Mortar bed thick enough to let you level the top surfaces. Ever watch a
block layer? Toss out mortar bed, set block, tap block to level with
neighboring block, scrape off ooze out.
If your stones vary considerably in thickness, dry lay them first so you can
see how much mortar you need under the thinnest. The mortar needs to be
stiff enough to support them; you can cheat a bit if need be by using a
couple of pebbles or whatever.
Maybe. Best to just even up the slab...dig out, add concrete. If the patch
area is very long, add some dowels...drill horizontally into existing slab,
insert dowels cut from rebar, pour your patch.
Regarding "How would you suggest I lay the flagstones so that one can walk
side of the foundation?"...
You really only have two options: raise the walkway or lower the pipes.
People *do* set flags/bricks/pavers directly on the ground. People do lots
of things and then wonder why what they did disintegrates. If you want a
decent job, you must...
1. Remove the sod/plants/soil to a depth sufficient to accomodate 3" of
compacted bed material + 1" of bedding sand + the thickness of the pavers.
2. Add bedding material. Around here, they use crushed concrete. Works
well, good mix of fines and larger pieces. To get 3" compacted of that, one
needs about 4 1/2". The material used varies depending on where you are.
The bedding material is dumped in then raked out to flatten and provide
desired slope for drainage.
4. Lay sand, rake and even up. The purpose of the sand is to provide a base
into which irregular surfaces can settle. If what you are laying has even
surfaces, you don't really need the sand *IF* the coarser bedding material
has a decent surface.
5. Lay the stone
6. Compact again (to settle stone into sand)
7. Do the joints.
You might want to consider having at least the prep work done by pros. We
did 1700 sq.ft. of brick in our courtyard a couple of years ago. The 3-4
man crew of Brazilians did all the prep, layed the bricks and sanded in the
joints in two days. A fair amount of cutting too. The cost, exclusive of
bricks but including all other materials, worked out to be $2.50 sq.ft. A
Some general comments:
1 - From the pic of where the walkway is I don't
understand all the fuss in the other thread about
protecting the PVC pipes against the wall. Looks
like a perfect spot for some flowers, shrubs with
mulch covering the pipes.
2 - As to what is holding the existing flagstones, you
have what appears to be some of the material that
oozed out around the edge in one pic. Chip a piece
off and look at it. Normally you'd expect it to be in
thinset or similar, but it could be some kind of adhesive.
3 - For the new walkway you don't need any of that. You
need a stabilized base, which usually means removing
any soft earth that is there, replacing it with base
material which could be crushed rock or gravel. Then
you put about an inch of sand or stone dust and use
that to bed the flagstone. I'd put down metal edging
first along the sides to give it a clean seperation from
You are planning on setting the pavers on the footing for
whatever that stepped planting bed with the "water feature"
in it ?
You need to know what level you will be setting the pavers
at and then either add concrete to the footing so it gets closer
to the finished level so you can use bedding mortar to attach
the stones, or you can use pack (stonedust) material -- not
sand... You would only be creating a situation where water
would be likely to collect and pool under the stones at the
footing which could do all sorts of terrible things over the
passage of time...
Others here have said enough explaining your question
about how the other flagstones are attached...
You need to rent a bigger saw, a gasoline powered cut
off saw with a diamond blade which uses water to keep
the dust down... You have so many cuts coming up and
that small little circular saw will not last through all of them
even with a diamond blade...
Sorry to say this to you but this project looks like it is
adding up to something that is well beyond your skill
level given the questions you have been asking about it...
Hire a professional stone mason to do it for you...
On Sat, 28 Jan 2012 07:22:25 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee
I have a tad over 2300 square feet of gold quartzite flagstone around
my house, all set over concrete. It started as a small lanai and then
a pool deck and a number of additions to that.
We used Type S mortar to set them with a bit of latex additive in the
mix to make things stick better
The first step is doing the puzzle. You start dry laying the stone
just to figure out what the pattern is going to be. This is probably
the most time consuming part but it is not time sensitive. We usually
played with the stone for a week or so in a given new area before we
If you are doing steps or some area that is critical on stone size, do
that first while you still have a lot of stone to choose from. That
usually eliminates having to do much cutting. We never really cut any
stone. That quartzite granite is real hard to cut anyway.
Once you are happy with the layout, lay down a thick mud bed of the
type S mortar and set the stone. Over the years we have developed a
couple of different techniques for doing this but the best way seems
to be to lay them and wipe the tops clean at the same time. You really
start to get an eye for getting them level. At first we used a 4' 2x4
as a guide. Like another poster said, be sure the final level is high
enough to accommodate the thickest stone.
Start in the far corner and work out to where you want to stop. Once
the stone is set, any glaze of mortar on the stone will come off with
a pressure cleaner. It does get a lot better with time. They will
always look dirty when you first do it but the mortar glaze goes away.
Don't mind the snake
On Sat, 28 Jan 2012 15:35:41 -0500, gfretwell wrote:
It took me almost the entire day (Saturday) to do this step!
It's bad enough that I mostly have small well broken pieces to deal with.
Luckily, both the steel diamond saw and the brown-material masonry saw
easily cut the flagstone (although the diamond saw seems to cut twice as
fast). Both dust up terribly!
