News

14th February 2020

BLOG: Paving Grout - A Quick Guide

BLOG: Paving Grout - A Quick Guide

During the past five years products such as EASYjoint and EASYgrout, and similar products  have become more and more popular to use as a grout for internal and external paving. EASYjoint in particular is a labour saving product and very simple to apply using a broom and hose. EASYgrout again is simple to use - just add water to the mix and apply with a suitable grouting tool to compact into the open joints. Furthermore it takes only 1-2 hours to set. Traditional grouting or mortar requires mixing 4 parts sand to 1 part cement and needs to be mixed in small quantities as it goes off very quickly and takes up to 24 hours to set/dry.  Also it is not advisable to walk on the paving for at least 3 days.

Sets Easily

EASYjoint is a natural product and sets very easily on contact with air. It is the original 'sweep in compound' and ideal for both natural stone and concrete slabs. While it is a quick and easy material to work with the right conditions are imperative in order for it to set properly. To use EASYjoint effectively it is important that the paving is laid on a sub base that is either permeable or a free draining site. If the paving is laid on areas where the surface rarely dries out completely EASYjoint will not set. Additionally, while it can be applied in most weather conditions it is advisable not to use in heavy rain or temperatures below 3 centigrade.

Easyjoint can be used on all types of paving including limestone, granite, sandstone and slate. However, when laying Porcelain either use EASYgrout , which is a slurry grout and mixes easily with water or  traditional pointing is also recommended as it really needs a weather repellent grout and not one that is permeable.  EASYjoint is available in 5 colours but as the sand part of the product is a natural element it is important to buy enough EASYjoint in one batch to ensure continuity of colour and avoid variences in shade.

Check your Paving

Check to make sure you don't need to seal the paving before you begin and then you need to wet the surface of the paving and keep the surface wet at all times while applying EASYjoint. It is better if you work in pairs with one of the team sweeping and the other using the hose to spread the material across the surface and into the joints.  One important thing to remember is not to overfill the joint - fill to just below the surface.

Use the hose to make sure no residue is left on the surface of the paving and continue to hose down lightly until the oil like residue is no longer visible in the water. Once EASYjoint has set use a clean broom to sweep the surface clean of any traces of the compound. Remember use plenty of water before, during and after the application.   In dry conditions it should be possible to walk on the paving after 24 hours and within a few days the joints will become very hard. However, do be aware cold and wet conditions will increase the normal setting time and this may take several days.

 

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16th March 2019

BLOG: How to Lay Porcelain Paving

BLOG: How to Lay Porcelain Paving

Porcelain is a very attractive versatile tile for outdoor use and is becoming increasingly popular as it is scratch and fade proof and does not stain. It is a non porous material that does not need sealing. However because it is non-porous, a little more attention is required when laying these tiles.

You need :

  1. Sub Base
  2. Bedding Mortar
  3. Bonding Primer Paste
  4. Joint/tile grout 
  • Purchase all the paving you need in one batch to ensure you have a consistent colour and pattern
  • Lay tiles out on the area in a rough draft to make sure you have enough slabs.
  • Dig out area to a depth of 150mm and allow for a 100mm sub base, 30mm mortar base and the thickness of the tile
  • Make sure your paving will be 150mm below the proof course of the house if it is going to be laid up to the brickwork
  • Porcelain paving requires a fall of approximate 1:60 or 17mm of fall for every metre metre width and length of the patio
  • Erect taut string lines to ensure correct height and alighment 
  • Lay a Type 1 MOT or General Sub-Base (GSB) and rake out to create an even layer approx 30mm below your string line
  •  Use a plate compactor to compress to 50mm below the string line
  • For the bedding mortar: use a mix of 6 parts sharp sand to 1 part Portland Cement to create a workable firm consistency that will stand in peaks
  • Apply a slurry primer to the underside of the Porcelain tile making sure non makes contact with the top surface because once set it will be almost impossible to remove -keep a bucket of water and wet cloth by your side to wipe tiles clean of any residue
  • Lay prepared tile on bedding mortar and tap down with a rubber mallet to correct level using the your string line as a guide
  • Use tile spacers to create uniforn spacing
  • Use a suitable outdoor/weather repellent grout/ jointing material such as easyjoint and do not walk on for at leastr 24 hours

A few things to remember about Porcelain tiles - as they are non porous if you do not use a slurry primer the tiles will not stick to the mortar base. You can only cut Porcelain properly with a diamond blade that is specifially for cutting Porcelain. If you try to use the traditional method of a hammer and chisel you will chip the porcelain. Always being by laying your tiles from the corner and work outwards.

