The patio slab is an integral part of your outdoor space. It’s tough, durable, and versatile, but it can be difficult to know where to start when you’re looking for paving slabs. This guide will answer some common questions about the different types of slabs that are available on the market today and provide useful tips on what type of paving slab would work best for your needs. We’ll also cover important considerations like installation, cost-effectiveness, and longevity so that you can find the perfect patio slab without any guesswork!
What are Patio Slabs
Patio slabs are a type of paving stone that is used to create outdoor patio areas. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used to create everything from a simple patio area to a complex outdoor living space.
Patio slabs are made from natural or man-made materials and can be installed to create a variety of different surface finishes. They are an ideal choice for anyone who wants to create an outdoor living space, as they are both durable and attractive.
Patio slabs can be installed by either a professional or a DIY enthusiast, and come with comprehensive installation instructions. In most cases, it is possible to complete a patio slab installation in a single day.
Why use Patio Slabs: Advantages of having Patio Slabs installed
There are many reasons why you might choose to use patio slabs for your outdoor space. Some of the key benefits include:
- Durability: Patio slabs are one of the most durable types of paving stones available. They can withstand years of wear and tear, making them a great choice for busy areas.
- Attractiveness: Patio slabs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so you can find the perfect option to suit your needs. They also have a natural finish that gives any outdoor space an attractive appearance.
- Ease of installation: Installing patio slabs is a relatively easy process, and most people can complete it in a single day. Instructions are included with every purchase, so you can be sure you’re doing it correctly.
- Variety: There are many different types of patio slabs available, so you can find the perfect option for your needs. Whether you want a simple patio or an elaborate outdoor living space, there is a slab design to suit your needs.
- Flexibility: Patio slabs can be used to create both simple and complex designs, making them a very flexible paving choice. You can use them to create straight lines or curves, depending on your preferences.
Problems with Patio Slabs
However, like all paving stones, patio slabs do have a few disadvantages. Some of the key problems include:
- Pitting and staining: Over time, patio slabs can suffer from pitting and staining. This is caused by weathering and can be difficult to remove.
- Weeds: Weeds can grow between the joints of patio slabs, making them difficult to remove.
- Slippage: If not installed correctly, patio slabs can sometimes slip or move around. This can be dangerous if it happens near a pool or other body of water.
- Cracking: Patio slabs can sometimes crack, especially if they are not installed properly. This can be a safety hazard and should be avoided if possible.
- Moss and algae: Patio slabs that are exposed to moisture over long periods can develop moss and algae growth. While this doesn’t necessarily would be a problem, it can be a nuisance to remove.
- Installation: Installing patio slabs yourself requires patience and attention to detail. If not installed correctly, there is a risk that they will slip or crack over time. It’s important to take your time when installing them and make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for the best results.
Types of Paving Slabs and Their Pros & Cons
There are many different types of patio slabs available on the market, and each has its own set of pros and cons. Here is a brief overview of some of the most popular options:
Indian Sandstone Paving Slabs
Indian Sandstone is an extremely popular choice for paving slabs, due to its durability and attractive appearance. It comes in a variety of colors, including greys, browns, reds, and yellows.
- Every slab will have its own unique color and design.
- Dirt comes off rather easily.
- It will endure the elements and chilly conditions.
- It’s also simple to cut and lay tile.
- If it’s not maintained, extreme weather could eventually cause it to fade.
- The surface is entirely natural, therefore it may have a rough texture at times.
Limestone Paving Slabs
Limestone is a type of sedimentary rock. It is available in a range of colors, including whites, beiges, and greys.
- When the hue of the slabs is enhanced, limestone produces deep, distinctive, and striking hues.
- It’s simple to cut and work with.
- If not maintained, limestone is much more susceptible to color fading than sandstone.
- The color palette is far more restricted than sandstone and only a few options are available.
Note: There are many different types of limestone available on the market, so it’s important to select one that is suited for outdoor use. Some varieties are more resistant to weathering than others are.
Slate Paving Slabs
Slate is a type of metamorphic rock that is available in a range of colors, including blues, greens, greys, and blacks.
- The pores don’t absorb water, which causes harm.
- A distinctive texture and hue that won’t fade as rapidly as limestone.
- If not treated, it is vulnerable to moisture damage.
- If you don’t have the proper stuff, it might be tough to install.
Granite Paving Slabs
Granite is a type of igneous rock that is available in a range of colors, including blacks, greys, and whites.
- Granite is non-porous, so it won’t be damaged by water or scratches.
- Extremely durable, so it will retain its value and seem like new for years to come.
- Dust and dirt are difficult to retain on the surface, making it simple to clean.
- Granite slabs are quite hefty, making installation labor-intensive.
- If you must cut the stone because of its hardness, it’s difficult to work with.
Porcelain Paving Slabs
Porcelain paving slabs are made from durable ceramic and come in a range of attractive colors.
