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When you choose a natural stone surface, you need to take into consideration its purpose. Will it be a patio, or a driveway? It goes without saying that the paving will be thinner for a patio than for a driveway. In general, we advise that you lay paving stones that are 1.2  inches (3 cm) thick. If no cars pass over or park on the area, stones that are 0.8  inches (2 cm) thick will suffice (depending on the type of stone). Shale paving can even be thinner (from 0.4 to 0.6 inches (1 cm to 1.5 cm)).

Each garden has its own character.

A square patio will be defined by the lines of the garden. Against the rear wall of the house, against a hedge or any other separating structure, or in a central place in the garden. As the length and width are equal, a square patio will not affect the layout of the garden.

Diagonally-laid stones give the impression that the garden is bigger.

The ideal patio should be flat so that tables and chairs do not tip over.However, it must be neither slippery nor too rough, so as not to hurt children if they fall.

Patio dimensions depend on their use. In general, the dimensions should be large enough for normal use, which means about 27 ft² (2.5 m²) per seated person, enough space for people to pass through and of course space for garden furniture.

Depending on the layout, a rectangular patio can create the impression of being longer and wider. This can be accentuated if you take into account the surrounding footpaths.To give a wider impression, pave your patio using the same width of stones as the footpath surface. The outdoor surface can also be in a contrasting color. If you want your patio to seem longer, align the stones parallel to the footpath.

Width of a driveway

The average width of a car is 5.25 feet (1.6 m), so a driveway measuring 8.2 feet (2.5 m) may be sufficient. This measurement is equal to a standard parking space. However a width of 11 to 11.5 feet (3.3 to 3.5 m) is not excessive if you want to unload your car with the doors open!

Please take care to pave your patio level with your house wall and under the level of stagnant water.

Stagnant water is stone's greatest enemy.Therefore you should ensure that good foundations are planned from the outset. A permeable foundation will ensure that your paving is protected. In addition, a slight incline will allow water to run off more easily. You can use a slope of 0.4 to 0.8 inches per yard (1 to 2 cm per meter). Of course, ensure that this slope is towards the garden and not the house! When laying the paving, never place the stones right against wall. It is advisable to use expansion joints.

Natural stone will expand in the sun and contract when cold. If you forget to use expansion joints, repeated heating/cooling could cause the stone to crack. Therefore you should always use such a joint between the patio and the wall, preferably flexible and waterproof (e.g. frost-resistant kit or profile).

Also make you sure you respect all the rules concerning expansion joints for large patios:

  • Expansion joints using stabilized sand are indispensable for:
    • Darker colors in the sun: patio larger than 375 ft² (35 m²) or more than 16.5 feet (5 m) long
    • Lighter colors in the sun: patio larger 375 ft² (35 m²) or more than 20 feet (6 m) long
    • Darker colors in the shade: patio larger 375 ft² (35 m²) or more than 26 feet (8 m) long
    • Lighter colors in the shade: patio larger 375 ft² (35 m²) or more than 33 feet (10 m) long
  • Never place paving stones directly against each other. Regarding the joints, you can use a very fine joint (0.15 to 0.2 inches, i.e. 4 to 5 mm) for smooth materials, such as blue stone. However not all natural stone materials are as uniform. Laying with joints 0.3 to 0.4 inches, (8 to 10 mm) wide will make the process faster.
  • Never lay a stone with a broken joint or allowing movement while fixed.
  • Avoid sliding stones over each other, otherwise they will scrape the surfaces.
  • When laying paving outside, remember that in addition to mechanical pressures, the most powerful forces exercised will be climatic. We are thinking particularly of the alternation of wet and dry periods common to our latitudes. Next to this, there are also the daily forces such as pedestrians and traffic which also exercise their own influence on the paved surface.

1. Laying a draining concrete foundation.

For a patio, the foundation must be laid under the frost line, approximately 15.75 inches (40 cm) under the top surface.

  • Draining concrete foundation - approximately 8 to 12  inches (20 to 30 cm) deep, dry and tamped down
  • Rough concrete - approximately 6 inches (15 cm) (composition: 150 kg cement per m² of 8/22 or 10/22 aggregates)
  • Bed of stabilized sand - approximately 2 inches (5 cm) thick (composition: Rhine sand 0/5 or 0/7 cm mixed with slightly dampened, lump-free white cement; proportion: 9 parts sand to one part cement).
  • Fixing mortar max. 1.2 inches (3 cm) thick. The stones will be laid on a layer of mortar (composition: white sand 0/2 mm mixed with white cement; proportion: 4 parts sand to one part cement).
  • Tiling

Draining concrete foundation

2. Laying on a concrete foundation

Avoid this laying method because concrete retains stagnant water and will make the patio subject to frost damage. Also, concrete has a high adherence rate, which in the long term may provoke fissures in the tiling.
If however you have an under-layer of concrete, follow these recommendations:
Apply a draining underlay on the concrete (e.g. Trauba or Schlüter). Then lay a reinforced foundation at least 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Leave this foundation to dry out completely (approximately 28 days). Then lay the tiles using suitable fixing products and calibrate the tiles on the foundation. The major advantage of this method is that the patio does not come into contact with the concrete and can therefore react differently to climatic fluctuations.

Laying tiles on a concrete foundation

3. Laying on a support

This method is mostly used to lay tiles on a balcony or for roof-top patios. Nevertheless, it can be used to lay a patio on the ground as long as no vehicles are driven over it. Caution! For this type of tiling technique, the tiles must be at least 1.6 inches (4 cm) thick, no matter the type of material. The foundation must be uniformly level. If this is not the case it can be corrected with roofing. The supports will define the width of the open joints.

4. Laying on mortar bags

Method used in the same cases as normal laying. You can determine the width of the joints yourself 0.15 to 0.2 inches (4 to 5 mm). By using small plastic crosses between the tiles, you can ensure that the joint width remains the same. As long as the mortar has not hardened in the bags, you can lay and move tiles.


Tips from a PRO

Order your tiles in one batch. Tiles from different production runs can show slight color differences.

To ensure your tiled surface is harmonious, we recommend that you mix tiles from different pallets.


Patio laying technique

Patio laying technique

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