How to Lay Flagstone
Nowadays, flagstone is the preferred stone (or material) for laying pathways, patios and backyards. It is defined as a “versatile sedimentary stone”. Flagstone offers variant designer solutions as it varies in color (including shades and tones), size, and shape. The finished product is often a very natural-looking, attractive ground.
The article provides instructions on how to lay flagstone both with or without cement. If you live in a warm climate you may not need cement. However, cement prevents the base foundation from sinking and going loose.
Instructions for Preparation
Tip: Flagstone is rather heavy. It is most beneficial to have an assistant when laying flagstone yourself.
- Determine where you want to lay your flagstone. Ideally, choose a level and flat place, or someplace where it wouldn't be difficult to level out yourself. You can do this by removing excess soil.
- Measure area and multiply the length times the width to determine how large an area you'll have to cover. This will help you know how many flagstones will be required.
- Choose your flagstone-- pick a color, size and shape that you find appealing. You should know that regular flagstones would convey a more official look, whereas, irregular – a vintage one.
- With the help of the district electrician mark all underground wiring spots. Use stakes or spray paint for it.
- Arrange the flagstones by laying them on top of the actual area first to check how well they will fit together. This will be especially useful if your flagstones have irregular shapes, so it can be a bit like fitting together a puzzle. Laying them on top before you're actually installing them will give you an idea of how they will look and help you solve any problems with shapes and sizes before you get to actually laying them. Remember-- at this point, you do not want to secure them down.
- When you have laid the flagstones in proper way number them accordingly with chalk so you'll know where you decided to put them. Don't use paint-- you want to be able to wash the numbers off after laying the stones.
Laying Flagstones on Natural Ground
- Make a 4-5″ excavation of the whole area intended for laying flagstone. With a carpenter's level make sure the base surface is even.
- Add a 2" layer of sand. If the ground is too wet, add crushed gravel before adding sand. Either with plate compactor or hand tamper, pack the base.
- Begin with one corner and gradually proceed with the numbered flagstones, putting them in place.
- Fill gaps between the flagstones with sand. To level stones tap with hammer when required.
- When done with laying stones, check the spot with a level and make corrections where needed.
- Add some more sand over the flagstone area and sweep into the remaining gaps. Sprinkle the surface with water to let the sand and flagstones “sit”. You can walk on it after 24 have passed.
Laying Flagstone on Cement
- Power wash and let dry completely the concrete intended for the flagstones.
- Lay out and number your flagstones to decide the arrangement.
- As per the package instructions, prepare the thin-set mortar (instructions may vary).
- Apply 0.25 – 0.5″ of mortar to the bottom of the flagstone-- the side intended to lay on the cement. Position the flagstone; press a little.
- Lay flagstones leaving small gaps in between.
- When all flagstones are laid on cement let the mortar dry for the next 24 hours.
- Combine powdered color additive with grout (if used), add grout in the gaps. Use the trowel to smooth it.
- Remove the waste grout with a wt cloth. Leave for 24 to dry.
- Now you are equipped with basic instructions on how to lay flagstones.
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