Tips to get stone paving looking strong & uniform

July 29, 2015

Thinking about paving with stone? Follow these tips for some ways to save money and get the look you want.

Tips to get stone paving looking strong & uniform

Find the right stone

  • Stone may come from your site, be recycled from a demolition site or purchased.
  • Buying new stone is an expensive option, but you may save time when laying it because of it's regular shape.
  • Suitable types of stone include sandstone, ironstone, granite, trachyte, bluestone, schist and basalt.
  • Slate needs to be at least five centimetres (two inches) thick. Thinner slate is best laid as tiling on a concrete base.

Thinking about designs

  • All stone has pronounced variations in shape, thickness, grain and durability, even if from a similar area. This makes it difficult to create patterns.
  • Dressed stone is much easier to lay to a pattern.
  • If you have a large quantity of stone, sort it into pieces that are roughly the same thickness.
  • Otherwise, considerable adjustment will have to be made for each stone as it is being bedded.

Get the ground ready

  • It's best to lay stone on a bed of one part sand and six parts cement.
  • Prepare the ground as for paving with bricks and pavers, but add a layer of road base to provide a compact, stable foundation.
  • Allow for a slope to provide drainage.

How to begin paving

  1. Start by loosely laying out pieces of stone for approximately one square metre (three square feet), fitting them together like a jigsaw
  2. Remove the stone and lay it beside the area to be paved in the pattern you have worked out.
  3. Next, spread a five centimetres (two inches) thick bed of damp sand and cement on the ground. Then lay the stone.
  4. To bed the stone, use either a soft mallet or a piece of softwood and a lump hammer. Bear in mind that some rocks already have planes of weakness in them and may crack if hit too hard.
  5. It's very important that each piece is well-bedded. If it isn't, the rock will shift and eventually work loose.
  6. As there are variations in thickness and shape, you may have to remove mortar in places, and add mortar in others.
  7. The stone will need to be pointed after laying. This means feeding a slightly damp, crumbly mortar into the joints, taking great care not to smear the cement over the surface of the stone.
  8. The joints can be left flush, slightly depressed, or can even be accentuated by running over the joint with the point of a jointing tool to define fine lines be­tween the stones.
  9. In hot weather, when using a rapidly-drying mortar, you may need to apply a very fine mist of water over the surface at the end of the job to help cure the cement.

Stone can give your home a beautiful and natural look. Be sure to take extra care when paving with stone. That way, you can get a great look that will stay together.

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