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The paving project | The finishing touch


The house is finished, the lawn is laid and the wooden deck around the pool is in place. Most of it feels top notch, but something is missing - the paving! The project starts for me in a situation where the rough planning is done, i.e. the excavation contractor has laid 0-30 aggregate around the entire house and packed the material to a reasonable level. The entire area around the house incl. garage space includes 230 square meters. A decently challenging project for a lone bricklayer of a layman character.

Front with garage driveway

Between house and garage


The next step was to draw up a simple sketch of the project in order to mark out existing levels as well as determine the laying direction of the stone and think about where the curb stone should be placed. Not a pretty sketch, but it serves its purpose. I have invested in a rotation laser from Leica. An instrument that is a must to be reasonably sure that the levels end up right from the start. Used the highest point at the garage door as a reference point and marked out relative height differences on the sketch. Guided by that, I topped up with 0-16 in the places it was needed to reach the desired heights and packed with vibrator plate.

the edge of the house

Sketch of the stone project


I went and looked at exhibitions at various suppliers, but quite quickly got hooked on a relatively new type of stone - hammered stone. The hammered stone is slightly smoother and less jagged than the tumbled stone type. The choice fell on Bender's Ocala Antik, gray. The stone company together with Benders also had a campaign on the stone, every fifth stone was free or 20% :-) That decided the matter. The stone comes in three different sizes 210x140x50, 175x140x50 and 140x140x50 mixed on the same pallet. The idea is that the stone should be laid randomly and thus the pattern will be random and irregular. Felt like a relatively easy type of tile to lay. It is also drivable, which was a requirement because the selected stone could also be used on the garage driveway.
To avoid splashing on the facade, I was advised not to lay the tiles right up against the foundation. Leave a distance of 10-20cm where you put some kind of gravel. I decided to leave 15cm and fill the gap with sea single, black/white.
The only curb I could think of, so far anyway, is the one by the garage driveway. Needs a demarcation towards one side where there is a yard single. Don't want it to spill onto the driveway. Here the choice fell on Bender's Labyrinth maxi graphics 350x210x140. I ordered a bunch extra of this stone as I have an idea to possibly build some framed flower beds, but it remains to be seen if that will come to fruition.

Ocala Antique flagstone

Sjösingel has been delivered


I have laid stone once before and if there was one thing I learned then was - have the right stuff! And it's not wrong to have good helpers...

It is important to have the right tools for paving


Jokes and side. I would really, in addition to the obvious of a good spade and wheelbarrow, recommend getting the following tools to make life a little easier:
  • Asphalt straight
  • Straight disc
  • A really good spirit level
  • Stone setter's hammer
  • Drain pipe, steel pipe with a diameter of 2.5-3 cm

It works fine to use a rake to spread out and level the crushed stone and sand, but an asphalt rake makes the job much easier for you. A straight piece of plank can be used as a straightedge, but a metal straightedge intended for the purpose is preferable. It is efficient to use for the deductions, but also comes in handy when you want to check that the rows of stones are straight. The stone setting hammer, which I found at Stenbolaget, I mainly use to draw furrows in the setting sand, to lay the discharge pipes in.

the tools for paving


With the bearing layer in place at the correct heights, I continue to cart out the settling sand, stone flour 0-4. I use the asphalt rake to create a layer of sand about 3 cm thick. Next, I hit the surface with a 90kg vibrator plate. A good idea is to water the surface before it is beaten to make it really compact and to avoid dust. The next step will be to lay out the draw rails (pipes) in approximately the right places, take out the rock setter's hammer, and drive furrows, down to the bearing surface without tearing it up, with the support of the pipes to make the furrows straight. Lay the pipes down and weigh them with a spirit level. One tip is to be careful to ensure that the extraction pipes get good support underneath, i.e. pack sand around the pipes so that they lie still during the extraction work.

