If you are designing a new landscape for your home and want to replace an old concrete walkway with a walkway made of natural slate, then you will be pleased to know that this is a project you can easily complete yourself. Even if you do not have any experience with stone installation, there are many things you can do to ensure that the final product is a professional-looking slate walkway. The slate will make your yard look updated and is a bonus in any landscaping design scheme. To this end, follow these time-tested tips when you undergo your slate walkway installation project this weekend:
Tip: Wear Knee Pads When Installing Stone
For your own comfort, it is very important for you to wear high-quality knee pads while you are working with slate. Kneeling on the ground is very hard on your knees and back, and it will be much easier on your body if you wear knee pads. This is not a time where you want to use the cheapest option; spring for some excellent knee pads so that you will be more comfortable during the installation process. Doing so will allow you to take your time and create an amazing patio.
Tip: Chisel Shape the Stones Rather than Cutting Them
The very reason that you want to install natural slate is the reason that you should not cut the stones using a masonry saw. By shaping the slate using a hammer and chisel, you will preserve its look and earthy feel. Use a hard hit to break stones into basic shapes, and use smaller hits along the edges with a stone chisel to shape them so they fit together like a puzzle along your walkway.
Tip: Use the Proper Cement Mortar Installation and Finishing Process
Finally, once all of the slate stones have been installed in place for your home's new walkway, you need to spend some time putting cement mortar between them. Installing mortar between slate stones is called tucking. When you tuck your walkway, you need to put as much of the cement mortar between the stones as the voids will hold. Once the slate has been successfully tucked, then you must take a large sponge and remove any excess mortar from the surface of the slate. If you fail to remove all of the extra mortar from the cracks between the stones, then it will cure on their surface and will create a white film on them.