How to Lay Paving Stones in Concrete

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Laying paving stones in concrete gives them a permanence not found with sand or gravel bases. This is the preferred base for close-fitting paving stones arranged in specific patterns.

Things You'll Need

  • Crushed Rocks
  • Gravel
  • Paving Stones
  • Sand
  • Shovels
  • 2-by-4 Boards
  • Cement
  • Levels
  • Mallets
  • Remove turf and topsoil to a depth of the stone plus 2 inches. If you plan to park cars on the paved area, dig farther to allow for a 4-inch sub-base of crushed rock as well.

  • Allow for drainage by creating a slight slope away from nearby buildings. A drop of 1/2 inch per yard is about right.

  • Spread 1 inch of sand across the bottom of the area. (Add the sub-base of crushed rock first if applicable.)

  • Level the sand with a 2-by-4 by dragging the board's edge across the sand and frequently tamping it down.

  • Position the stones and the borders in the sand. This is where they'll be when you're finished, so be precise when laying them out.

  • Mix 1 part cement with 4 parts sand and add enough water to make a mortar.

  • Begin at a corner and remove 4 stones. Spread the mortar 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick in the open space where the stones were.

  • Set the stones back in place in the mortar. Tap each with a mallet (buffered by a block of wood) as you go. You want to make sure that each stone is set evenly.

  • Place 1/4-inch-wide wooden spacers between the stones as you lay them. Use scrap wood to make these.

  • Use a 2-by-4 board and a carpenter's level as you go to make sure the stones are level.

  • Pull the spacers out before the mortar dries.

  • Let the mortar set for at least 36 hours. Avoid allowing any weight on the stones, or they may wobble later.

  • Finish the project by mixing 1 part dry cement and 3 parts dry sand. Sprinkle this into the spaces between the stones and brush away any excess.

  • Go over the entire area with a very fine spray of water to wet the cement-and-sand mixture.

  • Expect the surface to set within 48 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Accurate measurements are very important when laying pavers in close patterns.
  • Keep the top level about 3/4 inch below the height of the lawn; you'll be able to mow right up to the edge without worrying about damaging your mower.
  • Consider renting a power plate vibrator. This machine looks something like a lawnmower with a flat metal plate in the bottom. Go over the entire area to press the stones into place and ensure that they're level.
  • Don't attempt this project if there's a chance of rain. The mortar won't hold if it's too wet.

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