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15th November 2018

BLOG: Concrete Paving and Pavers

BLOG: Concrete Paving and Pavers

Interesting Fact

Do you know that even though concrete paving first came into existence in the mid 1800's  it was the Romans who first invented it. Then for a few hundred years it disappeared. In its simplest form concrete is purely a mixture of aggregates and paste. Its durability comes down to the quality of the base mix  - up to 75% of the mixture can be the aggregate or rock. Portland cement and water is added to the aggregates to form a rock like mass.

Concrete or Natural?

Deciding on whether to choose natural stone or concrete paving or indeed pavers for driveways is often based on a number of factors. Sometimes it simple comes down to personal taste. Other factors include cost, practical considerations and design options. Concrete when it is wet is malleable which means that it is more versitile than natural stone for creating different designs and shapes. Additionally, your choice of colours is wide ranging. If you are laying a patio concrete paving is much easier to cut. Today, concrete paving has become more sophisticated and it is often very difficult to tell the different, especially from a distance. You can buy a range of terracotta concrete paving that looks just like the real thing!

Pavers

Concrete paving and pavers hold up well to traffic. While brick pavers may chip or crack concrete wears only very gradually, however you may find the colours may fade after some years. You can buy concrete pavers that mimic stone such as theTegual Deco Cinder which is made by MarshallsConcrete pavers are now recognised as high quality products particularly for their strentgh and durability.

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8th October 2018

BLOG: How to Lay Stepping Stones

BLOG: How to Lay Stepping Stones

How to Lay Stepping stones

 A stepping stone path can be an attractive feature in it’s own right. If you find your lawn suffering from constant wear or bare patches, than stepping stones set in the ground at regular paced-out intervals can be an inexpensive solution. 

You will need:

  1. Stepping Stones
  2. Garden Fork
  3. Garden Spade
  4. Rubber Mallet
  5. Straight Edge
  6. Sharp Sand

Method

1. Lay the stones out so that you can walk comfortably on them without over-stretching. Score or mark around the stones and loosen the compacted earth with a fork. 
2. Dig a neat hole for each of your stepping stones approximately an inch deeper than the height of the stone. Spread an even layer of sharp sand in the hole so that the stone sits slightly lower than the surrounding soil. Tap down firmly with the mallet avoiding hitting directly on the edges.
3. Place your straight edge over the stone to check that it is slightly lower than the level of the lawn. This ensures that the blades of your lawnmower will be able to clear the stone
4. If there are any gaps around the stone then gently sieve some soil around the edges and push down well with your fingers. Over time the grass will gradually come back or you could  always seed any bare patches to hurry things along!

If in constant use is likely to wear bare patches in a lawn, stepping-stones can be an inexpensive and quick solution!

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19th June 2018

BLOG: How to lay Natural Stone Block paving

BLOG: How to lay Natural Stone Block paving

In the beginning

If laying a new driveway or patio planning permission is not required providing the rain or surplus water does not run on to the highway. The most cost effective way is to ensure the water runs off onto a lawn, gravel area or a drain.

All block paving of patios or driveways are made up of three layers:

  1. Sub base of free draining material known as ‘Type 1’ of approx 150mm deep for drives and 100mm for patios
  2. Sharp sand -40mm deep
  3. Paving blocks

 To edge or not to edge

If the area being paved is being laid against an existing wall, this will serve as the edging restraint. If not, a restraining edge will need to be built first. Firstly, set up a taut line of string to act as a guide for alignment and level guide. Place the edge course blocks on a 100-125mm bed of either semi-dry or moist mix of concrete, tapping down with a rubber mallet. This first process is very important and needs to be firmly constructed as it provides support for the whole patio or driveway.

