seems to me I remember reading an article a few years back
on laying this kind of walk in sand or fine gravel and when
you got done you spread some cement over the joints and
misted it with water to bond it all together. Has anyone
ever tried it and how did you go about it, and did it
Let me share a few things I learned about while spreading about 9,000# of
A LOT depends on the base. I live in the desert. We don't have soft soil.
We don't have a lot of rain. We don't have frost heave. Where you put it
is pretty much where it stays. We just used sand and decomposed granite for
Sandstone comes in uneven thicknesses, so is hard to get flat on top. You
have to fit the stones, either roughly, or cut and fit, and then let them
lay there for a couple of months and get walked on. And rained on. Then
you have to pull up many and relevel.
The joints are very very critical, as you can do a really nice job of
laying, and then mess it up with a bad joint job. If the slabs are big
enough to stay put, you don't have to do much but fill in the joints. If
you use sand, you have to keep doing it as the sand disappears to wherever
stray socks go.
If you use ANY concrete technique, special care must be given because the
flagstone is very absorbent, and will suck up the concrete and lime. If you
use a mix of powder cement and sand, you have to be VERY careful to just get
it in the joints, and not on the top of the flagstone. When you wet it, you
need a mist that is finer than fine to just wet it and not form any puddles
that can take the concrete onto the flagstone. You need to press it down so
it fills any air pockets. This is usually a day long process of spraying a
very fine mist, and then doing it again a few times a day for a few days.
Another way, which is the way I am going to do it is to use a grout bag. I
still have to level the wayward stones, then, I will vacuum the sand out of
the joints. Dig it out with a screwdriver and brush. Get it really clean.
Then mix a fairly firm grout, and work in about three foot sections. This
is a hands and knees deal, and you want to push the mortar mix into the
joint with a striker, a plastic putty knife, popsicle sticks, wet fingers,
whatever works to get it in there, and leave the cleanest strip of mortar
you can do. What you see is what you're going to get. Coloring can be
added to mortar to jazz it up from the standard gray. A final stroking with
wetted fingers gives it a smooth top, but again be careful not to puddle
water or create water runs because the concrete will go out and make your
flagstone gray where you don't want it to be.
Keep it misted for a couple of days to slow drying and prevent cracking.
Cleaning of goofs can be done with toothbrushes, small wirebrush
toothbrushes, muriatic acid, or just real attention to details.
Flagstone is a pain in the ass to do right. But if you do it right, you
have a beautiful thing that will last for a lot of years. Any amount of
time spent to do it right the first time will save you time on going back
and RE doing it later.
Please repost here and keep us posted on progress so we all can follow along
and learn from your mistakes. I should be starting on mine soon, as I have
just finished a 13 month remodel of the houses. I will also post my
...not only that but unless you can lay down a good thick layer, the
flagstone will settle and when it does, it'll crack and loosen the
cement to the point it'll all have to be pulled after the very next
spring thaw. Sand is the best way to go.
I don't recommend the cement. Using proper sand with a good foundation
will result in a stable good walk. Over time, (especial the first few
years, the sand and settling will cause some movement in the stone. With
sand all you need do is to lift up the stone and use a little more sand to
level it out and fill in the joints.
If you use cement, you will likely have less settling, but you will
still have some and when you do, it means tearing it up which is a lot more
difficult and the results will not look the the original so it will look
like a patch job.
Ive put in many flagstone walks, patios, dry and wet set, and use a
solid base. Dry set is easier and looks better. Use fine gravel dry
setting the stone in dry mortar with a mortar-gravel base. It allows
you the excess time you need to level and place the stones , stones vary
in thickness and wet setting is much harder to get it even with the
limited time alowed. I just looked at one done 20 yrs ago it looks
great. The mortar cures completly from ground moisture and rain. My
uneven jobs are wet set.
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