Garden Advice

How to lay paving slabs on concrete

Paving over concrete may seem like a tough job, but with the proper equipment and knowledge, a DIY afternoon can be enjoyed by anyone willing to put in the effort. Paving is a great option for anyone who wants to improve their outdoor space. We see how people in lockdown have transformed their sheds, converting them into yoga studios, pubs, artists studios, etc. And one of the most important steps in all of those projects is paving, leading to the outdoors adventures of a lifetime. 

So if you:

  • Want to install pavers but aren’t sure how;
  • Are wondering where to start and what tools and supplies you might need;
  • Want a long-lasting and durable change of scenery;
  • Have an unpaved patio you’d like to refine

Then, read along and find the solutions!

Necessary tools for paving

Preparation is a vital part of the process so make sure you have the right tools for the task. Here’s a list of the equipment you will need to pave over concrete:

  1. Brick jointing tool – a finishing tool for smoothing mortar-filled brick joints
  2. Brush with hard bristles
  3. Chalk line
  4. Protective gloves
  5. Rubber Mallet
  6. Spirit level
  7. Tape Measure
  8. Wheelbarrow – for the mixing

Those tools come in handy when laying patios and laying paving slabs on a concrete base in general.

Appropriate materials for the job

With the right tools in hand, it’s time for the next step. Here are the materials you will need for laying a patio over an existing concrete base:

  1. Cement
  2. Patio slabs
  3. Sharp sand
  4. Water

You can easily find all the materials in the construction supply store. If you’d prefer, you can also order online and have them delivered to your door. 

You may also like:
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Building vs. Sharp Sand: Which One Should You Use?

How to lay a patio over concrete: step by step guide

This process is not the only one out there but it is the one that our specialists found the most effective for a DIY job. Follow the steps carefully and don’t rush anything. 

Assemble the supplies 

Arm yourself with the proper supplies and choose the type of slabs you’ll be using. If you’re unsure of the outline, look up websites for popular paving patterns. The price range varies, but with additional research, you can cut down the costs. If you want to make a distinguishable border around the patio, use two different kinds of pavers and make sure to leave a gap between the frame and the house.

Don’t forget to put on protective gloves, as this project can get messy. It’s a good idea to use ones made from a thicker material for greater protection. 

Clean the perimeter

Before you begin, make sure the concrete surface is cleaned thoroughly, including the edges. Using a sweeping brush (or any stiff brush) and wash the concrete with a hose to take care of the more stubborn dirt spots. The surface has to dry before you proceed. 

Fill any existing cracks as they can be detrimental to the adhesion of the slabs. Get rid of any plants and weeds that have found their way between the cracks. More than one coat may be needed when covering gaps. 

Prime the surface

Use a cement-based primer – it will guarantee that the slabs are laid securely. An adhesion primer resists alkali, peeling, and efflorescence. 

Plan out the placement

As the concrete is drying, plan out where the pavers will go. With the help of a measuring tape and chalk, draw the line that will establish the positions of the borders. You wouldn’t want unpleasant surprises later should the placement turn out unsatisfactory. “Measure twice, cut once,” wise people say – it’s twice harder to go back and redo once the placing process has begun.

Create a mortar mix

To make the mortar, you will need to mix four parts of sand, one part cement, and one part water. Use just enough water to ensure that the consistency will be firm (the mix shouldn’t be liquid). Apply and smooth out a thin, even layer of the mixture. The coating should be around 30mm.

Lay the pavers

When putting the pavers onto the mortar mixture, make sure to leave a small distance between the slabs (use a tape measure to even the gap to about 10mm) and then gently secure them into place with a rubber mallet. It’s okay if there’s a little space between the border pavers and the patio’s edge. Keep an eye on not letting them go beyond the boundaries. Use the spirit level to ensure that the pavers are all levelled and in straight lines.

Fill in the excess spaces

The final step is filling in those gaps with the leftover mortar mix. The brick jointing tool will help further to ensure the surface is smooth. To flatten the joints evenly, press and run the brick jointer along the mortar beds. It would be best if you were careful not to stain the top of the slabs with mortar, as it can leave lasting marks. 

After completing the task, you will need to allow at least 24 hours before walking on the pavers. Once the pavers have dried, you will be able to enjoy your new patio and start planning these long summer barbeque afternoons with friends and family. 

Hire professionals

If you’re looking to make that change but don’t have enough time, you should think about contacting professionals. The experts can deliver all the necessary materials and provide you with various slabs to choose from to achieve different layouts and patterns. If you are unsure of the result or prefer to go for a hassle-free job, get familiar with our handyman quotes and book the service through Fantastic Handyman. 

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  • Prepare the right tools and materials
  • Clean concrete surface thoroughly
  • Apply prime to secure the slabs
  • Arrange pavers and carefully fill the gaps
  • Smooth everything over as you go

Have you laid paving slabs before? Please share your experience in the comments below and let us know your dos and don’ts when covering the concrete patio.

Image source: Shutterstock /esbprofessional

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