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Old 07-05-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


ah yes, the current DIY disaster.... I have great shame in admitting this!

I thought I planned it all out... alas, the home repair devil had othr plans.

Our side steps are rectangular flagstone of various sizes set in concrete. They were done about 20 years ago, so as expected, the mortar and many of the large stones are loose. They were layed ontop of a concrete step that was made when the house was built.

So, I dutifully checked online how to repair it and went to lowes. got the portland cement, the sand, a few masonry tools. (I have already re-set a brick walkway, so I know the basics of mixing cement, and laying bricks and stones.)

I then began the mission. I lifted all the large stones, and one medium stone. However, 3 small stones, and 2 medium-sized stones will not budge. While the mortar was somewhat crumbly, the cement used to lay the stones is as hard as rock. We cannot chisel the remaining stones out.

I originally intended to lift all of the stones, leaving the hard cement used to set the stones, and merely lay new portland cement (1 part + 2.5 parts sand) on top, and reset the stones... after it sets, I intended to come back using more portland cement (slightly less water in the mortar batch).

BUT, with the handful of smaller stones firmly in place, I cannot leave them there. They would be a 1/2 inch lower than the stones I'm resetting, if I followed my plan.

My question is: what to do? Is there a way to either 1) get rid of all of the concrete originally used to set the stone (powertools of some type?); or 2) is there a way to get those stupid stones up! Even if it's a destructive way (where I would have to break them up and buy a few new stones of the precise dimensions...)

I'm embarrassed to report that my back is very sore from chiseling yesterday... and I can't find any info online... so I'm at wits end!

thanks so much for your suggestions!

sat 7/18: just wanted to give an update below........


Last edited by diy'er on LI; 07-18-2009 at 07:58 PM. Reason: update below.......
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:22 PM   #2
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


or is it possible to thinset the flagstone? My guess is no, but maybe someone with much more experience knows better.

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Old 07-06-2009, 06:34 PM   #3
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


I would try to rent a rotary hammer with chipping mode, or better yet, a demo hammer. I cant say I've ever set flagstone in anything but portland/mason sand, which sounds like what you're up against. I would recommend that when you relay the flag that you use a bonding agent either in the mud, on the stone backs, or both. Good Luck.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:41 PM   #4
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


the demo hammer looks really good... it probably will get the job done in a reasonable amount of time... thanks!

I won't lie... I'm a bit intimidated by tools like that... I'm hoping that my husband and I don't turn it on and then get dragged down the driveway

Thanks for your input!!!
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:32 PM   #5
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


Is this a repair or are you resetting most of the flag stones? I know you said "many" but if that is only 5 or 10 stones I would be tempted to try one of the polyurethane adhesives (Gorilla Glue) or one of the adhesives specially made for stone. Once the flagstones are set you could fill in the holes with mortar.

Rege
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:06 PM   #6
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


well, while it's technically a repair, area-wise, I'm actually resetting almost everything. There are 4 large stones and 1 medium already out... which is basically 3/4 of the stone area. Only a few small stones remain in place at this time. (The total area is only roughly 12 square feet.)

It's SUPPOSED to be an easy 2 day job .

My husband left for a business trip for the rest of the week. So, when he returns, we're going to try to remove the portland with the demo hammer. I'll keep the gorilla glue idea in the back of my mind, though... thanks!
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:08 PM   #7
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


Jo is right on the money. I would also highly recommend using a bonding agent in the mud and on both the back of the stone and the concrete surface. Look up Tammsweld to give yourself an idea of what type of bonding agent to use. The glue down method isn't my cup of tea but I could be partial since I'm a mason.
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


quick question on bonding agents.... where can a DIY'er get some? From my recent visit to the masonry isle of both home depot and lowe's (and another checking of the lowe's website), I don't think either store carries products like these. They seem to only stock the real basic items as far as concrete products. Who else carries masonry supplies for DIY work?

thanks!
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:51 PM   #9
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


Call a masonry supply yard. These ones near you should sell Tammsweld.


Stillwell Equipment/Supply

44-68 Vernon Blvd
Long Island City, New York 11101
Phone: 718-784-2500
Fax: 718-784-2225
Kenseal Construction Products

21-32 Borden Avenue
Long Island, New York 11101
Phone: 718-937-5490
Allied Building Products

4216 11th Street
Long Island City, New York 11101
Phone: 718-706-0145
Fax: 718-707-9537
Website: www.alliedbuilding.com
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:20 PM   #10
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brickie View Post
Call a masonry supply yard. These ones near you should sell Tammsweld.


Stillwell Equipment/Supply

44-68 Vernon Blvd
Long Island City, New York 11101
Phone: 718-784-2500
Fax: 718-784-2225
Kenseal Construction Products

21-32 Borden Avenue
Long Island, New York 11101
Phone: 718-937-5490
Allied Building Products

4216 11th Street
Long Island City, New York 11101
Phone: 718-706-0145
Fax: 718-707-9537
Website: www.alliedbuilding.com
you rock! thanks so much. I see there's an allied reasonably close to home......
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:58 PM   #11
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


no problem.
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:55 PM   #12
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


update....

the demo hammer is awesome. Thanks so much for the recommendation. we totally demolished the steps today... tomorrow, we're going to relay the brick (on the risers) and flagstone.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:12 AM   #13
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


just wanted to report: were done with the side stoop! yay! (There was a delay due to a business trip...) At any rate, it doesn't look like a pro did it, but looks pretty darned good none the less... All I have to say is thank God for masons... this is not something I would like to do regularly. It's messy, strenuous, and definitely requires skills/knowledge that only develop after a lot of practice/experience! It takes a DIY'er MUCH MUCH longer than a pro... one afternoon vs 3 days....
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:21 PM   #14
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


Quote:
Originally Posted by diy'er on LI View Post
just wanted to report: were done with the side stoop! yay! (There was a delay due to a business trip...) At any rate, it doesn't look like a pro did it, but looks pretty darned good none the less... All I have to say is thank God for masons... this is not something I would like to do regularly. It's messy, strenuous, and definitely requires skills/knowledge that only develop after a lot of practice/experience! It takes a DIY'er MUCH MUCH longer than a pro... one afternoon vs 3 days....
Glad to hear you got it all done & are satisfied with the results.

I wish this site had a sig line where you could use other's quotes (maybe it does?) because I'd use the heck out of what you posted above!
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:54 PM   #15
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loose flagstones set in concrete.. how to re-set?


Congratz on completing your project. I know you will appreciate your efforts when you use those stairs. And that is why reputable contractors get so frustrated when people try to talk down prices. Most people do not realize the amount of time, skill, and money invested contractors have for a project.

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