South Gardens, Elephant Park
Herringbone clay pacing outside modern development

How do I install clay pavers?

With benefits such as longevity, durability and colourfastness, clay is the natural choice as an external and internal construction solution for commercial and residential landscaping applications.

Clay pavers are suitable for flexible or rigid construction, unlocking the option for cost savings across both smaller installations and projects of scale.


The sub-grade is the underlying ground, the lowest point of a paving structure. The sub-base is a layer of aggregate material laid on top of the sub-grade, which acts as the main load-bearing layer of paving.

The sub-grade should be prepared to the engineer’s required specification, with any unsuitable material removed, replaced with appropriate material and compacted. The sub-base should normally be a well compacted Type 1 stone sub-base material compacted to the designed thickness, considering traffic loadings and suitability of the sub-grade. 150mm is typical on good ground but is subject to site conditions.

Unpacking pavers

In order to obtain the correct blend of colour, we recommend mixing from a minimum of 3 packs of pavers. The paver packs require unpacking vertically - not horizontally, layer-by-layer. This will equally distribute minor size variations of the pavers over the entire pavement and will help to maintain the correct bond pattern. Damaged or broken pavers must not be used although they can be used as cut pieces for infilling.

  • Unload the pack onto a firm, even surface.
  • Wear protective gloves and goggles to open packs and always stand clear of the pack to avoid any falling pavers.
  • Place a hand on the corner of the pack, over the strap band which is to be cut – this will ensure that the strap is released downwards and away from the body.
  • Using a suitable tool, cut the strap at a point about 3 pavers down from the top of the pack.
  • Before laying pavers, site personnel should check that pavers are as expected and that there are no obvious defects.

Edge constraint

It is imperative that solid edge restraints are created along the perimeter of all paved areas to restrict lateral movement (creep) resulting from the action of deceleration and turning forces. They should be adequate to prevent the escape of the bedding course material beneath the paver surface. When using kerbs ensure the concrete bed/haunch has matured before any compaction is undertaken. 


Cutting clay pavers

Clay paving should be cut using a multi bladed mechanical paver splitter or bench mounted water-cooled power saw to achieve the best finish. Clay paving should not be cut to less than a quarter of the original size along the length of the paver and never cut across the width. When required complimentary fittings and inboard cutting should be used. 

Bedding course

Bedding sand provides the strength that ensures that pavers can accommodate extreme loading in a flexible paving construction.

Bedding course material for conventional pavements should be naturally occurring sand and should be selected in accordance with the recommendations given in BS7533: Part 3 Code of Practice for Laying Precast Concrete Paving Blocks and Clay Pavers for Flexible Pavements.

Bedding course material should have a 25- 40mm compacted thickness over the specified thickness of sub-base. The use of a geotextile below bedding course to prevent migration of sand may be advisable if the sub-base is open textured. 

Laying pattern

The laying pattern design is fundamental to the process to the successful laying of clay paving. Due to the natural characteristics of clay paving, manufacturing tolerances may not permit the achievement of perfectly straight lines. Joints can be re-aligned using string lines and infill units can be incorporated as the pattern develops. It is recommended that string lines be placed every 6-8 courses.

Pavers should be laid in the designated bond pattern working from an edge restraint, existing laying face edge or a centreline. Mechanical force should not be used to bring pavers into intimate contact and should be laid with a joint width of 2-5mm forms between each paver, with a target joint width of 3mm to ensure there is no point contact between pavers. The laying of any clay paver, with or without nibs, will require the opening or closing up of joints to maintain good lines throughout due to the tolerances of a natural clay product.


When a sufficient area of pavers has been laid, a fine kiln dried silica jointing sand must be brushed into the joints. The pavers should then be compacted onto the sand bed using a vibrating plate compactor with a rubber sole-plate to any avoid damage to the surface.

After compaction, any damaged pavers must be immediately removed and replaced. Any unevenness or differences in height must be adjusted. 


After compaction, a further application of fine kiln dried silica sand should be brushed into the joints until all joints are entirely full. Failure to ensure joints are full before opening the area to traffic may cause movement and loosening of the paved surface. Upon satisfactory completion, traffic may be permitted to use the pavement. Do not use high powered suction cleaners on newly laid areas of flexible paving. 


Wienerberger clay pavers are resistant to chemicals and harsh cleaning fluids, so are best cleaned using biodegradable detergents. However, we don’t recommend that new paving is cleaned within the first three months.

You can use a pressure washer to clean clay paving, however we would not recommend this on a regular basis. The high pressure can disrupt the paving bed surface and jointing material, which can cause pavers to crack or come loose. Mechanical or high-water pressure cleansing operations will require re-sanding of the joints. We do not recommend that sealants are used on clay paving products, as any dirt or spills can be easily cleaned up. Oil will not penetrate the body of clay pavers, it will sit on the surface until it is washed away. 

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