How to Set Stone Pavers With Mortar

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Stone pavers are a commonly used material for flooring patios and walkways and require a generally straightforward installation process, compared to other patio materials. Not only are pavers usually associated with a simple installation, but they also offer a stable and durable surface suitable for most traffic and weather conditions, and are available in a seemingly endless combination of colors and shapes. Installing stone pavers over mortar instead of just sand offers a foundation that can last much longer and withstand more abuse.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Square-tip shovel
  • 4-foot level
  • Weed barrier (fabric)
  • Razor knife
  • Sand bedding
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Mortar mix
  • Electric drill w/ mixing paddle
  • Brick trowel
  • Stone pavers
  • Rubber mallet
  • Angle grinder w/ masonry blade
  • Remove existing soil where stone pavers are to be set, using the square-tip shovel. The depth should be the thickness of the pavers plus an additional three inches for the bedding sand and mortar. Use a tape measure to confirm the necessary depth and the level to ensure a level base.

  • Place overlapping rows (by about eight inches) of weed barrier across the newly excavated area, using a razor knife to trim the barrier material to fit.

  • Set an even 2-inch-thick layer of bedding sand across the weed barrier and soak it with water to settle the sand. Use the 4-foot level to ensure a level area; remove or apply additional sand as necessary.

  • Mix the mortar in a 5-gallon bucket with the electric drill and mixing paddle, according to the directions on the mortar packaging.

  • Pour about a 1-inch-thick layer of mortar in a corner (it is best to work outward from a corner). You should not pour so much mortar that you will not be able to reach across it. Spread the mortar to achieve the proper thickness using the brick trowel.

  • Set a stone paver in the corner, pressing gently and using a small level to ensure a level surface. Lay the following stone pavers, working your way outward from the corner until finished. Apply additional mortar as necessary and butt the paver edges together to leave little to no joint spacing. Set the 4-foot level across the newly set pavers as you work to ensure a level surface; tap the pavers with the rubber mallet to correct as necessary.

  • Allow the mortar to fully cure before moving on to the next step, according to the timing indicated on the mortar packaging.

  • Apply small amounts of bedding sand to the stone paver joints to fill any gaps, and sweep away the excess with a broom.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cut any pavers to fit using the angle grinder with a masonry blade, as necessary; refer to the angle grinder owner's manual for safety and operation instructions.

References

  • Step-by-Step Outdoor Stonework; Mike Lawrence; 1995
  • Masonry Skills; Richard T. Kreh; 2007
  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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