Use a garden hose and a nozzle to finely mist the flagstones so that some water flows between the stones into the sand. As easy to install as regular sand, almost. Tie a mason's line to opposing pairs of stakes to create a square or rectangular layout (use a square layout if the patio will be circular). The stones should be at least 1 1/2 inches thick for strength; 2 inches thick is better. You can use pea gravel between flagstones to inhibit weeds, and provide a comfortable walking surface between the larger stones. Thirty years ago, I built my mother-in-law's patio using the sand and cement base method. Finally, adjust the perpendicular string on the lower end of the patio so it is even with ends of the sloped strings. Measure down from the strings to gauge the excavation depth. These piers act like the legs on a table and help give the patio added support. Industrial. Keep in mind that all of the strings should be at the same height. Start at one corner to lay flagstones. We respect your email privacy. Then pour a 2-inch layer of sand and rake it smooth. Place the stones as close together as desired. Laying flagstone on bare ground or within a base material, such as pea gravel or sand, is the easiest and cheapest method for installing flagstone walks and patios.For bare ground installation, simply remove sections of sod to accommodate the chosen flagstone pavers. She likes the look as it reminds her of weathered brick walks she has seen in Williamsburg, VA. Place the stones and use builder's sand to level them in the ground. The transversal texture of cement. Laying Flagstone. Add two more inches, then smooth and tamp. Try to heat the brick or flagstone as well although this may be far more difficult to accomplish. Flagstone comes in a variety of sizes. If you want, we'll keep you updated on the latest news about products and events. Laying the stone would be easiest and most rewarding part, right? The stones have not budged in 13 years and I suspect they will still look swell 50 years from now. If you can salvage it, much of it can be used to reinstall the flagstone but the sand will be mixed with Portland cement. If the mortar is just right, a small amount of pressure from your hands floats the flagstones into position. Place the stones onto the DG surface, starting at one end and working toward the other. Wait at least one week before walking onto the patio to fill the gaps between the stones with the Portland cement and sand mortar mix. Set temporary or permanent edgings, their top surfaces approximately one stone thickness below the finished grade. It's usually easiest to dig to full depth right under the strings, then clear out the soil in between, checking with a long, straight 2x4 and a level to make sure the ground is level from side to side (it won't be level from end to end because of the slope). Flagstone: what to use, sand, cement, or gravel? Dry construction is much easier for do-it-yourselfers because you can build directly on the ground, while mortared stone requires a concrete slab foundation to prevent cracking in the mortar. Well, the flagstone are separating, the mortar is cracking and the patio is a mess. Vary the size, shape, and coloring of stones for a random pattern, which looks most natural. Deane Biermeier is a contractor with 27 years experience in home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. Heart of stone. Sand Installation 1. Don't kill the grass! You can use either sand or gravel to fill the space in between. Rake the sand to produce a smooth surface. Use a mixture of Portland cement and sand to permanently attach the flagstones to the concrete. Start with large stones, making sure they're nestled into the sand so they don't move when you step on them. He carefully laid the flat stones on a bed of sand and then grouted the spaces between the stones with mortar. Finally, pour your sand. When you pour the slab, it does not have to be finished smooth. DEAR TIM: Last fall a contractor installed a flagstone patio for me. There is no mortar between the brick. For your reference: a half-yard of sand was sufficient for the walkway shown in this tutorial.) It's best to start with several inches of compacted gravel, followed by a layer of stone dust, also called decomposed granite, or DG. Remove all grass and other vegetation in the patio area (defined by the strings), then excavate the soil to a depth of 6 inches plus the thickness of the flagstone. You are now ready to put together your jigsaw puzzle walkway by laying and packing the stones. You simply sweep the material into the flagstone (or other paver) joints, lightly hose down, then it solidifies. (In rainy areas, put down a 2-inch gravel layer first.) Chances are, you won't need a building permit for this project, but you may need to gain approval from the zoning department, which governs land use. Remove the stakes and mason's lines. The variation in particle sizes allows the material to compact well. Subscribe. We gave you guys a heads up that this was going to be happening in the near future, but two patios in one month in 1/10-acre … To install flagstone in this method, wet mortar is applied either directly on a subbase of compacted gravel and sand, or to an existing concrete slab. Whether it’s marble, sandstone or concrete paving you’ve gone for, lower your first slab into position – firmly placing it about 15mm into the