paving has begun

Fix furrows with paving

The surface is ready for paving


To get a reasonable distance to the wall, I chose to use a 145mm board that I placed along the foundation, which also helps me keep a straight line when laying the stones. I start the paving closest to the foundation and work my way outwards. It can be a bit tricky to access the corners without ruining the stripped surface. Found some old raw slat hatches that were used as gangways. Worked perfectly. When working your way out from the wall, it is important to check that the rows of stones remain straight. This is where the straight disc comes in handy. Lay it along the row of stones for control and strike against the row of stones if necessary or adjust stone by stone. It is also important to fill the furrows with setting sand and pack lightly with your hand. Discovered quite quickly that I had not been careful enough to fill the furrows as the stones sank down a bit along the draw paths. With a little thought, it is probably better to have the deduction paths perpendicular to the laying direction. A smaller proportion of the stone surface then ends up over the drainage groove and this should reduce the risk of the stone settling. Better, however, to make sure that the furrows are properly backfilled and that the sand in them is packed.
During the laying, you can choose to either pull out the first row all the way or start building on the "width" so that you get a triangle shape. I chose the latter. It worked well, but soon noticed that it was difficult to keep straight lines across the whole. Switched to the second tactic and expect to run it going forward.

The start of the paving


The work is progressing at a reasonable pace. It seems possible to maintain a pace of about 20 square meters a day. What slows down the work the most and takes a lot of effort is the job of getting the stone to the laying site. With lawn all around, I don't want to carry the stone in with a machine, but have to do it with a wheelbarrow. If it is possible to get the pallets distributed over the laying surface, I think it saves a lot of time and energy.
The forefather chose to break the surface by building in two stone boxes near the house wall to use as flower beds. Make sure they end up a bit away from the house wall. Wooden houses feel good about having vegetation near them...

Progress image on the ground surface


As a father of three, it is not entirely easy to be able to work coherently in peace and quiet, I must say. It means that you work a little here and a little there. It's quite stressful to go and rent a vibrator plate at any time. Back and forth. Got a tip from a neighbor to look into Bauhaus, which has slightly simpler and lighter vibrator plates. It turned out to be a Hercules RP1300B that weighs 90kg. Fully sufficient to beat setting sand with. It also comes with a polyurethane mat that can be used to drive onto the tiles before the joint sand is applied. It cost SEK 4295. Renting one costs around SEK 250/day and with my scattered work effort, the rental cost will quickly go away and approach the purchase cost. Very nice to have one of your own :-) and not have to think about availability.

Hercules RP1300B ground vibrator


Work gloves are a must. The skin on the hands is otherwise quickly ground down and becomes dry. The gloves wear out quickly...

Work gloves are a must when laying stone


Decided to make the passage 140cm wide, 10cm on each side of the door lining to the entrance. I pulled a line perpendicularly out from the wall. Also made a control measurement regarding the fall from domestic life to the road. It turned out to be 10cm and the drop was 5cm/cm. It started to rain, but stubborn as you are, I wanted to clear the road. Wet as a cat! If you leave the delicate surface without stones, you soon have plenty of small footprints in the sand...

support lines are drawn

line to the project is drawn and fixed

The flagstone is laid at the entrance


The impression of the house will be completely different now that the stone is starting to come into place. It adds flavor to this otherwise rather tiring work.

The front takes shape with the paving stone


Wrote earlier about the importance of the right tool, but missed two other important aids rubber mallet and a straight stick. The rubber mallet is a must to adjust to the stones that end up unevenly. The stick comes in handy when the pull-out paths are to be extended. It is important that the extension ends up at the same starting height. It can be a bit difficult to see if the pipe is really level with the finished surface. Make sure the pipe starts a little bit into the finished surface. Place the stick on that end and weigh so that the stick lies flat on the surface and touches the pipe. Then the height will be correct.

Rubber mallet and stick for the ground stone


The paving should run along the entire long side of the house, a distance of about 20 metres. It is a challenge to keep straight lines over such great distances. The eye perceives quite small deviations in the longitudinal direction. To reduce the risk of this and at the same time bring a little more life to the surface, I chose to break the pattern and lay the stone across the bay window.

paving stones at different angles

The back is starting to take shape


I save all the fitting and cutting for last. As I don't have my own stone cutter, but was thinking of renting one, it is just as well to do all such work at the same time.

wells in the center of the ground stone


A panoramic view of the back of the house. Phew, it was tough to put this south side. It gets really hot when the sun is out. I think it was absolutely right to break the pattern and change the direction of the middle part. The line along the entire stretch is not perfectly straight, but almost. It does not disturb the eye in any case. What disturbs, however, is all the rain that has fallen. The edges take a beating. The edge by the garage where the water from the garage roof comes down has more or less been washed away. Realized that the edge will not last as it is now. After some consideration and discussion with Mats at Stenbolaget, I decided to order steel edges. The steel edges are 1 meter long and wedged into the sand along the rows. It will not be visible once sand and soil have been filled against the edge of the stone.

