Helpful advice and tips.

How to Lay Block Paving

How to Lay Block Paving

How to Lay Block Paving

How to Lay Monoblock Paving

Rectangular Monoblocks are the original and fundamental paving solution that is fantastic value for money. Our handy guide on how to lay block paving will provide you with all the information you will require to install block paving in your property.


Laird Rectangular Monoblock PavingBefore You Begin

Draw a simple sketch of your home and garden, detailing the area you would like to pave. Once you are satisfied with your plan, mark out the area in your garden using string.

Excavation and Site Preparation

Depending on the area you intend to pave, dig using a shovel or use a mini excavator, as this will save you time and effort.

Dig out the area to at least 150mm below the Damp Proof Course in the brick of an adjoining building.

Edge Restraints

Edge restraints are used to frame the driveway. Use a concrete mix of 1-part cement to 6-parts ballast to create a 100mm thick concrete foundation. The kerb unit will sit on top of this at the required level, which should be done using a string line and spirit level. Next mortar the kerbs to the foundations using a rubber mallet and hand-trowel and again using the concrete, form a haunch at least half the height of a block.


Lay and spread a layer of Type 1 inside of the edge restraints in layers of 50mm until you have reached the desired level. Use a vibrating plate to level and compact each layer. The finished sub-base should be at least 100mm after compaction. The vibrating plate should be passed over the area 7 times to ensure the base is compact.

Lairds Rectangular Monoblock PavingLaying Sand and Screeding

Apply a layer of slightly damp sharp sand to a depth of 50mm and compact using a vibrating plate.

The second layer of sharp sand should be applied to a level of 20mm. This layer of sand must be levelled to the correct falls using a string line, screeding rail and straight edge.


Laying Paving Blocks

Always start at the bottom of a slope, preferably at a corner or a straight edge. Blocks should be placed on top of the laying course, ensuring they are 10-15 mm above the desired finished level.

Continue laying blocks, selecting blocks from different packs to ensure that colour banding does not occur. Once all blocks are in position you will need to cut several blocks to fill in any gaps. We recommend splitting blocks using a Block Splitter or Diamond Disc Cutter. Where possible, avoid cutting a block to less than a third of its original size.


Once the blocks are laid sweep the driveway to ensure no debris from the blocks has been left on the drive. Apply kiln dried sand and brush across the entire drive, ensuring that the sand falls in between the joints.

Once the kiln dried sand has been applied, use a vibrating plate to compact the drive. We recommended using a neoprene faced or rubber soled plate to avoid scuffing the blocks. After compacting, brush a layer of kiln dried sand over the drive and compact again. Repeat this step until the joints are full of sand.

Laird Rectangular Monoblock Paving

BHC Merchants stock Lairds Rectangular Block Paving in a range of vibrant, rich colours.Laird Rectangular Monoblocks

Enquire at BHC Merchants today:

Telephone: 01555 840026


Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm

Saturday: 8am – 12pm

Decking Oil or Decking Stain: Which is Best?

Decking Oil or Decking Stain: Which is Best?

Decking Oil or Decking Stain: Which is Best?

Decking Stain or Decking Oil: Which is Best?

With Summer approaching quickly, now is the best time to revive your decking. Oiling or Staining your decking is essential in the prevention of your decking greying and rotting however, which product should you choose?

Decking Oils

Ronseal Decking OilDecking Oil is used to nourish the wood, giving it an enhanced natural finish. Once applied, the oil penetrates deep into the pores of the wood, protecting it from water damage while restoring oils lost through weathering and it can prevent deck boards from splitting, warping, rotting and greying as well as protecting against scruffs and scratches.

Using a decking oil will not dramatically alter the appearance of the wood however, some may slightly darken the natural colour as the natural oils lost through weathering are restored.

Oiling a decking area does not come without it’s potential issues; not all types of wood are suitable for oiling and you cannot paint or stain an oiled deck until it has weathered over a period of several years.

Decking Stains

Ronseal Decking StainThere are two major benefits associated with using a decking stain including; it’s ability to entirely change the look of your deck whilst providing a high level of UV protection, increasing the lifespan of the decking.

Using decking stains can reduce the visibility of the wood grain due to the high pigmentation of the product. Once dry, the staining has the potential to crack, peel or flake leading to moisture penetrating the wood which may cause rotting. In order to re-coat decking in an alternative coloured stain, the old stain must be completely removed which can be difficult to strip from the grooves within the decking boards.

Decking Protector

Decking ProtectorIf you are looking for a product that will protect your decking without changing the appearance – then a decking protector is the solution for you. The product is almost clear, lightening the surface of the wood ever so slightly and it’s water based meaning it will add moisture to dry and cracked wood, preventing it from splitting.

