How to Lay a Path Using Slablayer

The Benefits of Slablayer for Constructing Paths

Paving slabs or concrete slabs are an excellent choice when it comes to building a sturdy and durable path. However, the traditional method of laying slabs on a wet mortar bedding layer can be time-consuming and challenging. That’s where Slablayer comes in. Slablayer is a revolutionary product that serves as an alternative to traditional mortar bedding layers. It has gained popularity among DIY enthusiasts because of its ease of use. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of using Slablayer to create a beautiful path for your garden.

Step 1: Marking the Path

Before you start laying the slabs, it’s crucial to mark the path accurately. Measure the desired width of the path, taking into account the pointing gaps and edging strip widths. In this example, we measured the path to be exactly two slabs wide. Remember to be precise in your measurements. If you need to cut any slabs, consider hiring a slab-cutter or stone cutter for clean and accurate cuts.

marking out path

Step 2: Preparing the Path Area

Once the path is marked, it’s time to prepare the area. Start by digging out the path with a spade, following the marked lines. Make sure to remove any grass or vegetation from the path area. Dig deep enough to allow for 10cm of hardcore, 2.5cm of Slablayer, and the depth of the slabs. The final path should sit 1cm below the level of the surrounding grass.

hardcore, slablayer and paving slabs

Step 3: Installing the Edging

To ensure a clean and professional finish, install edging along the sides of the path. Drive pegs into the ground at 1m intervals along the length of the path, making sure they are level with the ground. Fix treated timber edging boards to the pegs and check that the sides are level.

timber edging boards

Step 4: Creating a Solid Base

A solid base is essential for a long-lasting path. Rake 10cm of hardcore evenly across the path area and compact it using a sledgehammer or a hired plate compactor. This will ensure that the base is sturdy and stable.

raking and compacting hardcore

Step 5: Dry Laying the Slabs

Before you lay the slabs, it’s a good idea to dry lay them on the hardcore base. This will allow you to make any necessary adjustments and ensure that they fit properly. Remember to leave space for the mortar joints. Once you are satisfied with the arrangement, remove the slabs.

Dry laying paving slabs

Step 6: Applying Slablayer

Now it’s time to apply the Slablayer. Use a rake to level a 2.5cm layer of Slablayer across the path area. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper water sprinkling using the fine rose of a watering can. Rake the area level again to ensure an even surface.

levelling slablayer before sprinkling with water

Step 7: Laying the Slabs

As you start laying the slabs, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent spacing between the edges. A 1cm gap is ideal to allow for expansion and contraction. You can use offcuts of ply as spacers or explore other options such as using specific spacers designed for paving slabs.

laying paving slabs

Step 8: Ensuring Levelness and Gradient

Continuously check that the slabs are level and that the path has a slight gradient for proper drainage. Use a rubber mallet to settle the slabs firmly in the Slablayer. It’s essential to ensure that the gradient is even throughout the path.

checking paving slabs are level

Step 9: Drying and Finishing Touches

Allow the Slablayer to dry for at least 48 hours before applying any finishing touches. You can mix up a dry mortar mix (four parts sand to one part cement) and press it between the slabs to create flush joints. Alternatively, you can brush a dry mortar mix or Slablayer into the joints and sprinkle it with water.

mixing mortar in a bucket

Additional Tips for Path Laying

  • Drainage: It’s important to slope the path slightly to ensure proper drainage. A recommended gradient is a fall of 25mm every 2m.
  • Foundation Compaction: Proper compaction of the foundation is crucial for preventing slumping or failure of the paving. Hardcore is typically used as a foundation, but if you have a compact soil base, it may not be necessary. Slablayer instructions may also allow for skipping the hardcore layer for light foot traffic paths. However, for driveways and heavy-duty paths, a hardcore layer is always required.
  • Ensuring Bond with Slabs: Some users have reported bonding issues between the slabs and Slablayer. To ensure a strong bond, consider dampening the back of the slabs with a diluted waterproof pva mix before laying them.
  • Alternative Method: If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can use a sand/cement mortar mix (4:1 ratio) as the bedding layer for the slabs. However, make sure to use a continuous bed of mortar to avoid spot-bedding, which often leads to failure.

Regardless of the method you choose, following these steps will help you create a beautiful and long-lasting path for your garden.

Tags: garden, paving