sand. Do this for perhaps 10 minutes. Estimated Cost: $3 - $5 per square foot Laying flagstone patios in stone dust or sand, as opposed to mortar or concrete, is known as dry-set or sand-set. Do not make it so dry that you have to pound the stones into place with a rubber mallet. Compact the soil at the bottom of the excavated area. Lay The Stones: Into a bed of the mortar lay the stones. By using The Spruce, you accept our, Get Inspired By These Patio Paver Design Ideas, How to Plan and Design Flagstone Patios and Paths, How to Make an Easy Brick Patio Pattern for Beginners, How to Plan and Design Flagstone Patios and Walkways, How to Build a Stone Sidewalk or Garden Path, Stone Steps vs. Tamp the soil with a hand tamp or a rented plate compactor. There is a strong possibility that the cement mortar joints between individual flagstone that are laid on top of a sand / cement base may start to fall apart if the base starts to crack and shift. Pete likened the flagstone installation to DIY Crossfit with natural material weights (like buckets of sand and 200 lb. Laying flagstone when you’re frustrated is not the way! -- Take your time laying the rocks and fitting them together. Plate Step 2 Pour a 2-inch-thick layer of sand over the landscape fabric, raking it smooth. Laying them directly onto hard packed dirt works well. Carefully chip off any mortar that is on the edges. And while it is still loose, you can use it to level the stones, just as you would with sand. If it were me, I’d wait until you have a weekend free, without any stress on your mind. The width of the trench needs to accommodate the width of the stone, with an additional inch or two for working space on either side of the edging. Mike Stone's instructions on laying a flagstone patio, ... Mike Stone's instructions on laying a flagstone patio, demonstrating shaping, laying and packing the stone. What to put between flagstone joints–polymeric sand or stone dust? This is what you will be bedding your flagstone on. If the stone is too high, remove some bed material from under the stone; if the stone is too low, add some bed material. This is not as hard as it seems and can be done one wheelbarrow at a time. After you are done placing the flagstones and the gravel, ... Now, with the help of a hammer and a chisel, give the desired shape to the rest of the flagstones. This first method, in my opinion, will produce a flagstone patio that can last 50 years or more without any cracks. Dry laying porcelain pavers on a sand and gravel bed . If a stone "rocks" or totters, dig out or fill in sand underneath until you get it perfectly stableized. Laying flagstone patios in stone dust or sand, as opposed to mortar or concrete, is known as dry-set or sand-set. Continuity between interior and exterior environments to combine aesthetics and versatility. Confirm that the string layout is square by measuring diagonally between opposingcorners (where the strings meet); the layout is square when the diagonalmeasurements are equal. Now you can start thinking about where you want to put your pieces of flagstone. David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. Alternatively, you can fill the gaps with a potting soil mix and plant grass or traffic-tolerant ground cover plants between stones. Mix one part of cement to three parts sand. Fabricate, set and level stone. When they settle, they should be flush with the ground. But her patio is different. Apply polymer modified sand to joints. Then you can use your 2 by 4 again or another piece of wood to level out the sand. For example, if the patio is 10 feet long, it will be 2 inches higher at the house end than at the opposite end. Level the base. Do this for perhaps 10 minutes. Subscribe to the FREE Ask the Builder newsletter to receive professional advice for your home. Flagstone rocks vary in thickness and you need the sand to adjust heights to get them all level. Pour a concrete slab in the excavated area that contains one-half inch steel reinforcing bars placed on two foot centers in both directions. This wait period will ensure the sand and cement base has time to harden. Each stone should be stable and at the same height as the surrounding stones. Curving the walkways and edges of the patio and then adding plants that flow over the stones makes for a luscious look. Sand (amount will vary based upon how many flagstone pieces you have. Add the Gravel and Sand Next, lay a small layer of gravel to prevent any weeds from inching upward. You will have a total of four strings; the points where the strings intersect represent the corners of the patio area. Move your piles of excavated turf and soil off of your grass within two days so you don't over-stress it. I first started seeing this stuff about fifteen years ago. Landscaping techniques, cost, and the availability of materials can vary greatly depending on the region you live in. Level and slope the strings based on the position of the patio: The patio surface should be level from side to side (typically parallel to the house) and should slope down and away from the house from end to end at a rate of about 2 inches per 10 linear feet. Drive two stakes at each corner, about 2 feet beyond the sides of the patio perimeter. The depth of the trench should accommodate the thickness of the flagstone, in addition to 3 or 4 inches for the crushed gravel and sand base. Use very warm or hot water to mix the mortar. Pour sand over the landscape fabric, about 2 inches deep, to create a soft, yet firm foundation for the flagstones. