Installation - How do you Lay Natural Stone Pavers?
This is a very good question because installing stone pavers can be quite challenging!
On top of that, you may have found there are a lot of different opinions on the “correct” and “best” method of installing natural stone pavers.
As with any industry, there are also many “techniques” (aka shortcuts) that can save time and money which is all well and good until something goes wrong.
Doing it properly from the beginning would be best, wouldn’t you agree?
This is why it’s important to take advice specifically from those professionals who have a successful track record in the industry and preferably recommended by us.
When you speak to your installers, be sure to make notes and compare to below information. If you find any inconsistencies, make sure to get another opinion.
If you would like additional support, we are happy to chat with you over the phone.
It’s imperative to make sure you have chosen not only quality products but also a quality installer.
This can mean a world of difference once all your hard work is over.
There are three methods of installation
Rule Number 1 - Following Australian Building Standards is essential!
The information below should be considered a guideline and may require specific advice in relation to each paver or to the environment in which they will be laid.
The choice of best possible fixing materials, including sealers, should be determined specifically for each project.
Method One - The "Wet Lay" Method - recommended as most universal
This installation method can only be used on stones that are minimum 30mm thick.
1. All installations and their respected bases should always be installed on undisturbed native soil. Provision for drainage is ultimately the installer’s responsibility and can be managed by slope, drains or depth of base.
2. Install a minimum a 100mm compacted base in form of angular shape clean aggregate 5-15mm. NOTE: we do not recommend use of road base, crushed limestone, crusher dust, yellow or white sand.
3. Why Aggregate? - aggregate provide good drainage which is essential for appropriate installation.
4. Prior to installation of the base for paving you should consider use of non-woven geotextile to separate native ground from aggregate. This will prevent aggregate being pushed into native ground during compaction.
5. Once the base is ready the stone can be installed using mortar-bed installation. The mortar comprises 3 parts of washed sand, 1 part of GP white cement and water and/or additive. Thickness of the base and bedding indicated in these details are typical. Actual design specifications should always be determinate by a qualified professional.
6. Once the mortar mix is made it can be applied over the aggregate. The mortar bed should be a minimum of 30-40mm thick, depending on application. Using a bricklayer's trowel, the mortar can be spread evenly allowing for no air pockets. Each paver prior to placement on the mortar bed should be cleaned and the bottom of the paver brushed or trowelled with bond/slurry coat. NOTE: Bond/slurry coat will limit moisture penetration, prevent staining, and aid adhesion.
7. Once the mortar and paver are ready, the paver can be placed and set into the mortar using your hand or by gentle tapping with a rubber mallet. You should only tap the paver a few times to get it into position. Too much mortar and over-hitting the paver can lead to breakage.
8. DO NOT compact the surface of natural stone paving units with a plate compactor.
9. Use only diamond blades specifically designed for cutting natural stone. Always “wet-cut” natural stone and wash slurry from both surfaces before installing.
10. Using a stringline and level is recommended when using this technique to ensure the stone is laid evenly.
11. Once installed into its desired position, leaving a 3-5mm joint for grout, fill any voids and air pockets around the perimiter of the stone, leaving it completely sealed.
12. Once this paver is set you can move onto the next stone installation by repeating the same technique.
13. Once the mortar has set and the paver is solid, you can now walk on the area and proceed to grout (usually allow a minimum 24 hours to set the mortar before grouting)
14. NOTE: some pavers may require pre-sealing prior to grouting
15. Once you have finished grouting, you should clean off any excess grout from your pavers.
16. NOTE: always test Cleaners on an unobtrusive area of the installation to ensure that the cleaner is producing the desired outcome before applying to the entire project.
ACIDS and Acidic cleaners.
NEVER use Hydrochloric or Sulphuric Acid based cleaners to remove grout residue from natural stone.
Travertine, Limestone, Marble, Dolomite are acid sensitive.
In some cases phosphoric acid- based cleaners can be used on some sandstones or granites only.
17. Now that your pavers look clean you should allow sufficient time for the grout to dry before cleaning once more. NEVER USE PRESSURE CLEANERS.
Once clean and dry you will be able to seal your pavers.
Most of sealer applications should be done with Impregnating Sealers that remain “breathable”. See manufacturer’s specifications.
Products that FORM A FILM ARE NOT RECOMMENDED for most applications because they do not allow moisture to get through and may also be slippery when wet.
INSTALLING NATURAL STONE IS AN ART BASED ON KNOWLEDGE, IMAGINATION AND MOST OF ALL UNDERSTANDING OF THE MATERIAL. EACH PAVER IS DIFFERENT WHEN COMES TO LOOK AND STRUCTURE THEREFORE REQUIRED NICHE EXPERTISE COMPARED TO THE INSTALLATION OF THE MANMADE PAVERS.
Method Two - The "Over The Concrete" Method - arguably considered the nest method
(However this may be considered overkill for some projects)
Here's how this method works:
- 1. Pour a concrete slab 90-100mm thick for foot traffic and at least 125mm thick for a driveway. Once poured, allow 28 days for it to cure fully.
- 2. Some concrete slabs may require waterproofing and priming prior to paver installation.
- 3. Once your concrete pad has been prepared, use a 12mm notch trowel to apply a flexible adhesive. Allow a minimum of 3mm gap between each stone paver for expansion and contraction.
- 4. If you are working with highly textured surfaces, be sure to pre-seal them before you start grouting. Otherwise it will be very challenging to remove any grout haze from the textured surface.
- 5. Once you have laid the stones you can finally grout your pavers.
- 6. After grouting clean off any excess grout from your pavers.
- 7. Once clean allow a sufficient amount of time for drying prior to sealing.
Method Three - "On Sand or Crusher Dust" - NOT RECOMMENDED BY ECO STONE AUSTRALIA
This is the most basic, therefore cheapest method. Installation on crusher dust, sand inc yellow or white, native soil etc. can lead to discolouration, staining as well as deterioration of Natural stone paving. It is not something that we recommend. Any installer, including installers recommended by Eco Stone Australia, proposing this method is operating outside our recommended installation standards which will compromise warranty.
Unless you are in extremely dire circumstances we recommend methods one or two for laying natural stone pavers and avoid method three if you can.
Overall, installing stone pavers requires a certain level of expertise. As such, we stronly recommend finding a professional who can tailor the ideal solution for your unique landscape.
All of the above information is provided as a guide only. If you are looking for an installer, we can recommend one for you.
There is an extensive range of adhesives available, each with their own set of properties and uses. As the choice of adhesive will depend on your chosen product and its applicaton, we highly recommend that you talk directly with an adhesive professional, for example, Construction Chemicals (https://constructionchemicals.com.au).
Sealing is an essential step in protecting the beauty and ensuring the longevity of any Eco Stone Australia stone.
We always recommend using the services of a cleaning and sealing professional after the stone has been installed. Please call a showroom for a list of recommended professionals.
Research and development of sealing products are continually improving. There are few reputable companies with a wide range of products available.
Dry Treat (https://www.drytreat.com)
We recommend using high quality penetrating sealers such as Stain Proof (Dry Treat), 40SK (Dry Treat), Synergy ( Environex).
We do not recommend any topical sealers as they develop an impermeable barrier on the surface of the stone. This becomes a problem when there is moisture below the surface of the paving. The high quality permeable sealers we recommend are breathable.
You are always welcome to call us if you have any questions.
Please note - Eco Stone Australia provides recommendations third parties as a service to consumers only. Eco Stone Australia does not warranty and will not be responsible for any claims regarding the use of said services and the products they provide.