If you have decided to install a flagstone patio in your backyard that your family can use for entertaining, then it is important that you know the best practices for natural stone installation. By using the same techniques that are used by professional stone masons, your patio will both look wonderful and last for decades to come. To this end, follow these tips while installing your flagstone patio.
Vary the Stones for a More Natural Appearance
When you get home from the home improvement store with your load of flagstones, it is important that you spread them out on the ground so that you can see all of their variations. Since rocks in nature are found in random patterns and colors, it is vital that your new patio also appears to have a random collection of stones. When you are deciding where to place each stone, make sure that you vary the look and color of the stones throughout your patio. Don't place stones that are the same color or shape next to each other. Instead, spread them around throughout the patio to give it a more natural and random appearance.
Never Cut Flagstone on a Saw
When you are installing flagstones or any other natural stones, you should never cut them on a masonry saw. Cutting natural stones will give them a less natural appearance after installation. Instead, save your masonry's diamond blade for use with ceramic tile, and break the flagstones using a hammer and rock chisel. Breaking the stones will give a more unique look for your patio.
Tuck the Cement Mortar Between the Stones Well
Once your have arranged all of your flagstones and have installed them, then you need to carefully tuck cement mortar between the stones. While you may be tempted to go lightly on the mortar, this is not advised. You need to tuck in as much cement mortar as possible between the stones to keep them in place for many years. Tucking in less mortar than necessary to keep the stones in place will result in mortar cracking and your stones will move around on the ground, making the patio uneven.
Spend Adequate Time Sponging off the Excess Cement Mortar
Finally, once you are finished tucking the cement mortar between the flagstones on your new backyard patio, then it is vital that you carefully clean off the excess using a large sponge. If you do not adequately clean off the flagstones, then they will have an ashy look from the excess cement mortar.