Hard to tell from the photo, is it the footer for the wall?
It doesn't, necessarily. If hosing and brushing does the job, fine; if not,
HCl. What you want is for the old concrete surface to be clean enough for
the mortar you will use to lay the stone to bond well to it.
That's a good point. I've already ruined a couple by chipping as I was
Of course, that then means I have to be extra specially careful that I
put the mortar in the "grout slots" (whatever the slots between stones is
called) perfectly at the outside edge - or there will be messy blobs.
Hopefully, when it's done, I'll snap a picture and you guys might approve
(with caveats, I'm sure). :)
The slots are called "joints". Or even "spaces". You pack the grout into
the joints and yes, it will ooze out at the outside edge. After it sets a
bit - or even before depending on how stiff it is - take a trowel and cut
off the ooze out. Later, improve it more with the grout sponge someone
I've cut all but the final middle keystone.
Tomorrow I put the mortar down.
I have two questions about that - but I'll open a separate thread for
each since it's not the original topic of this thread.
Here's a picture as I closed up shop just after the sun set tonight:
On Sat, 4 Feb 2012 04:25:40 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee
Chuck, I'm no expert on this but is it safe to build up mortar 2"
thick? Is this going to be outside with freezing temps? I was
wondering if it's better to use some kind of cement that can be about
1 to 1.5 inches thick and then place these stones on top of it with
mortar. I realize if I'm correct, this is more work and cost but I'm
concerned about the longevity / durability of your stones and mortar.
Well just a thought and I may be wrong of course.
I don't know either! (I've never done any of this before.)
I 'assume' mortar is as strong as concrete (which is basically mortar
plus aggregate if I understand it correctly). Does the aggregate give
strength or does it just give it bulk for cost reasons?
As for freezing, it 'can' get to freezing out here - but rarely does. We
get a dusting of snow, for example, once every few years. Generally it
drops to freezing about 5 times a year, and always at night only. By
morning it's warmed up and melted.
One reason I need depth is the stones vary in thickness, even though I
tried (I really tried hard) to keep the thickness variation down to a
Another reason I 'want' depth is that there is the high spot at the left-
most side that is a ledge about two inches above the rest of the step. I
don't have to meet the two evenly. I 'could' have a small 1-inch step.
The problem is hard to describe so here's a picture of the small ledge
that has two flagstones in it. I was planning on bringing up all 20
flagstones to that same level to eliminate the ledge.
I have no idea how deeply the footer goes into the ground.
For better or worse, I've already set the first two stones to the upper
level (which previously existed, at a 90degree right angle to the shelf
that I am tiling):
My dilemma now is whether to raise the entire 20 tiles along the
shelf ... or ... to have a small 2" rise for the first two stones.
That question brings up a point I had not mentioned prior.
Since I had dug down to the footer (which was 2 inches under the existing
lawn), I now have the problem of the lawn being two inches higher than
the shelf (if I don't raise the shelf).
As much as I hate the thought of building a form and pouring a thin
(maybe less than 2") layer of concrete BEFORE adding the thick mortar to
accommodate the varying thickness sandstone ... it's looking like I have
to add a base to raise the tiles.
I picked up a small cultivator from Lowes today. I will use that to dig
up the lawn because it's currently HIGHER than the level of the sandstone
Here's the curing process ...
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