How to Lay Slabs – 6 Easy Steps with Expert Suggested Tips

How to Lay Slabs

Paving slab installation demands careful planning & execution. Some precautions must also be taken to guarantee a secure, efficient, and long-lasting surface. Placing slabs might seem more intimidating. But if you use the appropriate tools and follow the proper procedure, you’ll have the ideal surface in no time. So, if you want to know how to lay slabs, consider reading this article till the end. We’ve provided the step-by-step procedure and some important tips you need to consider.

You can use slabs to pave hard surfaces on sidewalks, entrances, patios, and other areas. The ideas and techniques for laying slabs are the same, despite the wide variety of slabs available, including Sandstone, Limestone, Porcelain, Concrete, etc. So, let’s check the installation process in detail.

But before moving forward with the procedure, let’s first check the list of tools and materials you’ll need while laying the slabs.

Tools and Materials Needed

The first and foremost thing you should do while laying the slabs is to collect all the tools and materials. So, check the list of all the materials and tools below.

  • Cement
  • Trowel
  • Sharp sand
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Pointing trowel
  • Gloves
  • Your paving slabs of choice
  • Tape Measure
  • Rake
  • Rubber mallet
  • Spirit-level
  • Jointing compound
  • Tarpaulin
  • Hard-bristled brush
  • Cement Mixer

How to Lay Slabs – Complete Procedure

Once you have gathered all the tools and materials you’ll need, it’s time to learn how to lay slabs. Discuss with the professionals first so you won’t ruin your space. If you have dark shade slabs like Black Limestone or any other dark paving slabs, you won’t require regular cleaning as you do for brighter shade slabs. However, cleaning is essential to maintaining the look of your slabs.

Step 1 – Digging the Surface

Digging the surface is the first step to learn how to lay slabs. Start digging the surface to a depth of 150mm. This is known as the subgrade layer. The turf would have taken around 3-4 inches of the ground. However, if the surface is covered with grass, you must remove it.

Step 2 – Level the Surface & Fill it with Gravel

Using your hand, remove rocks and other debris. Clean up the area. Once the surface is cleared and levelled, fill the sub-base layer with Gravel or anything ideal for the surface. Using a hand tamper, tamp down the surface and level it properly.

Step 3 – Pour Construction Sand

To create a fine and smooth surface, compact and level the building sand with a patting motion. Since construction sand is finer than the Gravel or limestone beneath it, any gaps in the sub-base layer will be filled, and the surface will be smoother. The bedding layer’s total thickness should be around 2 inches (5.1 cm).

Step 4 – Create a Levelling Layer

The slabs will be laid directly on top of the levelling layer. Thus it must be installed with extreme precision. The slabs may move side to side if the levelling layer is laid improperly, making them dangerous to walk on and damaging the slabs. You don’t have to compact this layer as this has to be left soft so it can be easily adjusted and acts as padding under the slabs.

Step 5 – Start Laying Slabs

Once you install the levelling layer, it’s time to start laying the slabs. Now, if you are laying your slabs by yourself, you might need help from professionals to lay your slabs perfectly. However, if you don’t want to hire any professional, you can take help from your friend or relative while laying the slabs to get a cleaner look. Ensure you keep the slabs as flat as possible to avoid damage or cracks. If you have light-coloured slabs including white or grey patio slabs, you need to clean them regularly to prevent any stains and dirt.

Step 6 – Fill the Joints

After laying all the slabs perfectly on the surface:

  • Leave it for 24 hours to set.
  • Once the slabs are perfectly laid on the surface, fill the joints with the jointing compound. This will help bind the pavers together.
  • After applying the jointing compound, sweep away the excess compound for a cleaner look.

How to Lay Slabs – Some Important Tips to Consider

We’ve already discussed the step-by-step procedure to help you learn how to lay slabs. But there are some essential tips and points that you have to remember while laying your paving slabs.

  • After successfully laying your paving slabs, you should consider sealing them to protect them from stains. You can use paver sealant to seal your slabs. This will help your pavers last for years.
  • Choosing the material for your slabs is essential if you want a durable and aesthetically pleasing look. There are various materials, including concrete, natural stone, porcelain paving, etc. So, ask professionals. They’ll guide you to choose the best and most durable material.
  • Proper preparation and planning are a must before laying your slabs. You should gather all the tools & materials, ask experts and professionals for help, calculate the number of slabs you will require, and fix the budget accordingly.
  • If you are laying the slabs on the grass, it is recommended not to lay them directly on the grass. Instead, you should dig down the surface and start installing the sub-base.
  • You should also think about weather conditions, ground conditions, and usage before you decide on how to lay slabs.

Conclusion

Hope this article helped you learn how to lay slabs. You need to follow these steps correctly and regularly check these essential tips so that you won’t miss out on any, and it will help you create an inviting space of yours.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want a deeper understanding of how to lay slabs, consider reading these frequently asked questions along with their answers.

Q1. What do you put under slabs when laying them?

You should lay a mortar mix consisting of four parts sharp sand to one part cement.

Q2. Can I lay paving slabs on the soil?

You can lay paving slabs on the soil. But you should lay the slabs on heavy clay soil that offers a durable paving solution.

Q3. Is it best to lay slabs on sand and cement?

Whether you are laying your slabs on sand or cement, it is recommended to bed down the slabs with a mortar mix.

Q4. How thick should mortar be for slabs?

The mortar should be around 30-40mm thick if you want your slabs to be correctly laid onto the surface.