How to lay concrete patio slabs

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A patio serves as a gathering for family members and friends for outdoor fun, barbecues and other gatherings. While there are a variety of options for patio layout, many homeowners choose concrete slabs, which are inexpensive compared to other stones and can create a safe, uniform patio surface. Installing these stones requires extensive preparation to ensure a level surface and proper drainage below your patio for a lifetime of use.


How to lay concrete patio slabs

1
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A patio serves as a gathering for family members and friends for outdoor fun, barbecues and other gatherings. While there are a variety of options for patio layout, many homeowners choose concrete slabs, which are inexpensive compared to other stones and can create a safe, uniform patio surface. Installing these stones requires extensive preparation to ensure a level surface and proper drainage below your patio for a lifetime of use.


Step One

Put down wooden stakes to lay out the design for your patio area. Tie long nylon cords between the stakes to mark off the area.


Step Two

Excavate the area 7 inches deep, using a garden spade or flat-edged shovel. This will remove grass and loose soil, revealing the sturdier sub-soil below. Check periodically with a level and tape measure to ensure that you are maintaining a uniform 7-inch depth.


Step Three

Level the newly-exposed area with a plate compactor or hand tamper. This will create a smooth, even surface to support your patio installation. Cover the area with landscape fabric to create a smooth, even base for your installation. Landscape fabric will also aid with controlling drainage and water runoff beneath your patio.


Step Four

Cover the landscape fabric with a 4-inch layer of patio/paver base material. Use a garden rake to spread the material fully and evenly across the fabric. Use a level if necessary to check the proper lay of the surface.


Step Five

Cover the landscape fabric with a 4-inch layer of patio/paver base material. Use a garden rake to spread the material fully and evenly across the fabric. Use a level if necessary to check the proper lay of the surface.


Step Six

Moisten the patio paver base and compact the material with your plate compactor or hand tamper. This will solidify the base for a more firm support. Spread 1 inch of paver sand over the area. Level the sand by running a flat board over the top, skimming uneven areas away. Moisten the sand slightly to create a compact, even surface. This surface must be completely flat to properly support your patio slabs.


Step Seven

Start at one corner of your patio area. Press your first concrete slab as close against the corner as you can, and press the next slab in directly next to it. Lay the slabs on top of the even sand surface; no glue is required. Tap an uneven slab gently into place with a rubber mallet to create an even surface. If the slab is too low, add a little sand beneath the slab and then tap it into place.


Step Eight

Cut pavers to fit into corners or tight spaces, using a diamond-blade wet saw. Fit slabs into their proper places until all slabs are installed. Add a retaining edge around the slabs, set about 1 inch below the patio surface. Push the edge tight against the pavers and hammer spikes into place to hold it there. This will prevent the slabs from sliding out of place.


Step Nine

Pour paver sand over the patio surface. Brush the sand into the joints between the slabs with a stiff-bristle broom, sweeping any excess off the patio. This will create a more uniform look to the slabs.


Step Ten

Mist the patio with your hose to work the sand deeper into the joints. Fill any gaps with more sand until the patio is complete.


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