Laying A Patio
When it comes to construction using bricks and slabs, there are various types of brick joints available to select depending on the occasion and the type of the construction. Each of these joint types has its own unique purpose and characteristics. These joints are to be finished with an appropriate jointing mortar at the completion.
For a successful completion of a seamless brick work with perfect joints with the slabs, you need to have appropriate tools with you. They are;
- A shovel
- Rubber mallet
- String line
- Spirit level
- Pointing trowel
- Squeegee / Soft Brush
- A high quality mortar – jointex
In addition to all the tools mentioned above, it is a compulsory thing to wear appropriate safety protection until the completion of the process. It is better not to touch with your bare hands as it may cause harm to your skin. Also, make sure that the mixture doesn’t reach your eyes.
How to begin the laying process?
It is compulsory to dry lay your patio first. This is just a simple laying to get the impression of the final output of the laying process. Make sure that you have bought the appropriate size of the slabs. Then check the layout and verify if you have enough amount of paving slabs. Otherwise during the process, you might have to run here and there causing panic, which may influence the final product.
It is required to leave 150 mm for the foundation mix and the paving. Especially, if the slabs are going to be laid right next to the house, the end result (the finished patio) should be 150 mm lower than the damp proof course. In other words, altogether you need to make a dig with a depth of 300 mm below the mentioned damp proof course.
To make sure that the paving area doesn’t get water collected on it, the foundation requires a gentle slope of 1 in 60. In other words, there should be a fall of a single centimeter for every 60 cm of width. Which means, a 3 meters wide patio, needs to have 5 cm (50 mm) of fall. This arrangement will ensure that water is not clogged in the patio area and have a smooth flow.
This is when you need to create the foundation base. To make sure you have a firm foundation, you need to have a concrete mix of 06 parts of ballast with 01 part cement. Make sure that you add enough amount of water to get the mixture dampen enough to bind together firmly.
Then make sure to spread the mix to cover the whole area with a depth of about 75 mm. Properly level the mix with the shovel and pack down with a piece of timber. If not, you can trample the mixture down with the boots too.
Now it is time to pave the slabs on the full mortar bed. You need to make sure that the whole slab should be supported by the mortar, but not only the corners. The slab shouldn’t have empty areas underneath the surface. It will assure a firm, and strong laying. Also, it will assure a better efficiency during the process of applying joint compound.
The mortar mix by this point should be six parts of sharp sand into 1 part of cement. Mix these particles together with just the right amount of water. Never make the mixture too damp and runny, make it damp enough to easily workable.
Arrange 02 stretched string lines at the first place. This will be featuring as the guide lines for the slab arrangements and the levels of paving. One of these stretched strings should run down the length of the patio while another one placed side to side with the fall indicating string. You need to start from a corner and go on from there.
You need to spread the mortar mix to cover a slightly bigger area than the slab you are going to use. Also, the mixture should be thick enough to make sure you tap the slab making sure you have a chance to adjust the slabs to the perfect level. Make sure you arrange the slab by lifting and lowering into place carefully without catching the corners.
Then, using the rubber mallet (hammer), gently tap the slab down. Target the paver, hit firmly but not excessively hard. When you strike, it should be at a point where roughly the middle of the paving, slab and each corner along imaginary diagonals. Then move around the paving area while tapping continually until the slab gets settled down with the correct angle and the level.
You need to check the paving to make sure if it is leveled with the spirit level. Also make sure if it has the correct slope to drain water adequately. After verifying it perfectly, proceed with rest of the paving work, leaving joints to apply paving jointing compound.
At the completion of the laying process, you need to make sure that the patio is left alone at least for 24 hours or so. It makes sure that the bedding mortar gets harden. Be sure not to allow anyone (including kids and pets) walk on the patio yet.
This is where you need to concentrate on the compound, a product like jointex (also available is romex and rompox). The conventional method is to use a mortar mix with 3 parts of soft building sand to 1 part cement. However, thanks to the technology, now you do not need to worry about mixing things together. If you are going to use a resin based product like Jointex, it is a huge time saver for you as it comes in the form of RTU (Ready To Mix).
After getting ready to apply, you need to wet the complete area with clean water. This washing process assures to reduce any possible stains. You should be careful not to over to this; just making sure the adequate wetness with no stains is enough. The mixture comes in a sealed package, which you should open just before applying it. Because this jointing mortar mixture reacts rapidly with the atmosphere. Open the pack one you are ready, take the mixture out of the tub and spread evenly out. The joints of these slabs need to be completely free from the debris. These joints are needs to be at least 20mm deep and 6 mm wide.