Panorama of the paving


Now I've made it around the house and now the finale remains - the garage driveway! Here it is important to be precise. What worries me the most is that there will be ruts in the driveway after a while. It's not pretty and then you are exposed as a layman... It's also important to make the case so that the water can drain away.
I started by putting the curbs, Benders Labyrinth, Graphite. It will be a nice frame and a prerequisite for being able to toad up on the tiles towards the end. Without an edge, there is a great risk that the plates will be pushed out to the sides. The wells at the side of the driveway add to that a bit. They are so close to each other that they cannot be turned straight, but must be tilted. After a bit of back and forth, I laid the line as close to the wells as possible. Even cut a piece out of one of the stones to earn 1 dm.
One question I had was how these wells and pipes actually work. They sat too far down to begin with. At first I didn't dare pull the pipes. If they drop into the ground, it's a disaster. Then you have to dig up. It turns out that these scopes are of the telescopic type, so are these. Just pull the pipes, or rather use a skewer or crowbar to get them loose. Just pay attention to how far the telescope is. There is a risk that the tube may pop out.

bricks for the driveway

curb to the driveway

The curb is in place


After reaching the corner by the garage, I stopped in the driveway. This is to make a new row in line with the front of the garage. Wanted the "first" row close to the garage floor. The row before did not go up evenly, of course(!) it will be a narrow adjustment row. So far so good. What was worse is that I was not careful enough to secure the line all the way across the driveway. Used the straightedge against the garage foundation to set the line and first row. It turned out, a little too late, that it is straight outside the garage door, but that the lines then turn a little left towards the house. To fix the whole thing, I thought of adding 2-3 adjustment lines as the picture shows. I don't know if it's me being picky, but it didn't feel right.
In the end, I decided to change the end towards the house. Picture two shows the beginning of the somewhat troublesome correction work. It takes a while to redo, I must admit. This time I used a line all the way to make sure it will be good all the way. It was not simply because the ground slopes down from the garage exit. Probably redid the first line ten times before I was satisfied. It is so important to get the beginning right! Then the rest flows on so much faster and easier. If you have to keep compensating for a bad starting position, the job becomes frustrating and not as fun to perform. It obviously also affects the final result. Yes, that's right, another disturbing factor was the fact that the edge of the garage foundation was not completely level. There were small pieces of concrete that had spilled over during the casting, which meant that some stones ended up slightly askew. This is reflected in the continued laying work. My tip is to, as far as possible, tap away and smooth the edge if you apply the poem to a foundation. It doesn't work 100%, I noticed. The way to deal with this is to taper off the stones, at protruding parts, with a miter saw or rock saw to get the outer side of the row straight - preferably nail straight!

flagstone became a little crooked

rearranging of paving stones


After a week's break in the project, it was now time to make the final push. The laying work turned out to go relatively quickly. It was worth the effort to rearrange to get the lines as straight as possible. The next few lines became straight almost automatically. With continuous small adjustments, there were no problems keeping the line and I was very happy with the result. Even the case seems at first glance to have turned out as I imagined. The idea is that the water should be led to one corner by the road. It remains to make a water diversion from there. Thinking about taking up a hole in the bottom of the curb so that the water can find its way out that way and onto the lawn.
One of the neighbors strolled by and gave a little cheer. He said that if he didn't know better, he would have thought the job was done by a "real" stonemason. Nice to hear!

