Basque Natural Stone pavers: installation guide
To get the best finish that'll last the distance, we’ve put together a guide for the best method of installing Basque Natural Stone pavers. If you wish to use an alternate method of laying, you should contact Flower Power prior to laying.
For Basque Natural Stone care and maintenance, click here.
Selecting the material for laying
The laying process is made easier by having the right preparation.
Uneven pavers create ‘lippage’ and jagged grout joints can leave the finish looking amateur. However it is not recommended to grind down the lippage on pavers to overcome varying height. This can lead to dull spots and a marred finish on the stone. You can however grind the edges of the stone to hide jagged grout joints.
Height issues need to be addressed in preparation for laying.
To do this you should lay the stones from all of the crates or from as many available crates, at the same time.
This will help to blend the colour and any noticeable thickness variation.
Once all pavers have been graded with pavers of the same thickness, you can begin the laying process and avoid issues of ‘lippage’. On top of this, you can also use the bedding material to help adjust and remove any ‘lippage’.
The flushness of pavers (setting bed depth) and grout-joint-width should be determined prior to installation when possible.
We strive to provide Basque Natural Stone pavers that are uniform in thickness to make laying easier. This can vary from stone finish and application.
When laying pavers over concrete slab you must lay according to the following:
- Always use white or a light-coloured adhesive unless the material is dark grey or black in which case you may use a grey or black adhesive.
- Use Mapei adhesives and grouts or an approved mortar mix or other approved glues and grouts.
- Always ensure that the entire backside of the paver is completely covered in the adhesive. You should apply glue to the concrete base as well as the back side of the paver.
- Do not use acid on any part of the material to clean grout, adhesive or any other things.
- Only use detergents to clean the stone.
- Ensure that the concrete slab is level and has the correct drainage prior to sticking pavers down.
- Do not carry or use other building materials over the stone whilst the stone is being laid or prior to it being sealed.
- Ensure that stone is dry prior to laying.
When laying pavers over a flexible base you must lay according to the following:
- Paving stones are to be laid only on triple washed sand or white-washed sand.
- Paving should never be laid directly on road base, gravel, cracker dust or any sand other than listed above.
The base should be as follows:
- 75mm minimum (refer to building specifications for the site) of compacted road base or crushed rock.
- You must ensure proper drainage, beneath around or on the surface of the base. Once the base has been installed and compacted you must use a bed of minimum of 25mm to lay your stone pavers onto.
- The bedding sand, as per above must be white-washed or triple-washed sand.
- Once the pavers have been laid, use suitable fine wash sand or joint filling sand to ensure that the pavers are correctly finished.
Important general information regarding Basque Natural Stone pavers
Stone will look darker when wet. In order to avoid the permanent darkening of the stone, especially if being laid inside, you need to ensure that the material is completely dry and at the desired colour before laying.
Many pavers are made from porous material and will absorb colours and materials from the outside of the stone, particularly from the base or beneath the stone. Even if the product is sealed it can still absorb from the bottom of the stone. It is critical that the correct bedding sands and glues (including colour) are used. Colours and other matter from outside of the stone from the base, sides or top can permanently stain the stone.
If the stone is laid in a damp area, an area with poor drainage or somewhere where it is exposed to a harsh environment such as extreme rain or dampness, trees dropping leaves, animals, high pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic, then it should always be sealed prior to or immediately after laying. You should discuss with Flower Power for advice on how to maintain your stone in these and other harsh environments.
You should check with the manufacturer of the glue to be sure that you have the right glue for your specific application, not only the stone type but the job details as well.
Grey cement should NOT be used in a mortar mix that involves light-coloured stones, especially sandstone and granite. It is recommended that only ivory or off-white coloured cement is used for mortar involving all sandstone and any light-coloured stones other than sandstone. You must also choose a light-coloured sand for the mortar mix.
Grey coloured adhesives when laying light-coloured stones, especially sandstone and granite, are NOT to be used. It is recommended that only an ivory or off-white coloured adhesive is used for the laying of all sandstone and any light-coloured stones. The adhesives recommended in this guide are ivory coloured.
Some adhesives have sand that contains iron in it. It is for this reason that you should ONLY use those adhesives that are recommended by Flower Power.
If you are laying over a sand or flexible base, then you must use a 20mm or 30mm paver (or thicker), depending on the product. Again, you must check with Flower Power.
If you purchase a product from Flower Power that is promoted as ‘No Sealing Required’ you are responsible for checking with Flower Power prior to laying to ensure that your proposed laying method, conditions and the environment for which the stone will remain, is suitable for the stone that you have chosen and also suitable for the stone to remain unsealed. Some stones that don’t normally require sealing and are promoted as such can actually be required to be sealed depending on the conditions outlined above.
Most commonly found in travertine, some pavers may have a residue that can be felt as grimy and seen as dirty or blotchy, this is not a fault and should be addressed by the installer at the time of laying. These stones, if undesirable, can be used for cutting or in areas where it is not visible. Factory fill can sometimes vary from batch to batch and this is normal as something like the weather can affect the colour.
On site filling
Another common method of filling stone (especially travertine) is on site filling. When filling on site it is recommended that you use a suitable grout (we recommend Mapei) or cement mix. Prior to filling the stone on site you must contact Flower Power for advice on what the most suitable grout and/or cement mix for your project.
Other things to consider before and during installation
The abrasive process can, from time to time, leave swirls or blemishes on the stone. As the abrasives wear, the finish can change from batch to batch and crate to crate. Density and colour differences from one batch to the next can also affect lustre. If you have a higher than normal amount of products with this issue, then you must contact Flower Power prior to laying for instructions on what steps may or may not need to be taken. Up to 7% is considered normal.
During the construction process, tradespeople come in contact with dirt and grit on the stone surface causing wear and marring. Also, equipment, appliances, tools, etc, can cause deep scratches and bruises if dragged or pushed across the stone. Be careful and ensure that people on and around the job are responsible in their interactions with the new stone products.
Why should Basque Natural Stone pavers be sealed?
Unless you have a product which has been approved by Flower Power as ‘No Sealing Required’, you must always seal your Basque Natural Stone pavers.
Why? Simply put: to retain the beauty, preserve the life and keep it maintainable. No one asks why you should paint your house. It is common knowledge if you didn’t seal or paint the wood, metal or other materials; they would absorb, stain, discolour, rust and erode.
Natural stone is no different. Staining, discoloration, erosion and odour absorption are all typical adversities that happen to stone if not sealed. As stone wears, abrasions damage the finish by opening up pores and exposing the stone to problems.
All natural stone is porous and what it absorbs affects it. Even the chemicals found in tap water (chlorine, minerals, salts, etc.) can cause trouble to the stones’ substrate.
Moreover, decorative stones are being used for their beauty in high traffic areas where design precedes function.
Sealing and maintenance are critical for preserving these delicate installations as well as any natural stone where absorption of any kind is possible.
We recommend the range of stone sealers by Environex.
You must also ensure that the pavers are resealed at each and every due date based on the recommendations of the manufacturer of the sealer for your particular job.
Flower Power does not accept responsibility for the use of any sealer that is not recommended and does not accept responsibility for any stone that is laid and left unsealed.
Some Basque Natural Stone pavers are sold with ‘NO SEALING REQUIRED’.
Each recommendation is case by case and must be followed.
For Basque Natural Stone care and maintenance, click here.
It is always the responsibility of the purchaser and the installer to check with Flower Power prior to laying or any questions in relation to this installation guide.