A Guide on How to Lay Paving Slabs
Laying paving slabs for a patio is a challenging but rewarding project. A patio has obvious advantages, as they come in various designs and colour schemes yet involve stress-free maintenance.
However, it is important to design a patio that effectively complements your garden and home, so consider these key things before you lay your paving slabs:
Determine what size you want your patio to be. The size of your garden will influence this decision, but it is also important to work out what your main activities will be on your patio. Will it be an area for family parties or a cosy space for couples?
Think about the best position for your patio. How can you take advantage of the sunny spots in your garden? Can you create a private area where you can relax without being overlooked by neighbours?
Does your patio design compliment the style of your house? While incorporating your style, consider whether your chosen paving slabs are sensitive to the architectural design of your house. For instance, a modern house will suit contemporary paving slabs, such as sandstone or ceramic, whereas period properties are more suited to cobble sett paving.
How to Lay Paving Slabs
Step 1: Mark the Area
You will need to begin by using pegs and string to mark out the area that you will lay paving slabs on. Then, dig out the area to a depth of 15cm, removing all plants and current paving slabs that were originally in place. If you are laying your paving slabs against a building, the finished surface level will need to be 15cm below the damp proof course to stop damp penetration.
Step 2: Lay the Foundation
Your soil will determine the type of foundation needed to lay paving slabs. For instance, if the surface is solid, you won’t need a hardcore stone base. However, if the soil is soft and wet, you will need a stone base to help create a solid foundation. This material will be available from any good builders’ merchants.
It is also a good idea to lay weed control fabric to stop weeds growing up through the paving. Weed control fabric will also give your paving extra support if the soil is particularly soft. This will need to be laid first, before your hardcore stone base.
Step 3: Lay the Paving Slabs
First, set up two string lines; one to guide the line of the paving and another to guide the level. The first line should run down the length of the paving slabs, and the second line should run across from side to side.
Lay the slabs on a cement mixture consisting of 4-5 parts building sand to one part cement - this will act as the bed for your paving slabs. This mixture should be 5cm deep and placed on top of your hardcore stone base.
Always begin laying your paving slabs from a corner and work your way out from there. This will help you successfully create your paving pattern and design. Make sure you leave a 1cm gap for joint lines and use a spirit level to ensure that the patio is level.
Step 4: Joint the Paving
After you have finished laying all the paving slabs, it’s important to point all of the joints of the paving with mortar to ensure that the area is watertight. Take care to avoid spilling the cement, as this could stain the paving slabs.
Tip: If you have to walk on your paving slabs to point the joints, allow the cement base layer to set hard. This may take a day or two.
Step 5: Wait 48 Hours
Avoid stepping on the paving stones for 48 hours after laying down the patio. This will allow the mortar to strengthen sufficiently. Finish by sweeping off the area and ensuring the patio is finished, with no faults, in a neat fashion. Once the patio has set hard, decorate it with patio furniture or garden plants!
Come and visit A&S Paving in-store, or get in contact, and see for yourselves why we are the builders’ merchant suitable for your needs.
With over 25 years of experience and a huge quantity of supplies, there will be something to help you achieve the results you want.