3 tips for dealing with stone patio washout

Are water, wind and time eroding your beautiful stone walkway? These three tips will get it back to looking great fast.

3 tips for dealing with stone patio washout

1. Mix it up

  • If the sand in your stone path is slowly washing away, it might be that the joints between the flagstones are too wide to hold the fill. If you need to reset the stones, set them in sand as before.
  • Instead of filling the joints with plain sand, however, mix a little dry portland cement in with the sand and pack it firmly between the stones. Then, sprinkle a bit of water over the joints to set the filler. You won't have to worry about lost sand again.

2. Repair cracked stones

  • Constant exposure to the elements can cause bricks or pavers in your sand-based patio to crack, or for larger areas to settle. Don't put off these repairs.
  • Cut a wire coat hanger and fashion it into two pieces with a slight hook at one end.
  • Slide the wire hooks under opposite sides of the paver and lift up. If you have large patio bricks you may need another set of pullers (as well as someone to help you lift them).
  • Once the first paver is removed, carefully use a screwdriver or chisel to pry up and remove surrounding pavers that are damaged or have settled.
  • Clean sand and debris away from the area.
  • Put down a layer of fresh sand. Use a wood float to spread sand to the corners and tamp it down. Repeat until the sand base is level with that of the surrounding pavers.
  • Reset the pavers (or set new ones, if the old ones were broken).
  • Pour sand over the paver, and evenly fill the gaps.
  • Gently tap in the paver with a mallet, and sweep away the remaining sand.

3. Chip off the old block

  • Is your piece of flagstone too big to fit in the allotted space? You don't need a masonry saw to get it to fit. Score the desired cut a few times on one side using a stonemason's or straight chisel and a 1-kilogram hammer.
  • Flip it over and score the other side. You may have to repeat this a few times before the pieces break off. The secret is to take your time; rushing the job is likely to result in a cracked stone.
  • Make sure to wear goggles when doing this.
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