- Porcelain is completely non-porous, making it resistant to stains and water damage.
- It’s really simple to maintain.
- Tile that lasts and looks new after cleaning.
- It’s difficult to cut, and a professional blade is required.
- Too pricey.
Note: Sealing your porcelain patio paver is recommended after installation to prevent staining and fading.
Choose a Paving Slab to Match Your Garden Style
When it comes to choosing the perfect patio slabs for your garden, it’s important to consider not only the functionality and durability of the material but also the style of your outdoor space.
- Rustic: If you have a rustic or cottage-style garden, then natural sandstone or limestone paving slabs would be a good choice. They will help to create a natural and authentic look in your garden.
- Modern: For a modern or minimalist garden design, sleek granite or porcelain paving slabs would be ideal. They will give your outdoor space a clean and polished appearance.
- Traditional: If you have a more traditional garden design, then either Indian sandstone or slate pavers would work well. They both are more suitable for use in the garden because of their textured surface.
You can also choose a contrasting material to create a unique and eye-catching look on your patio or pathway, such as using polished porcelain tiles against natural sandstone pavers.
How to Install a Patio Slab: a Step-by-Step Guide
Once you’ve chosen the perfect patio slabs for your garden, it’s time to install them. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
1. Calculate the Dimensions of Your Planned Room and Paving Slabs
Before you purchase your paving slabs, it’s important to first measure the area of the space that you want to pave. This will help you to select the right size and number of slabs for the job.
It’s also a good idea to take into account any curves or angles in the space so that you can buy paving slabs that will fit snugly together and create a smooth surface.
2. Determine the Style of Your Paving Slabs by Choosing from a Variety of Layouts
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to how your patio slabs should be laid out, as long as they are installed with care and attention to detail.
However, if you’re not sure where to start, there are a few popular layouts that you can try:
- Square or rectangular: For a traditional look, square or rectangular paving slabs can be laid out in an evenly spaced grid pattern.
- Random: If you want a more informal and rustic look, you can lay the pavers out in a random pattern. This will create an interesting and eclectic feel for your patio space.
- Herringbone: A herringbone pattern is one of the most popular designs for paved areas as it looks very sophisticated and elegant. It involves laying the slabs at alternating angles so that they form a V shape when viewed from above.
- Basketweave: For a unique and eye-catching look, you can use the basketweave design. This involves alternating between laying pavers at 90 degrees to each other or 45 degrees with staggered spacing in between them.
It is important not to overcrowd your patio space as this will make it appear cluttered and unappealing.
3. Make Sure the Water Runs off Your Patio by Ensuring Adequate Drainage
One of the most important things to consider when installing patio slabs is drainage. If the water isn’t able to run off effectively, it can lead to flooding and damage to your paving slabs.
There are a few ways that you can achieve adequate drainage:
- Adding a layer of gravel or sand beneath the slabs will help to encourage water runoff.
- Installing drainpipes at the edge of your patio space will help guide the water away from the area.
- Creating a slope for your patio area will also assist with drainage. The steeper the slope, the quicker the water will flow off and away from your paving slabs.
It’s also important to remember to clean any debris or leaves regularly.
4. Dig Down and Draw a Line Indicating the Location for Your Patio Slab
Once you’ve measured and chosen the layout for your paving slabs, it’s time to start digging.
Using a spade or shovel, dig down to the desired depth (usually about 150mm) and then mark out the area with wooden pegs or bricks. This will help to keep your paving straight and even.
If there are any large tree roots in the way, it is best to remove them before starting to lay the slabs.
5. Laying a Patio Foundation: Building the Base for the Support Layer
Before you can install the patio slabs, they need to be supported by a layer of gravel or sand. This creates an even surface for them to sit on so they are level and stable.
The depth at which you lay your support layer will depend on what type of material it is, as well as how much weight each slab needs to hold. Generally speaking though, it’s best to have about 150mm of support base beneath the area where you intend to place your pavers.
If there is any grass in the way that needs removing before installing a base layer, use a spade or turf cutter machine to firstly cut through this soil and then remove all pieces from the site completely.
6. Create a Mortar Bed
Okay, it’s time to add a mortar bed. This is a thin layer of cement that will help to keep your paving slabs in place and prevent them from moving or sinking over time.
The mortar bed should be about 25mm thick and can be applied using a trowel. Make sure it is even and level before you start laying the pavers.
If you’re not confident about doing this yourself, it might be worth hiring a professional to lay the patio for you.
7. Place the Slabs on Top of the Mortar Bed
The best way to do this is by adding spacers in between each slab (or at least every second one). These will help keep them evenly spaced throughout the area. This also ensures that they are sitting level with each other.
You can use sand or gravel inside these spacer holes as well if need be – just make sure not to overfill otherwise water may get trapped underneath and cause damage (and an annoying mess). Once all pavers have been placed down securely, allow 24 hours for everything to dry before walking on them or applying any sealant.