Here is a picture of the stones very roughly laid out (without any
The puzzle is driving me CRAZY! (being ocd)
In addition ...
I'm not sure if you cut the last edge (the outside) edge last or if I cut
all the edges before setting them in concrete.
Either way, my plan is to cut them to fit today.
On Sun, 29 Jan 2012 19:06:55 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
While that's great advice, I don't have a helper to spray a hose on the
diamond saw, nor a wet saw apparatus - so - for this (my first concrete &
flagstone job) - it's going to have to be done dusty! :)
And, I understand why many are saying NOT to cut the stones, but this
picture should show why I must cut all the edges of the stones to match
the existing water feature:
BTW, I noticed water seeping out of the concrete of the water feature
(see the picture for details).
Is that water leak easily repairable while I'm working on this project?
On Tue, 31 Jan 2012 21:52:34 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
I was thinking of patching it up with 'hydraulic cement' but if painting
it with special paint works - that's what I'll do.
Only later. I haven't had a chance to work on it since Monday
unfortunately - so there's no progress to report.
The bags of mortar & concrete are getting wet by the day being outside in
the dew so I'd better hurry.
On Sun, 29 Jan 2012 21:09:48 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee
We always get the dry fit first. You really want a natural edge
showing and cut the parts that will be in the mud.
If you do end up with a cut edge, use a brick hammer to chip up the
edge a little to get the natural look back.
The quartzite granite we use is so hard it just laughs at a diamond
blade. You can get through it but it is painfully slow. The fiber
blades just smoke and wear away.
On Sun, 29 Jan 2012 23:14:08 -0500, gfretwell wrote:
Today I thought I'd finish the job (my first ever with concrete and my
first ever with flagstones) - but - alas - I only got six of about 18
flagstones cut. Sigh.
And, while laying them out uncut was certainly a good idea, it turns out
that I just couldn't fully process mentally the myriad permutations and
combinations inherent in that process. So, for example, three stones I
'thought' would fit perfectly, didn't fit.
So I had to remove them all anyway and start over (many times).
Here's a picture of just one permutation of the uncut flagstones:
I also learned that there's a LOT of leaning over with BOTH hands on the
heavy stones and you can't get around that (because there is a wall in
front of you). The best you can do is put a towel on your head to protect
it as you lean against the wall and use both hands on the stone.
Here's a picture of the cut stones.
If anyone knows whether that last (outside) edge cut is supposed to be
cut BEFORE or AFTER the flagstones are laid in concrete, it would be
helpful if you can let me know (before I make the final call on that).
Thanks for all your help!
- The hardest part is the dry jigsaw-puzzle and the cutting choices
- Given very few usable stones to work with doesn't help the matter
- Tomorrow, I hope, to finish the dry cutting - and then mortar them in!
If you want the outside edge of the stones to be flush with the outside
vertical wall, you would be hard put to cut them after laying without
screwing up the wall.
If I were doing it and wanted that edge to be straight, I would...
1. Dry lay the stones. Note that the inside edge need not be chock-a-block
to the pond wall (IMO)
2. Draw a line on the underneath front edge of the stone, number the stones
sequentially on the top.
2a. If you think you'd have trouble getting the stones back where they
belong, mark the edges of the stones on the vertical walls.
3. Cut all the stones on the line you marked
4. Lay the stones aligning the front (outside) edge with the wall.
I thank you for the description - but I don't understand as you 'seem'
to be talking about cutting the edge near the wall. Please allow me to
clarify (in case I explained it wrong).
The edge near the vertical wall is already cut. So are the side-to-side
edges (next to each block).
The edge I'm unsure about is the edge that eventually ends up in the
grass. That's what I'm calling the outside edge.
Here's a picture, taken just now at first light, that has the edge that I
was asking about pointed to.
I am not sure if it's best to cut that pencil line (which cuts the length
of each stone to exactly fifteen 1/2 inches away from the wall) BEFORE or
AFTER I set the stones in cement & mortar???
(Note: Unless suggested otherwise, I plan on cutting that line AFTER I
lay the stones permanently. That way, the outside (cut) line will always
be straight. I plan on snapping a chalk line where the pencil marks now
are and then slicing it with the circular saw & diamond blade.)
But I've never done this ... so that's why I ask. It just seems too hard
to get that outside edge straight any other way.
It was my fault for confusing all the terms (cement, mortar, concrete,
This half of the flagstone walkway already has an old 'concrete' base
(which I found unexpectedly when I dug up the lawn). So, all I will be
doing is putting 'mortar' on top of the concrete, about an inch (or so)
Then I will lay the flagstones in that bed of mortar and I will fill the
half-inch in between each stone with that same mortar.
Since the flagstones are of varying thicknesses, I will tap them with a
rubber mallet and use a level to level them off.
Then, after it all sets (a day or two later), my plan is to snap a chalk
line and then saw off the outside edge as shown in the previous picture:
The reason for sawing AFTER (and not before) is that I am hoping to get a
straighter edge than if I tried to even up each and every flagstone while
I am setting them in mortar.
Is this plan 'normal' to saw the ends off last?
The concrete was under the lawn? Be SURE to clean it well before you lay
anything. I hesitate to mention it but hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid)
works well for that. A dilute solution...and note that one adds acid to the
water, NEVER the reverse.
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