Though undoubtedly one of the most expensive materials for paving a patio or garden walkway, slate pavers are durable and particularly attractive. They provide a sophisticated and traditional appearance but they do take time to install, requiring a great deal of manual labor. You can install them using mortar though this is more expensive and time consuming, or you can use the far easier dry method of installation which takes a lot less time and only requires that you have a bed of gravel and sand rather than mortar on which to lay the pavers rather.
Step 1- Establish the Border of the Patio or Walkway
Before you begin, measure and clearly define the border of the patio or walkway where your slate pavers are going to be laid. You can mark the area by implanting wooden stakes with taut lines of twine connecting them. Alternatively, you can use rubber tubing or spray paint.
Step 2- Excavate the Area
Excavate the defined area to about six inches of depth using the shovel. The depth may vary depending on the thickness of your slate pavers. There should be around four inches of depth allowed for the foundation. Six inches total should be ample for most jobs. Ensure that the excavated area is fairly level.
Step 3- Placing the Foundation
Place gravel in the excavated area so that it is about four inches deep. You will need to compact this down using a special tool called a plate compactor. You should be able to hire one of these. Start using it from the center of the area and work over the grave layer three times. To make sure that the surface is level, use a spirit level. Surround the foundation with the edge materials. Pour a layer of sand over the gravel. The sand should be level and approximately one inch thick. Find a long, straight piece of wood and drag it along the sand to get the surface as level as possible. It needs to be smooth all over.
Step 4- Placing the Slate Pavers
You should now be ready to place the slate pavers. Start in the corner and place the pavers leaving about half an inch gap between each one. Every two to three pavers that you set should be checked using the spirit level.
Step 5- Finishing the Job
When you have laid all of the pavers, carefully spray the area with a garden hose. Be careful not to get any high pressure jets of water into the gaps between the pavers as this will uproot the sand. Finally, cover the area with polymetric sand and, using a broom, sweep this into the gaps between the paving stones. Remove the wooden stakes around the border. The slate paving is completed and you would have undoubtedly saved many hours by using the dry installation method over the mortar-based paving.