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Flagstone walk

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Schweinhund, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Schweinhund

    Schweinhund LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I am looking to enhance an ugly concrete walkway/front porch with stone of some sort. My first instinct was flagstone peices because we like the larger, random looking stones. We can also get it locally with ease. I'm open to suggestions, though.

    My plan was to first sink some treated 1 x 6's along both sides the length of the walk, leaving 1" - 1.5" exposed to serve as the barrier to hold everything in, there are flower beds on both sides of the walk. Some sort of sand base (bank sand maybe?), tamped down compact and level, then the stones. I wanted to go over it with some masonry cement to permanently secure everything. I want this to be a 100% DIY job. I know how to cut and handle stone.

    I guess my main question is what are the proper base materials for the job. Is my choice of sand for the base the correct one?

    Thanks guys.
  2. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,179

    Your post has been up for about a week now with no responses, but that's probably because this isn't the best forum for your questions. However, there are "how to do it" instructions availble if you do a google. One, for example, is this.


    I was going in the same direction as you a few years ago, and had the flagstone patio and walks completely designed before I changed my mind and then used manufactured pavers instead. I'm glad I did, because I've seen other flagstone jobs that were completed after I did mine, and they haven't weathered too well in my opinion. It might have been just poor quality workmanship, but in some spots water must have gotten under the flags and frozen, thereby lifting them. But you don't have the severe winters we have in NJ, so that may not be a possible issue for you.

    I'll email to you copies of both the flagstone and paver designs as well a a photo of the completed paver one if you PM an email address to me.

    Good luck!
  3. Cochran

    Cochran LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Are you wanting to remove the concrete walk or simply place the flagstone over the concrete?

    If you are placing over the concrete here's my suggestion:

    Because flagstone is of uneven thickness you will definitely need the sand base and also the sand helps provide a "cushion" to the flag. The concrete will be a great base for your material as the shifting will be minimized. I recommend just a basic concrete sand at ~3" thick or so. Around your edges, instead of wooden boards, why don't you have a concrete edging? It's simple, just make a form along the edge 3" or so beyond the flagstone and you can do everything at once. Lay your flag into the sand and level it out--a rubber mallet works great for adjusting the flag in the sand. After everything is set, dry mortar in between the flag and then use a hand sprayer with a fine mist to water down the mortar. After thoroughly wet, let it sit then while the mortar is still pliable use a stiff broom to brush any mortar off the flagstone and clean any excess you have anywhere. You may need to repeat the process two or three times. After everything is set, you'll want to use muriatic acid to get any remaining mortar off the flag.

    Flagstone walks/patios are very time consuming and detailed. If you try to rush through the job, that's what it will look like. We installs these types of patios and walks on a regular and frequent basis. If you would like any other info, please let me know!

    Hope this helps...
  4. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    I always place bluestone in a stone dust base - not sand.
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,283

    I will hi-jack for a question....Are you saying that I can place stone on a sand base then use mortar to hold them in place? I would think that this would easily crack in time?
  6. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    End incorrect information and poor quality workmanship. Stop the spread of handyman looking work. Pushing mortar into joints, dry or otherwise, where it doesn't belong, is the same as an amatuer carpenter using caulk or filler on all his shoddy trim cuts.

    Sand or stone dust base means use sand or stone dust for the joints. It works best on pattern flagstone with tight joints.

    If you want mortar joints you first must mortar the stone to the concrete base. It works best for random flagstone that has larger joints.

    Hard mortar joints over soft flexible base means cracking and heaving. Case closed, no if's, and's, or but's.:hammerhead:

    Just because you might have seen it done that way doesn't make it correct.

    Photo 1 random flagstone, concrete pad and mortar joints

    Photo 2 pattern flagstone, stone dust base and joints.


  7. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,179

    I hope for his own sake that Schweinhund takes your advice, treedoc1. You did a beautiful job on both of those walks.
  8. Schweinhund

    Schweinhund LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    :laugh: Awesome.

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