What Type of Paving Slabs Should I Use for my Patio?

What Type of Paving Slabs Should I Use for my Patio?

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Scott D. Renwick
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We’ve never had such a selection of paving to choose from. But how do you know which type to choose? Here are some pointers so you can make an informed choice. 

There was a time in Ireland when our selections were very limited for outdoor materials. Driveways were either tarmac or poured concrete and patios were either a red or charcoal paving brick or else a square grey slab.

Roll forward to the 21st century and we now have an abundance of paving suppliers and natural stone providers to choose from.

SAS Landscapes deals a lot with The Patio Centre, Millbrook Paving, Tile Merchant, and All Stone, but there are others equally reliable and credible.

Before you choose your paving materials here are some pointers for you to consider.

What Type of Paving Slabs Should I Use for my Patio?


1. Methods for Laying Slabs


There are two primary methods for laying slabs. One is on a screeded bed of either sharp sand or paving grit. The other primary method is to lay on a wet mortar mix.

The precast concrete slabs are designed to be laid on a screeded bed. This is fast and effective and the most economical way to lay paving. The slabs are all perfectly formed and fit into each other for a speedy result.

The problems arise with these slabs over the years when it comes to weeds growing in between them and levels dropping underneath.

So while there are advantages, there are clear disadvantages as well.

Other slabs, such as porcelain paving and natural stone slabs such as sandstone, limestone, granite, and quartz are laid on a wet mortar mix.

This takes much more time to lay, so it is much more expensive to put down. However, it’s a much more solid job that will stand the test of time. As well as this, if done right, you should not see any drop in levels, loose slabs, or weeds growing up through them.

2. Color of the Slab


Another point worth mentioning is that the precast concrete slabs, get their color from a dye. This dye will eventually run out of them leaving them looking tired and cheap.

On the other hand, natural stone keeps its color throughout. While it will get dirty, it can be cleaned up usually with the help of a powerwasher to bring it back to its former glory.

3. The Landscaper That Lays Them


You may get landscape contractors telling you they can lay your patio at a rate that blows the other landscape contractors out of the water.

This may seem like an attractive prospect. However, if they can lay the slabs so cheaply they are probably cutting corners.

If you are getting any slabs laid you want to be sure to insist on the following points:

1. A depth of between 50mm-150mm of hardcore should be laid down (depending on the usage requirements) and compacted before any slab goes near the area.
2. If the case of a wet mortar mix, insist that it is done at a ratio of 4:1 (sand to cement)
3. Also insist that each slab is laid on a full bed of mortar, as opposed to other methods whereby the contractor only puts mortar on the corners of the slabs.
4. If there are drains, gullies, AJ, or manholes within the space of the paved area insist on knowing if the contractor is going to recess them or not.

In relation to point number 4, recessed-works in relation to drains mean that the paving itself is laid into the cover of the drain, resulting in a more professional and sophisticated finish.

Super Cheap = Superbad


A landscape contractor that does jobs for super cheap generally won’t recess drains, resulting in a poor overall finish.

There are a lot of landscape contractors out there that won’t discuss these details with you. As a potential client, it’s really up to you to put them to the test and push them for the answers, otherwise, you’re leaving yourself open to be taken advantage of.

Protect yourself at all times and ask the right questions. Ensure that your landscape contractor is transparent and clear with explaining all the details, especially when it comes to paving slab choice.

At SAS Landscapes, every detail is made clear in writing. You will understand the project as well as we do and will know exactly what you are paying for.

What’s more important than choosing the right slab is choosing the right landscape contractor.

Make sure to contact SAS Landscapes for a site visit and quote today.

Contact SAS Landscapes today for a quote:

083 137 7834

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

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