Installing A Cobblestone Driveway Apron

Dressing up your driveway has become easier than ever. Now you can have cobblestones without having to lay them in one at a time. Manufactures have now made mats that can be laid out that are made of concrete cobblestones. The project is fairly difficult and takes roughly two days to complete but can be well worth it. The difficult part is the preparation of the driveway before laying in the mats.

Before cutting away part of your driveway to install the apron, you must ensure where you want it, then drive a nail into the asphalt or mark with chalk if your driveway is concrete. After finalizing the point where you’ll begin your cut, you must mark it with a chalk line. This is easier if you have someone to help you keep the line tout so that you can snap it well. Once marked, you have an outline for the top part of your apron.

Now that you have a cut line you can excavate the bed for your apron. Use a concrete saw and gently score along the cutline so that you have a good groove. Then attach the garden hose to the saw fitting to keep the block cool as you now cut away the driveway. Make sure you don’t push into the driveway, just let the saw cut and be careful not to hit too deep or you’ll hit aggregate.
Once cut, use a hammer drill to breakaway the remaining slabs of the driveway until you get to the street. Be sure to clear away all the smaller chunks as well.

Now that the driveway is excavated, you can prepare the bed for the driveway apron. The bed must be a 1/2” deeper than the height of your concrete cobblestones. You should use mason’s line and stakes at midpoints along the width of the bed to ensure that the heights are correct. Excavate the bed or add to it where needed. Use the aggregate to build up the bed if that’s what’s required.

Once your bed is the depth it needs to be add 3/4” layer of leveling sand and spread it evenly with a bow cake. Check your progress by setting a cobblestone along the edge of the bed. The cobblestone should stick up above the edge by 1/4”.

Now you will use a plate compactor over the leaving sand to pack it down smooth and flush. You have compacted it enough if you can walk all over it without leaving tracks.

After you’ve prepared the bed it’s time to lay in the cobbles. Begin laying in the concrete cobble mats by starting at a corner edge furthest from the street and by the mat. You will need to use a space between the edges and the mat to allow for growth after the mat is laid out. Also make sure to keep the cobble mat parallel to the driveway edge, but not the sides of the driveway which can sometimes fan out on the sides.

You will need to interlace the cobble mats by using side cutting pliers. Use the pliers to cut off the half cobble from the mat grid and do the same on the other mat then lay down the other mat so that it interlocks. Do this process until the width of the driveway is reached. Any cobbles that prevent you from lining up with the edge of the driveway should be removed with pliers.

After the first cobble mat course is laid out, lay down the second ensuring that it is parallel with the first. Make sure to stagger your second mat so that the cobbles in the first mat don’t line up with the second. Continue this process until the entire open area of the bed is filled in.

After all the courses are put in place you will likely need to fit in half cobbles and custom cut cobbles because the driveway sides don’t always fit perfectly with the cobblestone mats. Use the chalk to mark how cobblestones need to be cut. The cobbles can be cut to size with a mason’s chisel. Rough edges can be broken away with a brick hammer. Do the same for all cobbles that don’t fit. Fill in all the side gaps, but make sure to leave a gap for the grout.

Now that the cobble mats are laid in and the edges are filled in with loose cobbles, it’s time to prepare for the grout. First the cobbles need to be compacted. Lightly wet the cobblestones then run over the surface of the cobbles with a plate compactor. Do this until the cobbles are compacted into the leveling sand and they are flush with the rest of the driveway. If there are high or low spots in the apron. Lift the mat and either add leveling sand or excavate until it’s right. Make sure to compact the area after adjusting underneath it. Compact the smaller area with a hand tamper. After leveling the cobblestones, apply duct tape along the edges of the driveway to make sure they are not strained by grout when it’s added.

Mix the grout by combining all the ingredients into a cement mixer and letting it run for a few minutes. Run the mixer until the grout has the proper viscous texture. Before pouring the grout you need to prepare the cobblestones by wetting them. Wet them well enough to ensure that the grout won’t stick to the top of the stones.

Now you can pour the grout. Only pour as much grout as you can easily spread before it starts to harden, which normally takes around two minutes.

Spread the grout out diagonally with a double foam squeegee. Make sure to fill the joints in between the cobbles evenly and remove the excess grout. Before the grout becomes too hard, use a push broom to clear away crumbs of grout from the cracks. Let the grout cure for three days to be on the safe side before driving on it.

My name is Jonathan and I’m committed to writing about various functions of construction, including remodelling and renovations through professional builder services or otherwise.