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How to Lay Stone Paving: Tips for Natural Stone

Learning how to lay a stone patio can save you money, and it can also give you a great sense of achievement once you’re done. Whether you’re laying paving for a patio, driveway or path, the process is relatively easy – and most tools/materials can be sourced from hardware shops or your stone supplier.

See our quick guide below on how to lay paving stones for your garden.

Step-by-step guide on how to lay stone paving

The process for laying paving slabs is very similar across all natural stone options, including Indian sandstone, limestone, slate and granite. Here are the steps you need to take:

Gather your tools
After you have measured out your area and ordered your paving stones, gather the following tools to prepare for your task ahead:

  • Gloves and safety goggles
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Small cement mixer
  • Brick trowel and pointing trowel
  • Spade and shovel
  • Bolster chisel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • String lines
  • A soft brush
  • Line pins or stakes
  • A wacker plate (a plate compactor)
  • Angle grinder or petrol saw

Check your delivery
When your slabs arrive, be sure to check that none have been damaged in transit. You will also need to check that you’ve received the right size, colour and style of stone.

Dig out the area
If you are laying the stone directly next to the house, the finished patio should be at least 150mm below the damp-proof course – so factor this in when digging out the foundation. At this stage, you will also want to start planning effective drainage to prevent water puddles and waterlogging. Your driveway or patio should be laid sloping away from the property to avoid any damp issues. For a lot of projects, mini drainage channels can be used to assist with water flow in the right direction.

Lay your base
It’s important to have a stable base, and we always recommend erring on the side of caution by choosing a stronger base from the start. This will prevent having to lift and reinstate any sunken areas in the future. If you are laying on silty soil, a capping layer of well-compacted crushed limestone could be beneficial. You may also need to consider laying a membrane to prevent the upward movement of fine soil particles.

Create a mortar mix
Make a mortar mix that is damp and workable, but not overly wet and runny. This will form the mortar bed that has full contact with slabs when you lay them.

Lay the paving
Use string lines to guide the line and the level of the paving, and work from the corner. You may need to tap the slabs down with a mallet to the correct level after laying. This will secure them into the fixing material and create a nice flat, even surface for your patio. If you’re struggling to get the slabs down to the right level, the best thing to do is to remove the slab altogether and remove any excess bedding first.

Fill the joints
Use cement and sand mix or a jointing compound to fill the joints. There are many ready-mixed jointing compounds that can save you time. Leave to set for 24 hours.

Tips on how to lay Indian sandstone paving
When it comes to laying sandstone pavers, it’s important to check that you have the slab the correct way up. It’s not uncommon for people to lay the stones upside down, which often still looks great. But if you want to ensure you get the best aesthetics with your paving project, be sure to double-check.
Sandstone has beautiful organic textures, so it would be a shame to get the stone the wrong way up. Take extra care when cleaning the stone as sandstone is soft and can be prone to scratches. It is also advised to seal your patio or driveway once you are done.

Tips on how to lay limestone paving
Limestone paving is much smoother in its appearance and some may find it to be easier to lay for that uniform look. Although it’s not quite as soft as sandstone, care still needs to be taken when washing the stone. It’s best to avoid acidic cleaners and sealing the stone is always recommended.

For advice on choosing the right type of paving material for your project, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team. Call [insert number] to speak to us today.