This product is ideally used for a newly laid decking. Apply two coats of product for best results and re-coat annually to maintain a healthy deck.

Top Tips for Applying Decking Oils and Stains

Regardless of which product you decide to use, it is essential to ensure your deck is clean before you begin.

Before beginning to paint, ensure that the contents of the paint are thoroughly stirred to guarantee that the colour pigment is well distributed throughout the oil or stain.

We would recommend carrying out a patch test on a small area of decking, allowing it to fully dry before continuing to oil or stain, this will ensure you are satisfied with the product.

Lastly, do not apply in wet or damp conditions as this can adversely effect the application and final finish of the product.

Ronseal Products

Recommended Products

Ronseal Ultimate Protection Decking Stain – Ultimate Protection Decking Stain is the best choice if you are looking for a long-lasting finish. It protects against harsh weather and can withstand footfall, making it the ideal product for an area with a busy footfall. This product will last twice as long as the standard decking stain – keeping your decking looking fantastic all year round.

Ronseal Ultimate Protection Decking Oil – Decking Oil nourishes wood whilst giving it a beautiful, natural finish. It’s tough against weather and will stand up to wear and tear.

Ronseal Decking Protector – Decking Protector will prevent your decking from greying in the sunshine and will protect against rotting in the rain. It will also prevent decking boards from cracking, twisting and swelling.

Enquire at BHC Merchants today:

Telephone: 01555 840026


Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm

Saturday: 8am – 12pm




A guide to laying artificial grass.

A Guide to Artificial Grass

Artificial Grass

It’s now almost impossible to spot the difference between a natural lawn and an artificial lawn.

Artificial grass is now available in a variety of pile lengths, colours and styles to suit the needs and budgets of everyone.

Preparing a Garden for Artificial Grass.

1. Remove the existing turf.

Begin by removing any existing turf from the area where you intend to install artificial grass. A spade can be used for smaller areas however, if the area is large we would recommend hiring a turf cutter as this will simplify the job and speed up the preparation process. Ideally, you will remove a depth of 40mm.

      2. Adding a base layer of sand.

The depth of the base layer of sand will depend on the existing ground conditions however, 50mm is generally recommended. Level and compact the sand using a builder’s plank and hammer. Approximately one tonne of sand will cover 20sqm.

     3. Add a membrane layer.

Place a heavy-duty membrane fabric on top of the layer of builder’s sand to prevent weeds growing. Ensure that any joints in the fabric are overlapped by 300mm and if required secure with galvanised nails.

    4. Rolling out the artificial lawn.

Artificial grass should always be rolled out with the pile leaning towards the property – this will enhance the look of the lawn when viewed from the property. When rolling our the artificial grass, ensure the ends of the grass rolls are staggered to ensure they do not end in a line. Trim the edges using a craft knife.

    5. Joining the artificial lawn.

If the area you are laying artificial grass on is larger than 4m, it is advised that joining tape is used to provide a strong link between each section of lawn. To join the lawn, butt the edges together and when happy with the placement spread the joining tape along where the rolls would join, add adhesive tape and place the edges onto the tape whilst ensuring no blades of grass touch the glue.

   6. Create a seamless look.

Once the rolls are joined, ruffle up the grass fibres in order to disguise the joint. Secure the edges of the lawn by using ground pins every 20cm and once again ruffle the grass to ensure the ground pins are hidden.

   7. Finishing touches.

Using a stiff brush spread a layer of sand on top of the artificial grass. This step is vital as it will ensure the most natural looking finish. Approximately 6-8kg of sand per square metre will be enough.

Artificial Grass

Maintaining Artificial Grass

An artificial grass requires a little bit of maintenance every now and again however, it’s still nowhere near the amount of maintenance required for a natural lawn.

Keeping it Clean

Artificial grass is stain resistant meaning, any accidental spillages should be straightforward to clean. Most spills can be removed using water, but tougher stains will require hot soapy water. Tougher oil-based stains will require removal using a cloth and mineral spirits.

Giving it a Good Brush Up

Every once in a while it’s a good idea to give your grass a brush using a brush that doesn’t have metal bristles or a plastic rake. This will perk up the pile and keep it looking neat and tidy.

De-debris the Lawn

As with a real lawn, debris such as soil, leaves and general garden waste can find it’s way onto the artificial grass. The odd bit of debris on an artificial lawn is not a major issue, however, if left for a long time you might find that a few weeds will begin to sprout.

Additional Advice

Avoid using sharp objects on your grass.

