Block paving equipment and tools
Stepping up the block paving game.
Block paving is a great way to decorate driveways, paths, roadways, patios, and pedestrian walkways. The cuboid type blocks can be laid in several different patterns, such as herringbone basketweave and stretcher bond, to create a unique design depending on the needs of the customer. Commercial and residential landscapes alike are increasing opting for standalone block paving or combining neat, well laid edging and design features with the practicality of tarmac but whether you’re a professional or a keen DIY’er there are some key innovations that are helping landscapers of all abilities to really step up their game.
What is Block cutting?
Whilst a block paving drive, or a pathway looks great it’s physical, hard work to do it well and avoid having to go back and correct mistakes (i.e. re-lay the whole thing!). Most commercial and domestic properties benefit from the aesthetic appeal that block paving brings but unfortunately for us all none of these properties will typically have regular sized, even spaces to work with which typically means that blocks will need to be cut to size for both edging and central areas.
Traditionally that meant chiselling or splitting blocks manually but luckily we now have innovative equipment that cuts block paving elements up to 120mm seamlessly leaving the block with a nice clean edge.
When it comes to block cutting there are two different methods you can use, and at ULS we often hear from contractors that they are split on which is the best one to use. The first method is using a power saw and the second is a manual block cutter. Both of which have their pros and cons.
Which is better Block Splitter or Power Saw?
When it comes down to it, there’s not much of a difference between the two and purely comes down to the operator. When we’ve spoken to our contractors, there tends to be a 50/50 split on which is better. Both are fairly easy to use, if you’re using a Power Saw, it’s a simple as following a marked line on the block with the average cut taking around 15 seconds. However, with a block splitter, the cut is near enough immediate – though more skill is required to get the knack of the cut.
Other than time and skill needed to operate the equipment, the main differences often stated between splitting paving blocks when using a block splitter over a power saw, basically comes down to the amount of dust and noise that is created.
For jobs in residential areas where noise needs to be kept to a minimum, a Power Saw may not be your first choice. Power saws tend to be quite noisy and create an enormous amount of dust, if this is your preference for block cutting, it is advised that some sort of dust suppression equipment is used. Typically, if you’re on a building site it may be your first choice for ease of use.
However, if you’re looking for a quieter, quicker and low dust producing alternative, then a block splitter might be for you, and it can be used in any environment. In comparison to the power saw, the noise is low and so is the dust that is created by the splitter, eradicating the need for any additional dust suppression equipment.
A final point to consider is when using a power saw, the constant changing of cutting discs and even the lifespan of a power tool will be a lot less than a quality block splitter such as the Probst STS-33-F block Splitter.
Preparation is the key
Now we know from our many landscaping clients that getting the preparation right for any block paving job can be the difference between right first time and having to re-do work that you’ve already done, costing you time and money. Consistent foundations, clean markings and precise curves to work with can save you considerable headache down the line, we asked Andrew Parker from ASA Garden Products & Landscaping for his take on the right preparation for a perfect block paving finish:
“People and businesses are taking much more care of their external spaces and landscapes than they ever have, and everything comes from good preparation, the most important part of any job is what’s underneath it. If you skimp on those it’s a recipe for disaster, we’ll typically use around a foot of hardcore type 1 before we do anything else. Especially with bigger areas tools like the block cutters also help us make less mess, cut really neatly for a great finish and saves us loads of time.”
The difference that screeding makes
Hand screeding is probably the least favourite job for many landscaping and block paving professionals, it’s tough on the knees, time consuming and even when using a traditional wooden system can take valuable time away from your teams.
ULS favourite Probst are a block pavers dream with their EP-UNI HAND SCREEDING SYSTEM, an innovative designed one person tool that according to Andrew cut prep time by half;
"it’s a lot quicker, the guys don’t have to get on hands on knees to pull the screed through and to be fair its absolute foolproof, I’d thoroughly recommend it”
This simple but effective addition to the block pavers tool box allows one person to prepare the foundations without kneeling in wet sand at all, the handle is connected to an aluminium, non flexing profile to let you screed small and medium areas perfectly, extending upto 3000mm for the larger model too.
