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DIY Installation Guide

ebe9ac202a3149b75a8ae8adb2e1d8a7_MThe correct installation of your SmartStone product is vital to the overall appearance of your investment. Your SmartStone product should not only enhance the look and value of your property but should be practical and long lasting too.

Contractor or DIY?

We recommend that an experienced contractor installs all SmartStone products. To achieve the best results from your pavers it is recommended that your base preparation, bedding layer and grouting be specified by a qualified engineer. The paving installation should be done by a paving contractor who is familiar with the installation of SmartStone products.
If any adverse soil conditions are apparent, i.e. clay or shale, these should be discussed with your engineer.

If however, you choose to install the product yourself consider the following steps to ensure a successful outcome.


Installation of Cobbles, Pavers & Flagstones
01. Base Preparation
a. Drainage
b. Subgrade
c. Base course
d. Bedding course
02. Setting out
03. Handling of products
04. Laying
05. Cutting
06. Edge Restraints
07. Joint Filling
a. Rigid Installation
b. Flexible Installation
08. Compaction of Paving
09. Paving Guidelines
10. Colour
11. Product Combos
12. Installation of Cladding
13. Applying Sealants

Installation of Cobbles, Pavers & Flagstones

1.Base Preparation It is critical to the long lasting stability of your paving that the supporting base for your pavers be properly constructed. The four main aspects of the base preparation are:
a. Drainage
b. Subgrade
c. Base-course
d. Bedding course

a. Drainage Good drainage prevents the accumulation of sub-surface water underneath the paved area known as sub-surface ponding.

  • The excavated surface should have a fall (minimum 1:50) so that any moisture will flow to a drainage point.
  • It is recommended that the top of the paving is a minimum of 75mm below the damp proof course of the building.
  • Place a plastic membrane against any exposed foundation.

b. Subgrade The sub-grade is the upper part of the soil, natural or constructed, which supports the loads transmitted by the overlying paving.

  • All vegetation and top soil must be removed.
  • Must be well drained and compacted.

c. Base Course The base-course is the foundation for the pavers.

  • The base-course should be made from gravel or G5 and can be stabilised using cement.
  • Varies in thickness between 50mm and 120mm depending on the type of sub-grade and whether the paved area is for a footpath or driveway.
  • Footpath pavers can be laid without a base-course where the sub-grade material is compact and uniform.
  • The compacted surface should be tight or close knit to prevent migration downwards of the bedding course material.

d. Bedding Course The layer that the pavers rest on. Well graded, washed river sand is used as a bedding course material for paving.

  • Between 20mm and 25mm thick.
  • Carefully screed (level) with a straight edge.
  • Must be moist when the pavers are placed.
  • Cement may be added to the base-course to further stabilise this layer.

2. Setting out Ensuring that your paving pattern stays aligned.

  • Use setting out lines (this is a grid of string /nylon lines spaced at exact intervals).
  • Constantly re-check your lines in all directions while installing the pavers.

3. Handling of products To minimize damage to flagstones and tiles during transport.

  • Transport in an upright position.
  • Carry pavers by hand to the laying area, underside to underside.
  • Cobbles should be transported in a wheelbarrow and be packed and unpacked individually by hand.

4. Laying the Pavers SmartStone products are designed to resemble natural stone and do have variances in dimensions and colours.

Product must be drawn from different pallets to ensure blending of different batches.

  • Use a rubber mallet to bed large flagstones, ensuring that any highs and lows are evened out.
  • Uneven pavers should be rotated to match adjoining pavers or be replaced and used for cutting.
  • Concrete is brittle. Consequently it can be expected that up to 5% of the product will have small chips when delivered. This is normally allowed for by the paver when ordering. Chipped products should be used for cutting where possible.

5. Cutting If necessary, SmartStone pavers can be cut:

  • With a brick cutting machine or;
  • With an angle grinder (with a diamond tipped blade).

6. Edge Restraints Restrain the perimeter of the laid paving to prevent the washing out of the bedding sand (this will cause subsidence of the pavers on the edge and could result in movement of the pavers). Good edge restraints are:

  • reinforced concrete
  • kerbs e.g. Tulbagh Barrier Kerbs
  • edge pavers bedded in a concrete base.

