screed laying course to block height or proud?

15 Dec 2008
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United Kingdom
I'm laying some block paving (200mm x 100mm x 50mm charcoal blocks) for a path in my garden. I have been following the excellent guide at but wanted to clarify something.

On the step-by-step guide he advocates spreading, levelling and compacting the laying course sand to the correct level...

But on the page on screeding he advocates screeding the bedding layer so that the blocks will sit a few mm proud to accommodate final compaction with a vibrating plate.

As an amateur I wanted to see what the opinion of people who regular lay block paving on a a bed of sharp sand is?

I was also wondering if you do level the bedding layer so that it is proud do you not compact it once it is level so as to allow the blocks to be compacted once laid? My thinking being that if you compact it and it is proud then will the blocks be able to be compacted level once installed?

Informed opinions welcomed please.
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My interpretation of "screed to the correct level" is to make the allowance for compaction as directed in the "screed" advice. In other words, the correct level is 5-10mm high when the blocks are laid so that compaction presses them down level.

I have successfully laid a couple of block driveways in this manner so perhaps you are misinterpreting the directions. I have seen pro's compacting the bedding layer prior to laying the blocks but I just tapped it down so that the compaction brought the blocks down to the correct level.
Once you have laid and compacted the stone you then spread the screed sand about and compact this so that it fills any voids remaining in the stone.

You then screed off your scattered and compacted sand to your desired levels.

The desired level should be set so that when the block is laid on top, the block should be proud of the finished level by say 15mm. This will take into account that the block will sink down 15mm when compacted.
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Same as Trowelerman, 3 passes with the whacker over the sand, screed of, to required level.
Lay the paviors, run whacker over, they will hardly drop.

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