 Keep it level

Level out the sub base material ensuring it has a regular thickness and then add the sharp sand spreading evenly. The finished screed needs to leave the blocks 5-8mm high so they can be compacted down. Before you begin laying make sure you are working ‘up hill’. Natural stone varies in tone and colour and often texture, so its important to ensure enough stone is ordered to complete the work. Also, mix up the stone from each pack or pallet. Place each block carefully on the laying course leaving a gap of approximately 2-5mm. to make it easier use pre-formed spacers.

 Kiln Dried Sand

Once completed sweep kiln dried sand over the surface to fill all gaps between the stone pavers. Finally compact the area with a vibrating plate compactor. Check joints again and sweep in more jointing sand if necessary and check again in a month’s time once the sand has settled.

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20th April 2018

BLOG: The Hard Stuff

BLOG: The Hard Stuff

Limestone and Granite

Spring has sprung and with it comes great demand for new paving, driveways and terraces. In recent years sandstone has been very popular, however limestone and granite are becoming increaslingly popular too.Like plants paving adds texture, pattern and colour and each type of natural stone will have its own unique qualities and beauty. 

Natural stone has a quality that surpasses anything man made so it is no surprise that most consumers choose it for their gardens. So which to choose for a project and how would you recommend it to your client?

Much of the decision will lie with is being built - a terrace? path? driveway? Both granite and limestone have excellent hard wearing qualities and are equally durable and versatile. So, often it is down to personal taste and the budget.

Elegant, Stylish, Modern

Granite has more of a grainy appearance than limestone and is available in varying shades of grey and on occasions pinkish hues.It is an elegant stone that will enhance either a traditional or a modern garden.It is generally more evenly coloured than many of the natural stones.

Smoothly does it 

Limestone, though mainly white does also come in different colours, which are created by inpurities in the stone and these can range from grey, blue-black to hints of yellow brown. Limestone has a very smooth finish which makes it ideal for a more contemporary look and works very well for both large and small patios, courtyard gardens or even a swimming pool surround. Its fine grain makes it easier to cut to shape than granite. It has a textured feel although the surface is unlike the riven surface of sandstone.Perhaps the only restriction apart from budget is to take in to consideration the surrounding area and style of the house before deciding on paving for your project.

Give it some thought

Finally, next time you lay limestone give a thought to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Eygpt, which is made entirely of limestone!

Need some help or advice? Contact us today

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25th January 2018

BLOG: Edging Tiles

BLOG: Edging Tiles

Edging tiles and their Uses

Do you often overlook lawn and flowerbed borders? or even borders for decking and paving? Believing there's no reason to add anything extra? 

What can you do that will help lift a garden? Perhaps separate out areas that merge into one giving the garden  more defined lines and focus.

Polished finish

Garden edging does not need to be boring. Although bricks and pavers are popular edging materials, give gardens a polished finish by installing ready made traditional Victorian style terracotta edging tiles which also come in black for the more contemporary garden. 

Rather than sticking with straight symetrical lines edging tiles can help you to create curves to help give depth to narrow plots. Most ready made edging tiles are so simple and easy and quick to install too!

Create Natural Borders

Create natural borders between the grass and decking or flower beds. Decking and paving natural borders.

No more Lawn Trimmers!

Even use for simply edging the lawn so you can keep the edges neat without having to use a lawn trimmer.   

Need more info? Contact us today

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15th March 2017

BLOG: Porcelain is the new kid on the block

BLOG: Porcelain is the new kid on the block

Want to build a garden that looks classy, contemporary and cool? Then porcelain tiles are just what you need and they are becomming more and more popular as the dynamic material many wish to choose to build today's modern, low maintenance gardens.

Beautifully smooth, stylish with sleek lines and straight edges makes it easy to lay. It is resistant to frost damage, mould and moss so low maintenance, non staining and slip resistant. What is there not to like about it?

We love it! Hope you do too. Talk to us if you would like further details.

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