The system also couples with Probst Screeding Rails and Screeding Rollers to make matching existing profiles and screeding larger sites consistently simple.
Safety first in Block Paving
Being on site as always comes with its own set of risks but for landscaping and block paving professionals lifting, cutting and slip, trip and fall incidents can mean lost income and lost opportunities. We definitely can’t take away all the hazards of site life but we can make it a little bit easier to avoid trapped fingers, bad backs and broken toes! Here’s just a few of our top tips:
GRABO PRO BATTERY VACUUM LIFTER
The Grabo Pro Vacuum Lifter, designed for professionals that needs a reliable portable vacuum lifter that can securely grab almost any surface with ease. Can even lift rough, porous, and wet surfaces perfect for landscapers and tilers
Designed to lift most landscaping materials such as concrete slabs, natural stone, tiles and other suction tight building materials. Back Friendly and extremely efficient accessory.
PROBST SAFEFLEX SF (PAVER/BRICK) CLAMP
The Probst Safeflex is an innovative clamping device to safely secure bricks, pavers and slabs before cutting. This paver clamp makes cutting with angle grinder or disc cutter easier, safer and gives a more precise cut.
When it comes to block paving, there’s more than just block cutting to consider. At Ultimate Lifting Solutions we offer a variety or tools and equipment to help you with all your block paving needs. Whether you’re levelling out ground, marking out, cutting, or simply laying block paving, we have a range of high-quality equipment from market leading manufacturers such as Probst to help you create a clean and professional block paving finish.
From screeding handle kits and rails to block paving cutters. We have tools to help mark out new paving designs and also supply a block paving kit including a block paver hammer, block paver extractor and a block paver aligner that will leave all the finished design in perfect neat lines giving that professional finish.
Check out some of our featured products below:
Probst STS 33F Block Cutter
If you’re looking for equipment that provides a cleaner cut with minimal effort, the Probst STS-33-F Block and Stone Splitter has been designed with more splitting force resulting in a sharper finish. The newly designed triangular shaped cutting blade gives a cleaner more accurate cut compared to that on the discontinued Probst AL33 Block Cutter which had a square blade. Also, as the splitter is manual, there is very little dust emitted and does not require any water to operate making it not only better for the environment that a traditional power saw, but also better for the operator too. Simple and easy to use, it’s definitely a great option for anyone looking to do block paving.
Grabo Pro Battery Vacuum Lifter
Rather than using your hands for lifting, have you thought about using a lifter? The Grabo Pro is revolutionary piece of equipment that can be used to lift a range of materials. This battery powered tool securely lifts almost any surface with ease. Rough, porous, and wet surfaces! lift, transport and lay all types of porous materials concrete slabs, natural stones, tiles, and the absorbent building materials
Ready to revolutionise the operator’s life, this small vacuum weighs just 1.5kg, but had a lifting weight of up to 120kg, connecting to any surface. So, whether you’re installing windows or doors, to moving furniture and boxes, it is a perfect lifting aid to any landscaper or tiler to help lift and transport heavy tiles and patio slabs.
BB1104 Brick and Block Barrow
To create efficiency on the job, you might want to consider the BB1104 Brick, Block and Paver barrow. This handy piece of equipment has been designed to increase efficiency by allowing multiple amounts of bricks, blocks kerbstones and even small or large slabs and pavers to be transported at the same time. This simple but effective equipment from manufactures, Eichinger, will save you valuable time whilst making life easier on site. The barrow also reduces the risk of industry that is often associated with lifting.
There you have it, our block paving essentials. We do, however, have a range of equipment for block paving requirements. If you’re looking for block paving equipment you can find more here. Alternatively, if you are unable to find what you need get in touch with us here: firstname.lastname@example.org