7. Joint Filling: There are two types of paving installations; namely rigid and flexible paving. With the rigid installation method the spaces between the pavers are filled with a wet slurry mix known as grouting. Rigid installations are not recommended for DIY enthusiasts. With the flexible installation method dry sand is swept in between the pavers to secure them in place.

Please see details on the joint filling materials and their respective installation techniques below:

a. Grouting for a Rigid Installation Cast stone products are porous and must be thoroughly wet prior to the application of the slurry to avoid cement staining.

  • A 1:3 cement / plaster sand slurry mix is strongly recommended. See installation tips.
  • When a slurry is used, ensure that excess grouting is washed off the textured surface with a fine hose spray, or with a sponge immediately.
  • Rinse sponge frequently in clean water. Any residue will result in cement staining.
  • Freshly grouted pavers should not be trafficked.
  • Cordoning off the new paving for 7 days, with no pedestrian or vehicle traffic, is recommended.

b. Jointing Sand for a Flexible installation Alternatively, fine plaster sand or building sand may be used to fill the joints between cobbles and pavers in driveway applications.

8. Compaction of Paving It is recommended that newly laid pavers be compacted by:

  • A light roller compactor with the vibrator switched off. This is the method used for cobbles and pavers.
  • A rubber mallet. This is the method used for flagstones.

9. Paving Guidelines The desired application will determine which SmartStone product to select for your project. As a rule of thumb:

Product Thickness:Suitable for:Application:
20mm thick tilesIndoor pedestrian use and must be laid on a concrete baseLounges, kitchens and patios
40mm thick paversInterior and exterior pedestrian trafficPatios, pool surrounds, walkways and landscaping
50mm thick pavers and cobblesLight vehicle trafficResidential driveways
60 – 73mm thick pavers and cobblesHeavier, commercial vehicle trafficCar parks of shopping centres, hotels and office parks

*  SmartStone products are generally slip resistant but it is recommended that a rougher textured paver is selected for steep driveways

10. Colour A wide range of colours are available, the most popular being Sandstone and Charcoal. These colours can be effectively used in combination to form a pattern or motif. Variations do occur in the colour and texture of pavers, due to our unique method of manufacturing, and natural changes in the raw materials used. When laying the products they should be drawn from various pallets rather than one pallet at a time, to ensure an even flow of the colour blend. See installation tips for more information on Colour.

11. Product Combos

  • Huguenot cobbles, and Seaward cobbles with Boardwalk paver (rough and smooth texture contrast)
Walkways & Pool Surround
  • Boardwalk Pavers with Shepstone Pavers
Pool Surrounds
  • Use darker colour copings on steps
Edging and borders
  • Use contrasting colours of the same product
  • Use 4 Huguenot cobbles as a border to one Shepstone Paver
  • Use longer products side by side as a border, this is known as a soldier course. The following products are recommended, Magalies Paver, Vintage Cobbles & Paduan Pavers

12. Installation of Cladding

Installation patterns are a matter of preference but cladding such as Wynberg Cladding is generally installed in regular course heights.

  • Wall surface and rear of the cladding tile must be rough and free of any loose material to ensure proper adhesion.
  • Apply with tile adhesive or mortar (1:3 cement / plaster sand ratio).
  • Mortar is suitable for grouting.
  • Lay a test pattern on the ground before you start cladding
  • Grout from top down to avoid unnecessary cleaning of cladding.

13. Applying sealants

Sealants may be used to prevent staining and to enhance the colour of the SmartStone product installed.

  • Allow paving to dry thoroughly before applying the sealant.
  • Seek professional advice before applying sealant.
  • Copings and pavers around salt chlorinated swimming pools should be sealed but pavers must be totally dry and free from efflorescence.
  • Always seal after efflorescence has subsided
  • When using sealant we suggest that you do a test patch on extra pavers.

Head Office

Cnr Cresset and Musket Roads
Midrand Industrial Park
Phone: 011 310 1161