Buy Paving Slabs from No.1 Paving - Useful Guides
This guide talks you through a DIY installation & maintenance of a small Patio or a Paving Circle Feature. Professional advice should be sought for larger paved areas.
Other Guides -
Tail Lift Delivery - Paving Slabs
Dont forget your finished patio must be at least 150mm below the Damp Proof Course if paving upto a property. (Insurance & Building Regs - Seek professional advice if in doubt)
Modern decorative paving is not the same as the old 70's council slabs they usually replace. The use of 5-spot laying is not recommended as it leaves unsupported voids for frost to attack the slabs, causing cracks, rocking & erosion.
Level Your Site - A base of 75mm deep MOT1/CrushaRun/Hardcore is recommended. A Wacker/Vibrating Plate is a great investment on the day for leveling & compacting the base material. Rental charges vary but expect to pay around £30 a day. You want to achieve an un-noticable slant of 1cm for every 1m for drainage.
Prepare a Solid Mortar Base - A standard mortar mix is 5 parts grit/sharp sand to 1 part cement. Mix with enough water to make a not too wet, not too dry, workable mix. This can be done on a sheet of wood but dont mix more then 1 bag cement for each worker at a time as it will start to set before you use it up. Alternatively consider using a mini mixer if laying more then 5 sqm/circle. Lay enough mix on the prepared ground to lay each slab onto direct. Ensure the mix supports all areas of the slab. Use your own weight to gently wiggle the slab into place. Do not use a mallet unless you are skilled to do so as you will just snap the slab in half. Use a 4ft length of wood to check average levels across 2 or 3 slabs.
Keep Lines Straight - The slabs will want to spread out, use a straight line of string and correct any movement with a 4ft length of wood. Leave slabs for at least 24hrs before walking on them.
Pointing Up - DIY-ers may find it easier to point up a day or 2 later, using the same 5:1 ratio mix. You can also add dye to create a matching mortar to the slabs.
Looking After Your Patio
Efflorescence - doesnt affect many slabs but it may be described as a "milky bloom" or streaky chalky marks on the surface of a slab. It is simply a temporary release of salts from within the slab and is a natural effect of the high cement content. The quickest & most effective solution is too brush down with collected rain water as the acidity helps desolve. Do not use bleach, patio acid, wire brushes or high pressure spray on new slabs as this will cause more damage then assistance.
Maintentance - Sweep your patio regularly & pick up fallen leaves which will cause stubborn staining if left. Limit the use of mid pressure spray washing to once every 2/3 years if that. The use of salt in winter will cause immense damage to the surface by desolving layers of the face and we cannot accept any responsibility for erosion by salt.