Avoid using adhesives and other sticky substances like chewing gum near your lawn.

Do not use motor vehicles on an artificial lawn. Wheelbarrows, bicycles and wheelchairs can be used as these will not cause damage.

Do not keep or use sources of heat on the lawn. This includes smoking, BBQs, bonfires and fireworks.

Keep an eye on any damage that may be caused by pets or children.

Artificial Grass

Recommended Products

Digging tool – A spade is recommended for removing old turf.

Builder’s Sand – Washed building sand is available for purchase in bulk loose form and 25kg bags.

Membrane Fabric – To be used on top of the base layer of sand to prevent weeds.

Craft Knife – Used to cut the artificial lawn once in place.

Joining Tape – Adhesive joining tape to join separate sections of lawn together.

Brush – Used for brushing the Builder’s Sand into place and for maintaining the pile.

All recommended products are available to purchase from BHC Merchants. Enquire now:

Telephone – 01555 840026 or E:Mail –


A guide to laying artificial grass.



Omega Kitchens

Choosing the Right Work-Surface from the Omega Collection

HeaderChoosing the right work-surface from the Omega Collection

The collection features a fantastic range of over 50 work-surfaces and splash-backs designed around the latest colour palettes and textures that are highly durable yet affordable.

International Decorative Surfaces use the latest innovations in high definition printing and surface textures ensuring an outstanding finish to each and every surface.

The range features the unique Q3 profile, resulting in a crisper, squarer edge giving the appearance of dressed stone or wood.

All work-surfaces incorporate the world renowned Sanitised Acti-fresh Anti-Bacterial Protection that deters the growth of bacteria whilst being odourless, non-toxic and proven to reduce microbes and bacteria by 99%.

The collection features surfaces made from PEFC certified chipboard ensuring only the highest quality finish.

Modern Minerals

Never underestimate the impact that a work-surface will have on the overall design of a kitchen.

International Decorative Surfaces have used the latest methods and technologies to develop a range of unique, slimline laminate work-surfaces that mimic the luxurious aesthetic of natural Quartz.

Omega - Modern Minerals

The Modern Mineral range features six eye-catching colours, with a sharp 22mm square edge. These surfaces will make a statement in any home.

Contrasting Coloured Splash-backs

Every kitchen requires a durable, easy to clean material to sit behind the cooker and sink area. Splash-backs have proven to be a practical yet highly stylish solution.

Coloured Splashbacks

Many are bias toward the use of natural materials, like wood and stone however, it’s position at eye level makes it an important focal point within the kitchen, so why not opt for something sleek and contemporary?

Timeless Classics

Whether you are creating a traditional or contemporary feel to a kitchen, Omega’s Pebblestone designs will do the job.

Omega - Timeless Classics

The classic colour palette can be combined effortlessly with either plain coloured or wood-grain doors to make a lasting style statement.

Available in the crisp Q3 profile, the Pebblestone collection will mirror the look of a real stone worktop.

Urban Neutrals

The Urban Neutrals range will create a sophisticated aesthetic for any kitchen.

Omega - Urban Neutrals

The brand new collection of worktops have been specifically designed to reflect the latest trends. The modern and muted tones of the Urban Neutral collection will deliver an understated yet contemporary look and feel.

Black Collection

All white kitchen’s might be a classic but many are opting for the drama of a black kitchen design.

Black Collection

When used successfully with the right balance of light, a black kitchen will bring crisp elegance and sophistication to the room.

Natural Appeal

The Omega Collection celebrates the appealing look and characteristics of natural wood grains.

The range is more realistic than before with the popular designs offering rich colours, unique grain patterns and texture overlay.

Natural Appeal

The collection now includes two new options – Stamford Oak and Graphite Oak.


Selecting the right texture to go with the style of a kitchen is a skill itself and will really bring the design of a kitchen to life.

This quick guide will allow you to see the textures in more detail.


The Omega Collection features six textures ranging from the ‘HiGloss’ texture which has a high shine and smooth finish to the ‘Roche’ texture which offers a more contemporary matt heavy stone finish. Texture samples are available to order, meaning you can see the final result prior to ordering.

Enquire Today

Contact BHC Merchants today to enquire about the Omega Collection of work-surfaces and splashbacks.


Telephone: 01555 840026

DeckWright Ant-Slip Inserts

Deckwright Anti-Slip Decking Insert Kit – Don’t Slip Up!

