Paving slabs are a great way to refresh a garden or outside space, they’re pleasing on the eye, affordable and can be laid in a couple of days by any competent DIYer. As with most things though, planning and preparation are key, Below we’ve put together a few handy tips in this paving slab laying guide to help you out if you’re planning a garden makeover.
1) Before you start
Decide on what sort of slabs you are going to use, Concrete Paving or Natural Stone. Whilst there are plusses for both, concrete slabs are generally more affordable, whereas natural stone slabs are a more premium product and do tend to have the edge visually, not to mention being more hard wearing.
Once you have your slabs, dry lay the patio first. This is a simple job and it’s just a case of laying the patio in the way that you want the finished design to look. This allows you to check the size, layout and that you have enough slabs!
As a guide, you’ll be looking at a total patio depth of around 150mm, this is for both the slabs and their foundations. If you are laying your patio next to the house, then it’s recommended that the surface of the paving should be 150mm below the properties damp proof course.
To prevent water from pooling on a patio, lay the patio with a 1:60 fall, so the patio will drop 1cm per 60cm length, sloping away from the house.
A well constructed aggregate or concrete base is key to a successful patio. Ideally this should be laid at a thickness of 55-75mm (then compacted if an aggregate base). A concrete base is preferable, particularly if the area is to receive high footfall as it gives a more stable foundation. If using a concrete base, ensure this is dry before moving on.
3) Laying the Slabs
At this stage, it is worth installing some temporary string guide lines to help ensure the patio is laid square to the house and also at the correct angle to allow drainage.
Next up, a mortar base should be laid using 6 parts course sand to 1 part cement ready for the slabs to be placed upon. It is important that this base is level so it supports the whole slab evenly. Some sources recommend using a 'spot' base, where 5 'spots' of mortar are placed in a ⚄ formation, should you choose this method, it is important to ensure the 'spots' will meet when the slab is laid and compressed into place. This option is best suited for areas that will receive light use, such as a decorative area in a garden. Should the paved area receive heavier use, such as vehicle traffic, we would recommend the full mortar base option.
Start laying the slabs from one corner, leaving a gap of approximately 10mm between each slab. Use a rubber mallet to gently tap the slab until it settles at the correct level, care should be taken not to tap the slabs close to the edge. Once the slabs are laid, leave for 24 hours for the mortar to set before jointing between the slabs.
To fill in the gaps between the slabs, either Kiln Dried Sand or a jointing compound can be used. This prevents any potential movement, but still allows water to drain. We recommend Sika Pave Fix Plus as a Jointing Compound as it is quick and easy to apply whilst giving long lasting results.
Once the jointing has set, simply brush over with a stiff broom and job done.
Various garden debris and foliage such as leaves can potentially cause staining to paving slabs; therefore it’s worth sweeping this away and giving the slabs a gentle clean when necessary. We’d recommend against pressure washing concrete slabs as well as using any strong acid based cleaners as this can damage the slab. Sufficient cleaning can normally be achieved by using mild soapy water followed by a good rinse.
Because a large number of homeowners and developers are converting front gardens from grass or gravel to hard landscaped areas, such as paving, it has led to an increase in volume of water run off. It has been said that this has increased pressure on mains drainage and increased the risk of flooding. However if provisions for drainage, such as incorporating a drain, or if water is directed to a lawn edge for example, then planning permission may not be needed.
Obviously this would only be an issue in more built up areas, but it’s worth bearing in mind. Visit www.planningportal.co.uk if you’d like more information.
Whatever your landscaping plans though, we keep a large range of products in stock and can deliver to your location. Check out our site, drop us email or give us a call using the options below if you'd like some more information.
Until next time,