Looking to refresh your garden? Paving slabs are a great idea as they are affordable, eye-catching and can be laid in a couple of days. If you are thinking of adding some paving slabs to your garden, then you need to plan and prepare the project. Here are a few tips in our paving slab laying guide…
You will need to decide whether you are going to use concrete paving or natural stone. Concrete slabs are more affordable but natural stone slabs are more premium and look better visually, they are also more hard wearing. When you have got your slabs, you can then dry lay the patio. This is laying the patio in the way you want the finished design to look, it also allows you to check the layout and size so you can see whether you have enough slabs.
Our basic guide is a total patio depth of 150mm, for both the slabs and foundations. If you are laying this patio next to your house, then the surface of the paving should be 150mm below the houses damp proof course. To stop water from pooling on a patio make sure you lay it with a 1:60 fall, so the patio drops 1cm per 60cm length, making it slope away from the house.
Preparing your project:
A concrete base that is well constructed is the key to a successful patio. It should be laid at a thickness of 55-75mm. A concrete base is probably the best as it can receive a high footfall because it’s the most stable, if you are using a concrete base then make sure this is dry before doing any other work.
Laying the slabs:
To make sure that the patio is laid square to the house and at the right angle you might want to add some temporary string guidelines.
A mortar base should be laid using 6 parts course sand to 1 part cement ready so the slabs can be placed on. We have found that some sources recommend using a spot base, which is where 5 spots of mortar are placed in a template, 4 spots in each corner and one in the middle of the base, if you choose this method you need to make sure that the spots meet where the slabs are laid and compressed. This method is best if you are just using a patio as decoration, if you are going to be using a patio for heavier use then you will need to use the full mortar option.
Begin laying the slabs from one corner and leave a gap of approximately 10cm between each slab. Gently tap the slab with a rubber mallet until it is settled to the correct level, make sure you don’t tap the slabs close to the edge. Make sure you leave the slabs for 24 hours for the mortar to set.
To fill in the gaps between the slabs you could use dried sand or a jointing compound. This will allow water to drain and prevents and movement. When the jointing has set, brush it over with a broom.
Debris and foliage like leaves can stain your paving slabs, so it’s better to sweep them away and then clean the slabs if necessary. We don’t think it’s a good idea to use a pressure washer to clean the slabs or use a strong acid based cleaner for your patio, as this can damage the slab. We recommend using mild soapy water and a good rinse to clean your slabs.
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