Garden Advice

How to Point and Repoint Paving Slabs

So, the time for outdoor fun has come and you need to straighten up your yard and to refresh the patio. And as you probably know, part of its maintenance is repointing the paving slabs. Or you are, maybe, a new home owner, in a process of laying new patio slabs or garden paths, then probably you need to get familiar with how to point paving slabs for the first time. 

This is an important task, since properly pointed paving slabs ensure the neat appearance of your patio intact. And most importantly, pointing or repointing the patio correctly prevents your hard exterior surface from frost and water damage. Last but not least, the lack of cracks in the newly filled joints, after you’ve pointed your patio, will also prevent unwanted vegetation from growing between the patio slabs, which can give the patio a bit of a neglected appearance, as well as affect its structural integrity. 

The task may seem a bit time-consuming but if a few simple steps are followed, the result will be satisfying and rewarding!

So, if you:

  • Love doing DIY work in your yard;
  • Wish to acquire a new hardscaping skill;
  • Want to do the right thing for your patio pavement by yourself;

Then just keep on reading to learn how to point paving slabs the easy way!

Easy-to-follow tips on pointing a patio 

There are more than one ways used for pointing paving slabs. They mainly differ by the pointing mixture used in the process. For instance, with some methods, the paving slabs need to be wetted slightly beforehand, whereas with others – there’s no need for that.

In any case, the most traditional patio pointing technique uses cement-based mortar that needs to be mixed with water, first, while some of the more contemporary methods use a ready dry mix of sand and cement, a resin compound or a polymeric type of pointing material.

The traditional sand and cement pointing method

Also known as “rigid pointing”, the technique requires mixing sharp or silver sand (depending on how wide the joints are) with cement, in order to create a mortar mix by adding water to it. Usually, the sand-cement ratio used is 1:1. Only paving slab joints larger than ½ an inch require a sandier mortar with a ratio of 3:1. 

Note that this pointing method is weather-sensitive and needs to be used on a completely dry, but not too hot day. The paving slabs that need pointing also have to be free of moisture.

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The ready-to-use compound method

This patio pointing technique may require the opposite of the previous method. If you use a ready mix of sand and cement, then you need moisture for the material to set in right, so a humid day would be just right for the job. The patio slabs also need to be completely saturated. The reason is that the dry substances contained in the ready compound need moisture so that the product does its thing more effectively. This pointing method ensures the flexibility of the joints, as opposed to the “rigid” wet mortar method. 

So, how does the patio pointing process go?

Time needed: 2 days.

  1. Clean your patio

    Give the patio a good clean and also clean the joints from debris.

  2. Saturate the slabs

    If you choose to use the ready compound method with a dry mix of sand and cement, don’t forget to saturate the paving slabs, first. Now is the right moment to do it. Disregard this step, if you are using the mortar method, where you mix the substances well with water, first.

  3. Fill the joints

    Make sure you stuff the joints completely with mortar, without leaving any air bubbles, since they may cause cracking of the pointing material later on.

  4. If you use the ready dry mix technique, just brush in the product between the slabs by sweeping the mixture into the joints, using a soft brush

    Use a metal tool of some sort to compress the mixture without leaving any gaps and air pockets, in order to achieve a strong patio structure. The moisture in the air and from the ground underneath will help with the setting process.

  5. Sweep across the joints

    Once you’ve swept in the dry compound (or stuffed the mortar mix) well into the joints, all you need to do is to remove the excess mixture from the paving slabs. It is recommended to sweep across the joints, in order to leave them undisturbed.

  6. Remove the excess pointing material

    Try to remove the excess pointing material from the patio as quickly as possible to avoid staining of the paving slabs.

  7. Let it dry

    Allow about 48 hours without foot traffic, so the pointing compound can set in the joints correctly.

Now the patio pointing is completed, so you can enjoy using it at your leisure.

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How to repoint a patio

The process of repointing a patio goes in the same way as the one described above. There are just a couple of steps that you need to take beforehand:

  1. Remove the existing old pointing material from the joints. For this purpose, it would be best to have at hand a hammer, a bolster and a plugging chisel – for tighter joints.
  2. Clean the joints thoroughly before proceeding with the steps from the pointing process, we’ve shared with you already. If you go with the ready compound method, you can use a hose to help you with the cleaning process, since paving slabs and joints need to be well saturated anyway.

What’s left is to follow the steps described in the pointing paving slabs process above.

There are other patio pointing products like two-part epoxy resin that kind of seals the slabs and joints between them, once applied. It ensures also the flexibility of the joints in extreme fluctuations of temperature, meaning no cracks and weakness issues will occur with any slight movements of the slabs.

For this reason, experts claim that once you’ve installed your patio with a resin-based pointing material, then no repointing will be ever necessary. In contrast, with the “rigid” mortar or the ready dry sand and cement mix methods, you’ll need to consider repointing your paving slabs every once in a while.

So, keep in mind this if you’re wondering about which pointing method to go with.

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Do you need professional help?

Now, you know how to point and repoint paving slabs on your own. But if you still feel uncertain about what kind of pointing mix would be best for your patio and you are not sure how smooth the whole pointing process will go, or if you simply lack the time to do the repointing patio job by yourself, cheer up! All you have to do is contact Fantastic Services and book a professional paving service, performed by skilled and experienced experts. They will be happy to help you with pointing your paving slabs and will complete the task in an efficient and diligent manner in no time! Just say the word!

Need a professional?

Find a landscaping expert to point your paving slabs professionally!

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  • Choose the pointing method, which suits you best.
  • Consider the weather and pick a suitable day, taking into account the method you will use.
  • Wet your patio first if you go with the ready dry sand and cement mix method or make sure the paving slabs are completely dry if you choose the mortar or the resin-based pointing technique.
  • Follow the steps of the pointing process, but also always read the manufacturer’s instructions on the pointing product you’re going to use.
  • Sweep and clean the patio quickly, when done, so it doesn’t get stained with any excess pointing material.
  • Keep in mind that hiring the Fantastic professionals is a smart and time-saving option, too!

Was this post helpful? We will greatly appreciate your comments on our post about how to point and repoint paving slabs!

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