There are numerous ways to install concrete slabs, bitumen set, pedestal set, mortar set, sand set on a concrete base. Below is traditional sand set installation on an aggregate base, which is common in residential applicaitons.

Concrete paving slabs require two more hands to install, whereas pavers only require one hand. Some manufacturer’s literature names paving slabs “pavers.” Over the years, this has led to some confusion among some designers and contractors thinking that paving slabs can withstand vehicular traffic similar to that traversed on smaller interlocking concrete pavers.

That is not the case. Paving slabs and planks can withstand limited vehicular traffic. They will require cement stabilized or concrete bases in such applications with a sand or sand-bitumen bedding. Paving slabs may require grinding or gauging in many applications to ensure consistent height and plan dimensions for tightly fitted units. Bedding materials can be coarse sand (same as that used with pavers) or a sand-bitumen mix. Bedding materials should be compacted prior to placing the paving units to ensure an even surface.

A roller attachment on a plate compactor is essential for protecting paving slabs during compaction.


The paving slabs should be compacted after installation with a plate compactor with a roller attachment to minimize slab cracking. Joints should be filled with sand. ICPI Tech Spec 20 Construction of Bituminous-Sand Set Interlocking Concrete Pavement which includes information on bitumen-set concrete paving slab.

Bitumen set paving slabs for a sidewalk are placed on a thin layer of asphalt over a concrete base.


ICPI is developing paving slab design and construction design guidelines including design charts for vehicular applications. Publication is expected later in 2016. A parallel activity is development of an ASTM segmental concrete paving slab product standard. Approval is expected in 2016 as well. This will complement the Canadian paving slab standard CSA A213.1 Precast Concrete Paving Slabs initially published in 1972.