DeckWright Anti-Slip Decking Kit

When timber decking is proving to be slippery when wet or dirty, installing DeckWright Anti-Slip Decking Inserts can lessen the risk of injury and provide you reassurance when walking on a wet timber deck. DeckWright inserts can be easily fitted into most timber decking boards, providing you with an attractive, long lasting solution to a slippery problem for both domestic and commercial projects.


How do DeckWright Inserts work? 

DeckWright Inserts encompass a universally shaped plastic T bar that holds a resin and aggregate formulation.When inserted into the grooves of a decking board, the insert will sit proud of the timber and provide  grip – even when wet. To achieve maximum grip, we recommend using two DeckWright Strips per decking board.

Where can DeckWright Inserts be used?DeckWright Anti-Slip Decking Inserts

DeckWright Inserts can be used in various locations including heavy traffic commercial areas and as a garden decking solution. Wherever you have timber decking, DeckWright inserts can increase your safety and transform your standard timber decking into a non-slip deck.

How many inserts will I need?

Use the following method to calculate how many metres of DeckWright inserts you require:

  • Determine what area you wish to cover in square metres.
  • Establish how many grooves you want to anti-slip – two per decking board is recommended.
  • Determine how many deck boards cover a metre – for this example we will assume 8.

Square metres x number of boards in a metre x number of grooves to anti-slip = Total linear metres

e.g. 10 square metres x 8 boards in a metre x 2 grooves = 160 linear metres

* DeckWright Anti-Slip Decking Inserts are supplied in one metre lengths.

How to install DeckWright Anti-Slip Decking Inserts

DeckWright Anti-Slip Decking Inserts

  1. Before you begin, ensure the inserts are <18oC and that your decking is clean, dry and free from debris.
  2. Apply 3 mm bead of the specially formulated adhesive to the groove of the decking board that you will be placing the insert.
  3. Trim the insert to the desired length, firmly place into the groove and apply pressure.
  4. For optimum results, allow to dry for a minimum of 3 hours.

What’s included in a DeckWright Anti-Slip Decking Inserts Kit?

  • 25 x 1 metre Granite Grey colour inserts
  • 1 x DeckWright Adhesive


Available to purchase from BHC Merchants.

Contact today – Telephone: 01555 840026 or E-Mail:


Amvic ICF

Insulating Concrete Formwork System


What is Amvic ICF?

Amvic ICF

Amvic ICF consists of high density polystyrene panels 1200mm long x 400mm high x 65mm wide, spaced apart by high strength polypropylene webs. The forms provide a fully insulated, permanent shuttering system into which concrete is poured. Once cast, the solid concrete core provides the necessary structural integrity of the building, insulation, fire safety, thermal mass and durability for the structure’s lifetime.

The polystyrene panels of each block provides insulation to the structure with U-values ranging between 0.24 W/m2k and 0.13 W/m2k being achieved.

The forms themselves weigh approximately 3.5kg and are simple and easy to build.

Benefits of using Amvic ICF

Amvic ICF can bring many benefits to your project. The combination of the patented, reversible FormLockT, EPS composition, innovative web design and web spacing result in:

  • Using AMVIC ICF requires less support during installation giving straight, flat and plumb walls.
  • Less wastage when compared against other ICF or building systems available.
  • The ability to withstand internal concrete vibration, ensuring a structurally superior wall.

The forms are very user friendly due to its innovative design, helping to increase the speed of construction, reduce labour costs and provides the highest level of performance throughout and after construction. Amvic ICF walls can be finished internally by using gypsum board screwed directly to the integral webs and a wide range of external finishes can be used e.g. stone, timber and brick etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Amvic ICF

Q. How high can you concrete the Amvic system in a single pour?

A. Up to 3m of concrete can be placed in any single concreting day.

Q.Does the concrete core require steel reinforcement?

A. Within the UK, retaining walls and structures taller than 3 storey high will require reinforcement throughout. Low rise structures will require steel reinforcement only over the top of window and door openings.

Q. How does fire affect the system?

A. The polystyrene bead used in the production of the Amvic system is a flame retardant grade. If the forms were exposed to a naked flame the polystyrene will burn however, once the flame is withdrawn or the Amvic burns clear of it, the polystyrene will self-extinguish therefor the system will not contribute to the spread of fire.  Additionally, the solid concrete core cannot burn conveying how safe the use of Amvic systems really are.

Q. How are internal services accommodated?

A. Electrical conduits and water pipes can be recessed into chases cut into the polystyrene at the time of installation. Please note: PVC cables should be kept from direct contact with polystyrene by placing it inside a plastic conduit.

