articles to consult when researching the purchase of paving or when problems arise after installation.