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Check with your city's building department to learn about rules and requirements that may pertain to your project. Step 5: Laying the Flagstone. 2 of 6 Norman A. This grid of steel needs to be suspended so that the steel ends up in the lower third of the concrete slab, but be sure that at least one and one-half inches of concrete is under the steel at all points. Flagstone Patio Installation Labor, Basic Basic labor to install flagstone patio with favorable site conditions. Level the sand and place the flagstones onto the sand and tamp them into place. April W., Denver, CO. DEAR APRIL: Years ago the same thing happened to me. -- Have a base layer of sand at least 2" deep. Otherwise, planting grass or low-growing vegetation between the cracks will give the flagstone a very natural look. Layout, mark and excavate area to be paved. Dry fit flagstones in your desired pattern, leaving about 1-3 inches between each. The only extra step is mixing the cement mortar that adheres the flagstone to the concrete slab. Once we got the gravel and the sand down, we optimistically thought it would only be another weekend or so for us to lay out the actual flagstone. Remove the sand and discard it unless you can be sure it is free of stones and dirt. Complete the form below and each week you'll get: Unsubscribe at any time. Roll out a layer of landscape fabric to prevent unwanted weeds or grass from growing between the flagstones. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Fill the gaps between stones with sand, DG, or gravel. The sand base will be immune to attack from ants and moles, but it will not be sufficiently strong to withstand serious frost heaving and/or other soil movement. There is very little extra work to install the concrete base. Step 3 – Laying or Setting the Flagstone. If at all possible, keep the sand, cement, and hydrated lime indoors at room temperature and only bring it outdoors to mix it. You will fill the gaps later with sand, gravel, or even soil and grass or other plants. Tamp the layer thoroughly. For a lasting installation, a dry-set stone patio does need a foundation, though. Use a garden hose and a nozzle to finely mist the flagstones so that some water flows between the stones into the sand. Some of the stones in your dry-set patio inevitably will move over time, due to use and to seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. By Team Boulder | October 8, 2016. Planting moss in between the flagstone works well in shaded areas where grass is not likely to grow. Place dampened sand between guides; screed it smooth with a straight piece of lumber. Flagstone responds much better, to a happy jobsite. Level the sand and place the flagstones onto the sand and tamp them into place. rocks). The mortar should be the consistency of regular bricklayer's mortar. This ensures that surface water drains away from the house (or other structures). Be sure you install the sand at least 3 inches thick. You can buy flagstone and DG at local stone yards and landscaping materials suppliers. Now it was time for the “heavy lifting”—literally. If I had hired you, how would you have installed my flagstone patio? This rough texture will help hold the flagstones in place when they are set in wet cement mortar. Add a two-inch layer of compactible gravel over the patio area. If stone is tapped below finished grade, raise stone and spread more stone dust under stone. Add landscaping rocks or mulch around the flagstone path for a decorative look. Reposition the stone and make sure it's flush with the surrounding stones, then repack the joints around the stone. The patio is in good shape today, but many of the brick are somewhat humpy and bumpy. These flagstones are set on a concrete base. For a 10-foot-long patio, lower the strings 2 inches on the stakes at the lower end of the patio. You may find wetting down the sand with a hose makes it easier to secure your flagstones. Then, readjust the two strings running down the sides of the patio to set the correct slope. This steel has tremendous tensile strength and will prevent the slab from developing large cracks that cause the concrete to separate and tilt into separate planes. Icon Outdoor. A second alternative method of installing the patio is to remove the current sand and allow it to dry or become just slightly damp. Concrete Steps in Gardens, How to Install a French Drain in Your Landscaping, Great Patio Ideas That Use Mixed Materials. To prevent the patio and the piers from heaving if frost starts to penetrate into the soil, make the bottom of the piers flare to 8 inches in diameter. The contractor wants to put a layer of cement over the sand and start over. Lay flagstones along tight string on finished grade. When choosing stone for the project, select the largest stones you can maneuver by hand, and choose them for consistent thickness and appearance. Keep Flagstone Mortar Mix Materials Warm. Stone edges that stick up create tripping hazards. The service is free but can take several days, so call well in advance of starting your project. Like me way back then, you are going to have to start over. Coarse sand is better for this purpose as it contains pieces of rounded