Another picture of this little guy… just because 🙂

 

We’re getting near the end of this series, “thank god” I hear you all say (along with my back).

So what did I get up to on days 7, 8 and 9? Let’s find out!

Just to bring you up to speed, I had last Friday “off”, and then as Saturday, Sunday and Monday were so hot I kind of did a few hours of work in the morning and then had the middle hours of the day as a break, then worked till about 7pm in the evening. So although they weren’t full days, they were probably near enough. I also had Wednesday off as it just hacked it down with rain all day and you can’t really do much with cement when the patio is covered in water.

On days 4, 5 and 6 (Thursday, Saturday, Sunday) I pretty much just dug out the base, laid it, compacted it and levelled it, as described in my last post here.

Anyway so days 7, 8 and 9 covered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of this week and then we are fully back up to date.

Monday (day 7)

  • Realised I have got loads of earth to get rid of so am going to try to get all of the turf onto one level now, so filled in the sunken area of garden near the bottom:

  • Started to mix up the cement and get the slabs down
  • Start in the corner near the house so you can get everything nice and square
  • I’m using around a 1cm gap in between each block so there is a bit of leeway. You can opt to lay them right next to each other but I don’t trust the walls or myself to get everything that perfectly square if I’m perfectly honest!
  • Obviously I’ll fill the gap in with cement once all the slabs are down

  • Using a gorilla tub to mix up the cement. You can either use this or a large piece of wood, or you can buy plasting mixing plates.
  • Mix in small batches otherwise it becomes really hard to get the cement and sand nicely mixed up
  • I used roughly a 1:6 mix which means 1 part cement to 6 parts sharp sand. Online I have read anything between 1:4 and 1:9 so I thought I’d just hedge my bets and go in the middle.

  • You want a fairly dry mix so it can hold the weight of the slabs nicely without just going all floppy and dribbling away to the sides. I guess err on the side of dryness if you have any doubt, it’s easier to add more water rather than add more sand/cement I found!
  • Here you can see the 5 spotting method where you plop 5 spots (geddit?) of the mix down, then put your slab on top

  • Use your rubber mallet to knock each edge down to level, and then check it’s level with your spirit level. Remember the slabs need to slope away slightly from the house.
  • If any part of the slab is too low just lift it up (easier said then done!) and add a bit more mix underneath the offending area.
  • School boy error to watch out for here: I noticed a corner was too high after the cement had dried… and it dries quite hard very quickly! Like in about 10 minutes! So I started tapping down the corner a bit too hard and the corner broke off. Oops! Luckily I over ordered on the slabs so had plenty of spares to use in it’s place

  • I found that quite a few of the slabs seemed “loose” and would move around a bit. Part of the reason was probably when I had to relift a few of them to top up the mix and then it just sat on top rather than actually sticking too it, and/or that my mix was a bit too dry on occasion. No bother though, once I fill the gaps there will be no movement whatsoever.
  • Here are a couple of pictures at the end of day 7, I got all of the slabs down that didn’t need cutting:

Tuesday (day 8)

Tuesday was the day to cut the remaining slabs and fill in the edges. I bought a cheap angle grinder and a diamond stone cutting blade to go with it, total cost £42. Boom.

  • Gotta have all the right safety gear for this job… this thing goes off at 9000RPM!!!

  • As you can see I just built a small platform of bricks to do the cutting on.
  • The way to cut using an angle grinder is to just go down about 3/4 (or as much as your grinder lets you) then just tap the bit you want to break off with a hammer.
  • Straight cuts were very easy, but the corner cuts were a bit harder to break off succesfully and I had at least one casualty when doing those – see the area around the drain in the picture below on the left hand side:

  • I then had a bit of time to start filling in the gaps between the slabs
  • For this use a really dry mix of sand/cement. I went with around a 1:4 mix this time because my sharp sand seemed quite wet out of the bag so needed extra cement to make it dry enough.
  • You need it dry so you can brush it into the gaps and then brush any excess away, otherwise it will just stick to your slabs and stain them.
  • Just pack as much as you can into the gaps using whatever tools you have to hand, a pointing tool, screwdriver, normal trowel, your fingers (obviously wear gloves!).
  • You can finish it with a pointing tool or a piece of copper piping to make the joints look nice and smooth but to be honest I found my gloved finger did just as good a job.
  • Here is a picture at the end of day 8:

 

Day 9 (Thursday)

As it rained pretty much all day Wednesday and you can’t do any joint filling on wet slabs, I had a day off. The forecast for Thursday was dry all day so I thought I’d get it finished then instead. How wrong was I? (And the weather forecast?!)

It absolutely threw it down on at least 3 occasions, which never let the slabs to dry enough to get any of the pointing done.

  • Never one to rest on my laurels I decided to rebuild the raised flower beds instead:

Half rebuilt flower beds

 

  • I also decided to start making the area near the window which will be covered in pebbles.
  • Our pebbles are currently covered in muck, and so I painstakingly had to pick up each one to avoid all the debris and then wash them in a bucket. FUNTIMES 🙂

  • A picture of it with a few of the stones on it

  • And a few more…

  • And here is one of the flower beds all screwed back into place and filled with mud

 

So that’s it! I have two more days left spare next week, so am hoping for some dry weather so I can finish the patio, and then lay the turf, and then it’s pretty much done and dusted!

Oh finally here is an updated costs table:

Where? What? Cost?
B&Q Patio slabs 20sq.m £628.00
Screwfix Titan Angle Grinder £29.99
Soft Handled Trowel Set 6Pc £14.99
Site Optimus Gel Knee Pads £15.99
Flexi Tubs Yellow Pack of 2 £18.99
Ear Defenders 29.8dB SNR £5.99
Rubber Mallet 24oz £6.49
15cm screws £12.49
Bosch Drilling & Screwdriving Set 103 Pieces £19.99
Erbauer Diamond Segmented Blade 115 x 22.23mm £4.99
Wickes Sharp sand bags x 34 £54.06
Ballast bags x 34 £64.26
Cement x 3 £14.25
Sharp sand bags x 9 £14.31
Cement x 3 £14.25
Jewsons Compactor Hire 1 week £50.00
Van hire place Van hire 1 day £39.50
Homebase Laser Level £29.99
Total £1,038.53

 

Oh, and I can confirm that the knee pads finally did come in handy! 🙂