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Questions to ask a Paving Contractor

Below are some important questions to ask your contractor and find out if he is quoting for paving that will last a lifetime or fail very soon. DO NOT ACCEPT THAT A CONTRACTOR KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING. You have to live with your installed paving, not the contractor.

Just click on the below questions to see typical responses obtained from good, mediocre and poor installers.

Important questions irrespective of the laying method:

Are you going to dig up any soil?

Are you going to construct a foundation (sub base)?

Do you use a roller to compact the foundation (sub base)?

Where is water going to flow and drain?

Will you draw pavers from different packs when installing?

How are you going to install the edges?

Will you use a fixed or flexible method of installation?

Flexible paving installation is the globally accepted norm and when done correctly, it will last a lifetime. This method is specified by SANS 1200MJ, the official standard for the installation of segmented paving in South Africa. We recommend this method for SmartStone cobbles and pavers smaller than 222mm x 222mm in size intended to carry any vehicular traffic. Many installers however prefer to also install cobbles and driveway pavers according to the fixed method, especially on smaller areas. To be fair, it is sometimes better and carries less risk, especially when earthworks are not done according to our guidelines.

Fixed paving installations create a solid concrete slab with the pavers bedded on this slab and forming part of it. All SmartStone Flagstones (Pavers larger than 222mm x 222mm) should preferably be installed according to this method.

Most important though, is never to mix the two philosophies. In a fixed installation, use a concrete bed and cement or other fixed joints and a flexible installation use sand for bedding and jointing. Sand on one and cement on the other simply doesn’t work.

When doing a Flexible installation:

Do you use screeding rails with a plank or similar to even out bedding sand?

Do you use a plate compactor (with a protected plate) or roller (with vibration switched off) to level pavers once they are laid and bedding sand is still moist?

Will you use sand to grout the paving?

When doing a Fixed installation:

Will you bed my pavers on concrete?

How will you ensure the flagstones don't come loose from this concrete bed?

Paving grouting often fails. What measures do you take to make grouting last?

Please however understand that you will pay more for paving installation to last a lifetime. In some instances it is advisable to ask a contractor for two different quotes. One for installing according to our guidelines and the other with shortcuts to make it cheaper.

Paving Installation Guidelines

SmartStone installation guidelines to serve as instruction to your contractor.

Paving Basics

The most important things to understand about paving.

Head Office

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