rock about 1/8 inch in diameter. The surface needs to be in the same plane, but it can be left very rough with holes and stones exposed. But fixing shifted stones is easy. As with the excavation, measure down from the strings to gauge the thickness of the gravel and to maintain the proper slope. Material Stones. Stack or lay out the stones you will use for the patio surface on a broad, flat area, such as the surrounding grass or a driveway. Mortared Flagstone. Before you install the sand back into the excavated area, generously water the soil so it is very wet. Arrange the pieces by size and shape so you can select them readily as you lay them into the patio. Lay out the area for the path or patio, excavate the soil, then prepare a base of 4 to 6 inches of compacted gravel and 2 inches of level masonry sand. Sweep the material across the patio with a broom to push it in to the cracks. Be sure you install the sand at least 3 inches thick. Level each stone, as needed, by adding or removing DG underneath the stone. Most important, call 8-1-1, the national "Call Before You Dig" hotline, to have all underground utility lines marked on your property. Rake the gravel smooth and level, then tamp it thoroughly. Within 24 hours of pouring the concrete slab, start to install the flagstones. To level and slope the strings, place a line level on each layout string and adjust one end of the string up or down, as needed, so the line is perfectly level, then tie off the string. For example, if the flagstone is 2 inches thick, excavate a total of 8 inches. Add 6" base gravel, edge border, and 1" bedding sand. You might have a problem with frost heaving ... just redo anything that gets too uneven. Simply dig out the sand, gravel, or soil around a problem stone, then pry up the stone using your hands or a flat pry bar. Spray the entire flagstone design with a fine mist of water to settle the sand or gravel. Keep adding the slabs and ensure there’s a gap of about 10-15mm between each stone. Using a wooden mallet or a 2 pound hammer and block of wood, tap stone into place. Gently one by one, lift each of the stones, and then apply mortar to the bed of sand and gravel or to the concrete slab, simply to the surface on which the user is attaching the stones to, then lay the stone over the wet mortar. Pea gravel adds a subtle textural contrast and the same long-lasting strength and durability as flagstones. The brick are very uniform and stack closely against one another. Flagstone adds permanence, strength, and durability to a landscape along with creating a natural hardscape element to an area that otherwise might just include plants, or softscape. Adjust the positions of the stakes, as needed, to square the layout. Devin Devine, traveling stone artist. Estimating materials for flagstone walkway projects can be a challenge for do-it-yourselfers. Fill the space between the flagstones with sand or one-quarter-inch gravel. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Sign up to my newsletter to receive expert advice for your home! The DG is pulverized stone and contains small pieces along with gravel-size and sand-size particles. Materials for Flagstone Walkway. Screeding the sand for the base of your pavers is one of the most important steps to ensuring level and solid pavers! The process of laying flagstone is the same as before. If you do not want this look, use polymeric sand. Shovels (one regular shovel and one hand shovel) Time, energy, and plenty of muscle; How to make a flagstone … You should cover your foundation with one to two inches of sand and then smooth it out with a rake. I installed thin paving brick on a sand bed that looked like a piece of glass it was so smooth. Once the flagstones have set for two days, you can fill the gaps between them with a similar mixture of medium sand and Portland cement. Rake the DG smooth, and level it side-to-side with the long board and level. First remove and salvage the flagstone. Add a 2-inch layer of decomposed granite over the gravel base. Note that "flagstone" merely describes the stones' wide, flat shape; flagstone comes in many different types of stone. Will this work? Set up mason's lines to represent the perimeter of the patio. I made a stone path this way maybe 6 years ago. But ants, moles and freezing weather turned my brick sidewalk into a humpy-bumpy sand-covered disaster. Laying flagstone in sand is not difficult but the stone can be heavy so you will want to use some protective materials such as gloves, goggles, and possibly a back-brace. Mortared flagstone is flagstone pieces that have been permanently set with mortar to a prepared subbase. Use a shovel to remove any soil, grass or plants in the area where the edging will go. At this point you have two alternatives to solve your problem, although I am inclined to think that one of the methods is far better than the second. Spread the rest of your sand (2 inches) over the surface. Flagstone is a strong, attractive hardscape material used for laying walkways, patios and edging gardens. Many flagstones are commonly 3/4 inch thick so I would excavate to a depth of 5.5 to 6 inches. Try to set the stones so they sit slightly above the surface. To further strengthen the slab, you can dig vertical piers that are 6 inches in diameter and extend below the frost line in your area.

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