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How to lay paving slabs

If you're thinking about laying a patio for the summer, you'll want to know how to lay paving slabs. If you get it right, you won't need to change a thing for years. If you get it wrong, you'll be walking on uneven paving slabs until you find the time to replace the whole thing.

Before you begin

Before you actually start laying the patio, you need to do a dry run. Just laying out the paving slabs in the order you want them when the patio's finished will help you check the sizes, the layout and most importantly, that you have enough paving slabs.

How to lay paving slabs

Now you know that you have enough slabs you can start to lay them out. You'll need to prepare a firm foundation before you start work. To do this use a concrete mix that's 6 parts all-in-one ballast and 1 part cement. Mix this together with water so that it's damp enough so that it binds. Cover the whole area with this mixture and give a 75mm depth all around. Level this with a shovel and then onto the next step.

Laying slabs

Lay the paving slabs onto a mortar bed which should support the whole slab. You'll need a mortar mix of 6 parts sand and 1 part cement. As with the concrete mix, make it damp but not too wet.

String lines

Set up two string lines to act as guides. Spread out some mortar to an area slightly bigger than a paving slab and then lift and lower the slab carefully into place.

Final stage

The final stage in how to lay paving slabs involves using a rubber mallet to gently press and tab the slabs into place. Use a spirit level to check that the slabs are in place as you'd like and then all you need to do is to leave your creation to set over a 24 hour period.

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