Paving stones come in a variety of makes, styles and designs, including limestone. Limestone is a relatively soft natural stone composed of calcite, which deteriorates faster than harder stones such as granite or marble. This is especially important to know when installing limestone pavers in a patio or walkway on your landscape. More so than other stones, limestone pavers require fast-draining base material to ensure that water does not have time to settle and deteriorate the stone from the underside.
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Things you need
- Wooden stakes
- Nylon cord
- Hand tamper or plate compactor
- Landscape fabric
- Paver base
- Levelling sand
- Rubber mallet
- Chisel and sledgehammer or diamond blade wet saw
Map out the layout for your limestone paver installation. Use wooden stakes and nylon cord to create a perimeter for your walkway or patio.
Excavate your installation area to a depth of 7 inches, unless otherwise required by building codes. This will allow room for the base material to assist in drainage.
Tamp down the soil with a hand tamper or plate compactor to create a firm, flat surface for installation. Cover the compacted soil with landscape fabric to help water drain without washing away underlying soil. This will improve drainage while ensuring that your base is completely stable.
Lay down a 4-inch layer of paver subbase or gravel to cover the landscape fabric. Compact this layer as well to ensure that it sits completely flat, ensuring a flat installation surface for your limestone pavers.
Finish the base material with a 1-inch layer of levelling sand. Compact the sand as well to make sure it is completely flat.
Mix stone mortar and water in small batches so that it creates a thin paste; use only small portions at a time, or the mortar will dry out before you get a chance to use it.
Trowel a ½- to ¾-inch layer of mortar onto one corner of the sand area and set your first limestone paver in place. Set a level on top of the paver to make sure it sits flat; if not, use a rubber mallet to tap it into place.
Spread more mortar and place each limestone paver ½ to ¾ inches from the previous paver. This spacing does not have to be completely precise. Check the level of each new paver with those around it to ensure a completely flat surface.
Cut pavers to fit as necessary using a heavy chisel and sledgehammer or a diamond blade wet saw. When measuring to cut pavers, take into account the necessary ½- to ¾-inch space between the cut paver and all surrounding pavers.
Set all pavers into place on top of the mortar. Allow the mortar to dry for 24 hours before continuing; if necessary, cover the area with protective plastic sheeting to protect the new pavers from rain.
Mix five parts mortar to one part water to create a slightly damp mixture for jointing the pavers. Spread this mixture into the joints with your trowel once the mortar underneath has completely dried. This will preventing shifting and water damage between the pavers.
Tips and warnings
- Your property should naturally slope away from your home, so lay the pavers in that direction as well to encourage water drainage. In general, the slope should drop 1 inch for every 36 inches of space.
- Consult your local building codes and utility company before you start digging. Make sure there are no extra requirements for new construction, and check to ensure that you will not damage any underground pipes or wires during excavation.
- Do not allow mortar to dry on the surface on the limestone pavers. Clean up any spills immediately with a damp sponge. Mortar will stain the surface of the pavers.
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