Q. How is a masonry finish achieved?

A. A masonry finish can be achieved by either building a full brick or stone skin around the Amvic shell or by applying brick / stone slips directly to the surface of the Amvic blocks. The bricks/stone wall ties are cast into the Amvic concrete core to support the masonry skin option whereas slips are bonded to the Amvic system using a high adhesive bonding mortar over a supporting expanded metal lathing which is pinned back to the Amvic concrete core.

Q. Can you render onto an Amvic system?

A. Acrylic or polymer modified render systems that have been designed to be applied onto polystyrene are available. This type of system does not require a supporting eml.

Amvic Insulating Concrete Formwork Systems are available from BHC Merchants. Speak to a member of our team today to find out more.



International Timber Decking

The difference between Timber Decking and Composite Decking.

Timber decking has proved to be a huge hit across the UK for many years now. It’s simple and straightforward to construct and has the ability to transform any back garden however, since the introduction of composite decking its become difficult to decide which option is best.


MaintenanceEuropean Redwood Decking

If you are committed to maintaining your timber decking, it can last a life time. Timber decking requires a little bit of TLC twice per year. This entails cleaning, treating and either staining or oiling your deck depending on your preference. On the other hand, composite decking requires very little maintenance but its lifetime is limited to around 20-30 years. The only maintenance required for composite decking is regular cleaning – no need for treatments or oils to ensure your decking looks its best.  Due to its plastic content, composite decking can be prone to scratches, these scratches can be trickier to repair than a scratch on a timber decking as you cannot sand down any superficial flaws on composite decking where as you can use this method on timber.


The cost of timber decking depends on the type of wood you wish to use. A softwood decking – like pine- is a considerably cheaper solution in comparison to both hardwood decking and composite decking. Hardwood decking and composite decking are similar in price but keep in mind, by opting for a timber decking you will also need to purchase oils or stains to prevent the timber from cracking, splitting, rotting and greying over time.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

As long as the timber used for your timber decking is responsibly sourced, it can be one of the most environmentally friendly materials that can be used. Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fibres and plastics. The wood fibres are often manufactured from recycled materials and if you choose your supplier carefully the plastic content may well be made from recyclable materials too.

StrengthInternational Timber Yellow Balau

A major drawback of composite decking to consider when making your choice is the strength of composite decking, or should we say lack of strength when compared to a traditional timber deck. Although composite decking may not have the same strength as timber decking, this issue can be resolved by placing joists closer together to support the decking, however, keep in mind that this may increase the cost associated with building a deck.


Both composite and timber decking have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the look and feel of the product. Composite decking is available to purchase in a range of colours and finishes whereas, if you want a coloured timber decking you would need to take the time to paint it yourself.

Composite decking is also less slippery when wet in comparison to timber decking. Poorly maintained timber decking can results in splinters whereas composite decking can be easily scratched. Each board of composite decking will look identical whereas timber decking will have variances in colour and may even have knots throughout.

Ultimately, the choice between composite and timber decking is yours to make.


BHC Merchants stock a range of of composite decking, timber decking and all the necessary products you will need to look after your decking. 

Ronseal Products



JCB Workwear

The UK’s hardest working workwear.

JCB Workwear – 2016/2017 Collection

Following on from their successful launch of the JCB Workwear, JCB have introduced a new range of next generation safety footwear and clothing, with all products designed and engineered to the same high standards.

Safety Footwear

Each style of safety footwear within the JCB Workwear range has its own individual attributes including; waterproof membranes, waterproof and breathable lining, pierce resistant steel and non composite midsoles. All styles of footwear feature the JCB Impact logo with its distinctive yellow and black branding.

All safety footwear has been designed and manufactured to the European Standard EN ISO 23045:2011 providing 200 joules toe protection with style, comfort and durability. All footwear has dual density for maximum comfort.

JCB Safety Footwear

L – R : 3CX Brown, Agpro Tan, Agpro Brown, Hydromaster Black, 3CX Black and 3CX Honey

Footwear Size Guide

JCB Workwear


The garments in the new workwear range have been completely re-designed and re-engineered yet still manufactured with the same attention to detail, resulting in workwear that is both stylish to wear but rugged enough to stand up to work in the harshest environments.

The stylish JCB Workwear range transfers easily from the traditional workplace to the world outside and has proven to be a popular workwear choice of our customers.

JCB Workwear

L-R: Trentham T-Shirt, Stretton Soft Shell Jacket, The Max Work Trouser and Horton Hoodie

JCB Workwear

L-R: Hollington Coverall With Knee Pockets, 1945 Work Jeans, Fenton Polo Shirt and Cheadle Pro Work Trouser

Workwear Size Guide

JCB Workwear and Footwear is available to purchase from BHC Merchants.