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Old 09-12-2009, 11:49 AM   #1
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Laying a Natural Stone Patio


Hi everyone doing this for the first time. Im planning to lay a natural stone patio (flagstone, quartzite or travertine) and Im undecided about the base material. Would it be better to use a gravel/sand bed and compact it before laying the stone or would be it a better idea to pour a concrete slab base and then lay the stone on top.

Ive not been able to find much info on what would be a better method. Im guessing thr concrete would for a more stable base but it is somewhat more work to do.

Any ideas?

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Old 09-12-2009, 06:34 PM   #2
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Laying a Natural Stone Patio


you will need to have more knowledge on the subject to use a concrete base. I would suggest a 6"-8" 3/4" gravel base first for drainage and stability. Compact in 2" intervals with a plate compactor. Then use concrete sand or stone dust (better) to set the flagstones. Use polymeric sand for the joints.

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Old 09-13-2009, 01:47 AM   #3
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Laying a Natural Stone Patio


Thanks for explaining the procedure with the sand Bob. I was talking with one of my neighbours who recently did a flagstone patio and this was laid on a 2" slab. I was thinking that concrete would form a more stable base than sand.

I guess I did not understand the part about the knowledge. I guess my orginal question was would concrete be a better choice for a base than sand and if so why.
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:27 AM   #4
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Laying a Natural Stone Patio


What Bob said...the issue with a concrete slab underneath an outdoor patio relates to freezing if you are in the Northern zones, and water drainage if not. Helps if you tell us the size of the patio - and your location.
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:35 AM   #5
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Laying a Natural Stone Patio


I would tend to agree with Bob's procedure also, at least in a DIY situation. Your neighbors 2" concrete layer will do very little for his patios longevity, other than making it harder to repair if/when it's required.

IMO, due to our freeze/thaw cycles & frost, a re-enforced concrete subgrade is a great base (better long term base) WHEN EVERY element of patio is installed EXACTLY as it needs to be for that climate. This is definatly not Masonry 101, much less an easy DIY project. Most of the practices involved in successfully "wet setting" a flagstone patio are found through many years of practice & trouble-shooting failures that you've witnessed. The characteristics of the stone your using is also very important. Some types of stone are just not dense/hard enough for a "wet-set" application, also.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:37 AM   #6
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Laying a Natural Stone Patio


Yes, sorry - I'm located in Southern California (San Diego). The temp hardly ever goes below freezing. Also in general we have low rainfall although it does rain hard sometimes in winter.

The patio is around 250 sq ft (12' X 21').

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