8. Secure Your Patio Slabs – Joints Between Your Patio Slabs
To keep your patio looking neat and tidy, it’s important to secure the joints between each slab. This can be done using a variety of methods, but we recommend using polymeric sand.
This type of sand is mixed with water and then applied to the joints using a rubber mallet or even just your feet. It will harden over time and create a solid seal that will prevent any weeds from growing and also stop the slabs from moving around.
Make sure to do this once the mortar bed has fully dried.
And there you have it – your very own patio! Well, almost…
9. How to Cut Paving Slabs with a Disc Cutter
If you need to cut your paving slabs to fit a specific space, you can use a disc cutter. This is a powerful tool that cuts through the slab using a rotating cutting disk.
Be very careful when using this type of equipment and always wear protective goggles, gloves, and clothing. It’s also best to have someone else helping you so that they can keep an eye on what you’re doing.
When using a disc cutter, hold the slab in place with one hand and guide the tool with the other. Apply pressure evenly and make sure not to force it too much or you may end up cracking the slab. Take your time and go slow – it’s better to do it right than rush and make a mess!
- The best time to lay paving slabs is when the weather conditions are dry and stable.
- Remember to sweep up any debris leaves regularly so that your patio looks clean and well-maintained.
- To keep your patio looking fresh for years to come, seal it with a good quality paving sealant every couple of years.
- Make sure everything is completely dry before walking on your new patio or applying any sealant.
The Cost of Patio Slab Installation in the Garden
As you can probably imagine, installing a new patio is not cheap. It all depends on the size of your garden and how many slabs you need to cover it. The average cost for laying around 50 square meters in an area with basic paving stones starts at about £5000, but generally speaking most homeowners will spend somewhere between £4000-£8000.
Patio Slabs FAQs
There are lots of questions that could be asked about paving slabs. Luckily we’ve answered all these questions and more in this blog post! Be sure to check it out if there’s anything else you need advice on…
Should I Seal My Paving?
Yes, it is better to seal your paving slabs with a good quality sealant every couple of years. This will help protect it from weathering, staining, and fading.
There are many different types of sealants on the market, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Make sure to read the label carefully and follow the instructions closely.
On the other hand, if you don’t seal your patio it will still last for many years – it just won’t look quite as good.
How To Stop Weeds Growing Between Paving Slabs?
If you want to stop the weeds growing between the joints in your patio slabs, simply apply a thin layer of polymeric sand.
If weeds already growing between your slabs, you can try to remove them by hand. It’s not easy though so it is recommended that you use a weed killer instead.
Be very careful when using weed killers and always follow the instructions on the bottle. Make sure to keep children and pets away from the area until it has dried.
What Sizes do Patio Slabs Come in?
There are a variety of different sizes that paving slabs come in. The most common sizes are:
- 20x25cm: good for borders and pathways.
- 30x40cm: perfect for medium-sized areas such as driveways, open patios, and garden paths.
- 60x60cm: popular choice used to make large walkways, outdoor dining areas, verandas, etc.
Although these are the most common sizes you can find patio slabs in almost any size imaginable – from small mosaic tiles to huge blocks. So if you can’t find the right size for your needs, don’t worry! You can always get them custom-made.
What is Flamed or Shot Blasted Paving?
Flamed or shot-blasted paving is a technique that is used to give the slabs a rough, textured finish. This makes them less slippery when wet and helps to prevent staining.
The downside to this type of finish is that it can be quite hard to keep clean. If you don’t mind regularly cleaning your patio, then flamed or shot-blasted paving could be a good option for you. Otherwise, it’s probably best to stick with a smooth surface.
Riven or Sawn? What’s the difference?
Riven slabs have a rough, textured surface that is created by splitting the stone along its natural lines. Sawn slabs have a smooth finish that is achieved by cutting the stone with a diamond blade.
Both finishes have their pros and cons, so it’s up to you which one you prefer. Riven slabs are generally cheaper than sawn slabs, but they can be more difficult to keep clean. Sawn slabs are more expensive, but they are easier to maintain and less likely to stain.
Can You Paint Paving Slabs?
Yes, paving slabs can be painted. However, it’s not recommended that you use normal paint as the surface of the patio will need to withstand pressure and moisture – something ordinary paints are not designed for.
To get the best finish possible on your paving stone, we would recommend using specialist stone paint or an oil-based anti-slip coating which is safe for outdoor use.
You should also consider sealing your finished painting with a sealant to help protect it from weathering and staining etc.
Can You Lay Paving Slabs on Building Sand?
No, you should never lay paving slabs on building sand. This is because the sand will not be able to support the weight of the slabs and they will eventually sink into the sand.
To ensure that your paving slabs are laid correctly, you should always use a bed of mortar or sand that has been specifically designed for this purpose. This will help to create a solid foundation for your slabs and prevent them from sinking over time.