The garage driveway from the house

Stone garage driveway


Now begins the painstaking work of cutting and tidying up all the edges. Begins with the entrance to the house. I have a miter saw with a coromant disc to test and see how it works. The plan is to rent a stone saw from Hyreshuset or Ramirent, but who can wait... It will be a stone saw for the rest of the job, I can reveal. If you want to get straight edges and angles, one like this is unbeatable.
If, on the other hand, you want to start making curved cuts, the miter saw will come in handy. Just pick up the outline around the stone. Then knock it loose with a steel wedge. It can happen to the occasional stone, as they don't always crack as expected ;-)

rounding of paving stones


It works perfectly fine to saw stones with an angle cut as in the rounding in the picture, but if you want to make straight cuts, as I said, a stone saw applies. It is so much more efficient and the cuts are straight and nice. I rented the machine at Hyreshuset. It took me 12 hours of hard work to get all the "straight" pass pieces. Adaptation around wells and stormwater pipes remains. The rent landed at SEK 640. Worth every penny!

Sawing stones for a rounded edge

Stone saw


Thought I could show in a little more detail how I get a concave cutout for, as in this case, for fitting around a stormwater pipe. Start by drawing the outline on the stone - around the entire stone! Slice thinly all around to get a feel for how the piece will turn out. Cut deeper at the edges and on the back. You will notice that it does not work to cut deeply on the top side without destroying the outline. Make several incisions to "weaken" the stone to be removed.
Then start by knocking off a small piece from each edge. On the edges, the saw blade reaches almost all the way through and it doesn't take much for the pieces to come loose. The main reason to start this way, I've found, is to expose the sensitive edges/corners. In the beginning, I tried to knock off the whole piece at once. It ended every time with the edges cracking. Incredibly frustrating.
With the rough shape in place, it's just a matter of plastering the surface with the angle grinder and putting the piece in place.

concave paving stone for well

sawn Concave flagstone for well

sawn ground stone for well

Sawn ground stone for well on site


With all the stones in place, it is now time to really "set" the stones with the vibrator before the joint sand comes on. I mount the rubber mat on the vibrator plate. Make sure to clean the surface free of any pebbles and other things that otherwise risk scratching the stone surface. Then just drive! I started with the edges, which I understood to be done. In addition to that, you can choose to walk along or across the tiles. I tried both variants and can't say I could tell any difference in results.
In the second picture (in this section) you can see a steel edge at the bottom. In this particular section of the paving, the lawn edge is lower than the tiles, which makes the outer rows of tiles vulnerable. It was clearly noticeable when it rained heavily a week or so ago. The settling sand under the slabs, at this section, was more or less washed away and the slabs settled. Just to redo and do it right. With the steel edge, which I knocked down with a rubber mallet, the stone edge becomes very stable.

vibrate with machine on the stone slabs

The flagstone after the surface is vibrated


Before the joint sand is put on, there may be one or two stones that need to be adjusted. In my case, it's a bunch...Once the joint sand is in place, it becomes much more difficult to get the stones loose.
In order to get the stones that need to be adjusted, some tools are needed. I found an old tent pole. Should have needed two. With two, one in each diagonal corner, it is quite easy to get the stones up. Fill with setting sand, put back and tap with the rubber mallet.

fine-tune the height of the paving stone


Now it's time to put on the joint sand. I use the setting sand that was left over, i.e. stone flour 0-4. However, it turns out to be more laborious work than I expected, to get the sand down between the stones. The stone flour is too coarse. What happens is that the larger grains stay on top of the stones and I have to sweep until I'm green in the face to get the stone flour down. After a little consultation with Stenbolaget, the conclusion is that I can go to the sand roof and buy a wheelbarrow with stone flour 0-2.

joint sand for flagstone


With stone flour in size 0-2, the jointing went much smoother, even if it is quite laborious work to sweep the sand between the stones. The joint sand needs to be swept down in batches. It almost feels like an eternity of work. You probably have to do the best you can and fill in where after. Certainly also next season.
It was a fun but tough project. All in all, I have laid out approximately 8800 stones, which corresponds to approx. 23 tons of moved stone. Think what you can achieve with a little persistence :-) After adding up all the expenses including the purchase of vibrator plate and tools as well as rental costs, the project landed at SEK 70,500.
It was really fun to be named project of the month in June. It has inspired me further. The next project will be in the country where paving stones will be laid and probably walls will be built, but that will have to be next year!

finished project front page

front with stone walkways

Shaped stones around wells

Ground stone on the short side of the house

flagstone also at the back of the house
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