In this weeks article, we’re going to cover the key things you need to know in order to successfully lay your own patio. We’ll be covering the entire process from top to bottom including visual references along the way. Plus tips on how to stay safe.
Before you begin
Choosing your materials can be difficult as there are a vast amount of slabs available. The only limit to your patios design is your imagination. If you’re looking for inspiration when not come and check out Patioworld! Our experienced team can offer you great advice to make sure your project runs smoothly. We also provide an extensive range of paving slabs to choose from.
To allow for proper water runoff, your patio should feature a small decline away from any buildings, of around 1:60.
If your patio is going to adjoin a grassy area, make sure it sits beneath the grass line. This will make sure you can continue to mow it properly. 10-12mm is usually a good rule of thumb.
Quick tips -Fasten down any timber markers with screws or ties so that when you come to use them, they don’t slip away. Lay your timber markers outside of your line markings if you intend to use them as a guide for your patio edge. If you place them inside, you won’t be tiling in the right place.
How to lay a patio
Planning & Measuring
First things first have a plan written down. Include measurements for the decline you will incorporate, as well as the total area of your patio. Plus any obstructions present, such as manhole covers or drains. These will affect the amount of material you need, so be sure to include them. If you’re unsure of how much you need, you can always use or handy Paving Calculator.
Once you have your plan its time to start putting it into practice. You now need to replicate your plan accurately in the area you are intending to use. This can be done either with chalk on hard surfaces, or non-toxic spray paint for grass. Once you have this outline, it’s a good idea to mark out further using timber so that you can begin the laying process against a hard surface. Remember to include markings for your slope, again using timber to demonstrate the depth and location of the fall
Preparation might seem complicated, but it’s fairly simple when you know what you’re doing.
- Firstly, get rid of the existing floor and dig to about 150mm. You will use this to create the foundation.
- You can create a solid patio base from two key components. Hardcore should be laid first, with a depth of roughly 60-80mm.
- Next, you should ensure that the hardcore is adequately compressed. Compression can be achieved manually, but a Compactor Plate is recommended for the best results, which can always be hired for a small fee.
- Once this is complete lay your bedding mortar on top of the hardcore. If you’re mixing your own, be sure to use 6 parts sand to 1 part cement.
Now on to getting your patio slabs down. With each slab you lay, be sure to check the alignment twice before you move on. Once a slab has been laid, give it a few firm taps with a mallet to ensure its well bedded before you continue, use a piece of your leftover timber to protect the paving. Every so often check your levels with a spirit level and adjust as necessary (don’t forget there should be a slight slope away from your home)
Once your patio has been completely laid, leave about 24 hours for it to dry. Once this is complete you can begin to fill the gaps between the slabs.
- If you are mixing your own, similar to last time use sand and cement. However this time you should use 4 parts sand to 1 part cement.
- Once mixed the end result should be firm but slightly wet when squeezed in the hand, forming a ball and holding its shape for a short while.
- After this apply the mortar to the joining points and finally get rid of the excess with a damp sponge.
Once you’ve finished laying your patio it should be ready to use after a day of drying. All that leaves is maintenance. Remember natural stone paving is more susceptible to weather damage, so keep an eye out for wearing. As well as this, don’t use any harsh chemicals on them, as this can cause serious damage.
Remember to regularly check for cracks or failed pointing, as you could be left with one or several slabs that need to be replaced.
If you require any further guidance on how to lay your own patio, get in touch with our team. For more handy DIY tips, follow our blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter. Or for any on the spot advice, you can visit one of our stores. We’d love to hear from you!