How to Properly Pave Your Driveway
Your driveway is an important part of your home’s general curb appeal. When a driveway is cracked or covered in oil and dirt, it can make your entire yard look less appealing! Likewise, a truly beautiful driveway can help elevate your yard, making everything around it look nicer and more sophisticated. Here is a complete guide about how to pave a driveway.
How can you turn your driveway into a piece of hardscaping art? It all comes down to two things: great tools and great technique. While you can hire professionals to tackle this job (and if you’re a landscaping novice, we recommend it), it is possible to pave a beautiful driveway all on your own. Here’s how!
Start with the Right Tools
Before you can begin any hardscaping project, you must make sure you have all the tools you’ll need for success. Obviously, your specific needs will depend on your specific circumstances (the finished look you’re going for, the current state of your driveway, etc.), but most paving projects will require the following:
· Garden stakes
· A screed board (or any large piece of lumber you can use to flatten your surfaces)
· Cementitious adhesive
· Joint filling material (any kind you prefer)
· A broom
Next, you’ll have to decide what kind of pavers you want to install. There are a wide variety of options out there – concrete, brick, flagstone, even marble – but if you ask us, the best material you can use is a set of Italian porcelain pavers.
Benefits of Porcelain Pavers
Porcelain pavers are durable, attractive pavers made from sand, quartz, feldspars, kaolin, clays, and other raw materials. These pieces are fired at very high temperatures (2,240 degrees Fahrenheit!), which make them incredibly strong; in fact, porcelain pavers can handle breakage loads up to 2,200 lbs.
Strength isn’t the only advantage porcelain pavers have. They are also skid-resistant (even when wet), easy to clean, and resilient against the elements. Even if your driveway endures years of rain, frost, and blistering sunlight, your pavers will maintain their original color! These features have made porcelain a popular choice among homeowners in recent years.
If you decide to use porcelain pavers on your driveway, you will need a few additional tools. Make sure you have the following:
· A wet cut tile saw with a diamond blade
· A paver clamp
· A rubber mallet (for tamping down pavers)
Once you have everything, you’ll be ready to beautify your driveway!
Step One: Prepare the Existing Driveway
The first step of any home improvement project is taking stock of your existing space and decide about how to pave a driveway. Most driveways are already fully paved with a solid layer of concrete – but the condition of that concrete will vary from one yard to another.
If your current driveway is in poor shape – if it has lots of potholes, for example – you may have to remove the existing concrete (with the help of a professional). But if your current driveway is in fairly good shape, preparation is easy. Just make sure the pavement is clear of any debris (weeds sprouting from cracks, pebbles, etc.). Make sure you have a level, clear space on which to lay down your pavers!
Step Two: Lay Down Your Base Layer
Your porcelain pavers will need something to stick to (or else they may not stay in place on your driveway). Therefore, the next step is to lay down your cementitious adhesive. Make sure you use an adhesive that suits your specific pavers; you can find this information from your manufacturer’s instructions or by asking your seller.
Pour your adhesive over the concreted area and use a screed board (or other level board) to spread the adhesive and get a nice, flat layer. This will ensure that your pavers have a level surface on which to lay – which ultimately ensures your driveway is nice and level, too!
Step Three: Place Your Pavers
You’ve reached the most exciting step: placing your pavers on the driveway! This is the moment that your driveway shifts from bland or unappealing to absolutely beautiful. However, it is still important to make sure your placement is done properly.
Start at the lowest corner of your driveway and set your pavers onto the cementitious adhesive. Place them in your desired pattern, taking care to set each paver at least 4mm from the ones beside it (porcelain pavers can NEVER directly touch each other). If you need to cut down any pavers to fit your driveway, use the wet cut blade (other saws can damage the tiles).
Step Four: Fill the Joints
At this point, you should have a lovely-looking driveway filled with porcelain tiles – but you also have small gaps in between each one. Don’t worry, you’re not going to leave them this way! The next step is to use a joint filler to close these tiny gaps.
If you’re paving your driveway with porcelain, we recommend using some type of sand to fill your joints. You can choose from traditional sand, a sand/cement blend, or polymeric sand. Whatever you choose, make sure you follow the instructions that come with your specific type of joint filler, and ALWAYS make sure to clear away any residual sand when you’re done.
Step Five: Tamp Down Your Driveway
You’re almost done. The last step in paving your driveway is to make sure your pavers are fully secure. If you’re using concrete or stone, this would be the time to use a plate compactor, which uses vibration to help your pavers settle into the adhesive. However, this is NOT the method you should use with porcelain pavers; a plate compactor can damage the tiles and ruin all your beautiful work!
Instead, use a rubber mallet to gently (yet securely) tamp down your porcelain pavers. This will ensure that your tiles settle deeply without causing any unnecessary force. Once you’re done, refill any joints that need a little extra sand and repeat the tamping process.
Just like that, your driveway will be ready for use – and it will look better than ever before!
Upgrade Your Hardscape with Elegance by NT Trading
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your driveway, renovate your kitchen, or hire a team to renovate your yard, the NT Trading team is here for all your hardscaping needs! Click here to contact us today. We can’t wait to help you with your next big project.