Building a flagstone patio or walkway

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Building a flagstone patio or walkway is a beautiful, durable and affordable way to create a lasting accent to your landscape.

Before you start, make sure you gather up the following tools:

Measuring Tape
Paper and Pencil (for drawing plan/design)
Concrete Mixture
Stone Chisel
Circular saw with a diamond blade (if you don't own one, you can rent)
Enough flagstone to complete your walkway or patio

Creating a Patio in Dirt:

1) Lay out your area - Outline the patio area, using spray paint to mark your border, now begin removing any grass and level the area, if your soil is hard, break it up at least the top 2" before laying stone. Begin laying stone close to house or at any straight edge. If you work away from the house use a 4' level and with a 1/4" wood shim taped to one side of the level, use the level with the wood shim down and pointing away from the house to allow for the correct grade, when working parallel to the house flip the level with the wood shim facing up to allow for the correct grade.

2) Lay the stone - a tight joint lay the stone so that it overlaps the stone next to it and mark the stone that is not laid yet using a pencil or a scribe to follow the stones shape. Then cut the stone using a skill saw with a masonry blade set to a 1/4" depth, or a hammer and chisel only advancing the chisel 1/2 of the chisel width per strike. Overlap the stone past your border, then mark the stone if needed to trim is best done if in a small amount with a hammer and chisel by only trimming a 1/4 inch. When striking the stone to trim, only strike the stones edge a 1/4 inch at a time thereby nibbling the edge gradually which will help keep from breaking the stone.

3) Setting the stone- When setting the stone set the stone on the surface of the dirt then wiggle it from left to right. Then with a hammer handle, lightly tap around the edges of the stone. Now the stone is set. Continue this procedure around the entire patio. Once this has been completed you may fill in the joints with various dry materials using a broom.

- Note do not strike the chisel or the stone with a hammer too hard. Lighter hits are better. Take your time!

- Caution- Do not lay stone in the heat of the day due to the evaporation of moisture of the stone that makes the stone harder to cut.

- One day prior to laying the stone, wet the stone with a garden hose until moist, this will then help you cut the stone easier.

Patio on road base

Begin project by laying a 3'x 3' foot section of 2" thick road base or crusher fines and refer back to step one procedures of laying stone.

Creating a Patio in Concrete:

When using concrete or mortar first begin prep of stone by washing dirt and mud off of the surface with water and a scrub brush making sure to use a fabric type scrub brush. Once stone is clean, begin mixing in gallon container, three cups of Portland powder, one quart of concrete rock bonder and one quart of water. This will make a paste. Apply the paste to the clean surface of the stone prior to laying using a paintbrush. Mix mortar premix with a moisture consistency of thick mashed potatoes. Begin in a small section 3x3 of laying the stone with mortar facing down. If the mortar is too wet, then water will begin to rise near the edge. If the mortar is too dry then it will begin to develop cracks in the mortar while as it is setting up too fast.. Refer back to section of laying the stone. If water starts to float around edges, then stop working in the stone for at least an hour before continuing. This will prevent staining of the stone. Refer back to section of laying the stone.

When stone laying is complete then refer to section on how to grout joints.

Grouting- Clean section to be grouted of all debris. Next begin mixing grout. Using premix mortar, begin by using one half of a 90-pound bag. Add two cups of concrete bond (Elmers). Add liberal amounts of water until mortar is mixed thoroughly or can be picked up by hand and shaped into a baseball. Your hand should only have slight moisture from the mortar mix. Drop the baseball shape into the wheelbarrow from two feet high, it should lightly just break apart. This will indicate that it has correct moisture content.

Using a flat trowel scoop a bead of mortar on the long side on top of the trowel, then place the trowel parallel to the joint to be grouted on top of the stone. Use the trowel as a shield to protect the mortar from touching the stone. Begin using a normal household spoon forcing the mortar with the convex side down into the joint by striking it with the bottom of the spoon. This will create a valley. If water floats to the top stop strike the mortar for fifteen minutes.

Let set for one hour before sweeping any excess dry mortar off of the stone.

If any stains have occurred clean up the following day with muriatic acid and water mix of 20 parts water one part acid and a scrub brush. Be sure to only scrub the stone and no the mortar joint. Use latex gloves when mixing and eye protection always, once completed rinse off the area with water.

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