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Hi folks,

I am just writing as I have always laid most natural stone on a full mortar bed with sharp sand 5:1 mix and painted the back of the slabs with a slurry.  This is how I was trained to install slabs and also taught this at university with building sand being a big no no.

Recently we have had some issues with builders laying slabs on one of our schemes using the '5 spot' method and clearly causing all sorts of problems.

I have just been on some of the stone suppliers we use (Pavestone, Marshalls, Stonemarket and Bradstone) and all but Bradstone reccommend a 5:1 mix using building sand!! Why on earth are they reccommending building sand to install their pavers, it is way too soft and causes all sorts of structural problems?!

Look forward to hearing anyones thoughts!


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  • i have always used sharp sand mix wether dry or wet but never painted the back of the slabs i have layed a few large york stone flags over the years appart from one that 5 of us could not lift all on dry mix and you want it right first time and do not want to go back to them later  

  • Sharp sand for me too, much nicer to work with as well, I never get a nice mix with builders sand in a mixer .

  • PRO

    Almost universally sharp sand here in Scotland. Although some landscapers are bedding in morter nowadays.

  • PRO

    Interesting thread , as we have just started a major project east side of Scotland and one part of the excavations was lifting a large patio area which was only laid three years ago , using Marshalls Green Slate Paving(incidentally installed by a company on the Marshalls Register)

    Thought it would be a nightmare to lift, totally solid etc but propped the slabs up easily using minimal effort with a shovel. 

    Disgustingly enough and even though my client paid top money at the time, the company also laid the paving dot and dab 5 spots - disgusted to say the least.

    Cannot really resonate with Graeme as most good installers I know in the Edinburgh area using building sand for their mortar mixes as do we. 3:1 Building Sand & Cement - slabs laid on a full bed. Ditto with our walling etc 

    Concrete Sand primarily for monoblocking, slab bases for garden sheds etc 

  • We have laid paving for 40+ years and used 50/50 building/sharp sand mixed at 5/1 as a full mortar bed on a 100mm concrete base for driveways and 75mm for lighter useage. '5 dots' method is definately a no no in my book.

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