After applying the resin based compound, you can use a squeegee or a soft brush to spread it as evenly as possible into the joints. Carry out the process over the whole area and it is a batter of brushing away any leftovers after all the joints are filled properly.
To assure a better output, after about 20 minutes you can use a soft spray hose and to spray gently over the filled joints. It will make sure that this settles down perfectly.
Here are some tips you should follow for a better outcome;
- Make sure to dry lay the patio first to ensure you have checked the measurements
- Ensure that you have a good solid foundation and check the depths
- Begin the laying process of the patio from the corner and work outwards for accuracy
- Be sure to check the levels and slope frequently to see if you stay on track
Brick work construction
Apart from floor tiling and slabs, it is vividly used when it comes to bring work. Proper use will make sure a nice appearance with good finishing. With this section, some important aspects of brick work are discussed.
Before you begin…
Always dry lay your patio first, a simple job of laying out the paving as you want the finished patio to be. Check size, layout and more importantly, that you have enough paving slabs!
Types of Mortar Joints and their characteristics in brick works
There are several mortar joint types used in the industry. Some of these types are good while some are not. Once a jointing mortar is applied to a certain type, it can deliver advantages and disadvantages depending on the style or the type.
Here are some of the common joint mortar types and an analysis of their characteristics.
- Shallow concave joints are capable of highlighting the nice plain surface and authentic quality of the bricks
- It is a better type when it comes to water resistance
- You need to purchase a concave jointer additionally. Usually, this type of mortar joint is tried with makeshift tools, with which you have to expect some sort of inconsistencies
V or Vee joints
- Provides a much better appearance than most of the types
- Has the ability to conceal small indiscretions in the original brick’s outer appearance.
- Because of the ‘V’ shape, it is highly water-resistant. It directs away water from the seals exist between bricks.
- You need to purchase a V-jointer separately
Beaded mortar joints
- Known as a vintage and formal in design
- They can create interesting shadows
- Not the best option for exterior walls because the exposed ledges are more likely to corrode over time. It may leave the joint weakened and untidy.
- You need to purchase of a beaded jointer.
Raked mortar joints
- You can use this type to highlight bricks with a nice beveled edge.
- In certain occasions used on modern constructions, where there is a requirement for a vintage or historic appearance of a local area
- The ledges of this raked mortar joints tend to collect water as it runs down the wall. Then that water will pool and penetrate the brickwork. Generally, some additional voids may open up, maximizing the chances of water penetration through the brick work.
Struck mortar joints
- The main advantage of the struck design is that is it good in emphasizing horizontal joints and well-formed bricks.
- This is not to be used for exterior walls, because the upper edge of the lower brick gets exposed to weather because of the formation. Also, it is a poor insulator to resist weather as it tends to gather on the bottom edge.
Weathered mortar joints
- Has a highly decorative appearance
- Can highlight the authentic look of the well-formed bricks
- It provides a neat and methodical look because the straight, inclined surfaces of the horizontal joints of this particular join type often catch the light.
- Water tends to run off the surface of this joint type. Therefore, it isn’t matching for exterior building walls.
- Usually it is less compact comparing to the concave or v-joint. Therefore, it requires re-jointing or maintenance at an earlier stage
Grapevine mortar joints
- By nature, it has a rough and wavy appearance providing interesting look for the grapevine.
- Ideal for antique-finish brickwork which requires replica on new builds.
- This particular joint type is matching only with exterior walls, but it is less water resistant than concave and V-joints.
- You need to purchase a grapevine jointer separately
Some additional tips to consider when it comes to mortar jointing
Be sure to prevent using mortar joints with ledges when it comes to the exterior walls. When you need to select a joint, you should do it considering the location of the building and the level of exposure to the different weather conditions. It is also important to select a high quality mortar for the purpose.
In addition to the different appearances they provide, mortar joints have different resistance levels to moisture penetration. The joint types that come with ledges, like weathered, raked and struck joints, usually works inefficiently as an exterior application because of their high level moisture penetration. Therefore, the joints that come with ledges are mostly appropriate as an appearance enhancer than a weather resistant.
Choose a compound to improve the lifespan of bricks
For exterior applications, experts recommend joint types like Concave and Vee. That is because their structure forms the best compaction of mortar. Because of the protection provided by these joint types, you will not have to change the bricks for a long time.
Repairing Mortar Joints
When it comes to brick constructions, crumbling mortar in those brick walls should be removed (cut off) in order to avoid structural and water damage. Removing this accretive jointing mortar is called tuck-pointing. Although it looks like an annoying task, if done in the right way, it is easier than you think.
Because of the crumbling masonry joints the appearance of the construction may look ugly. In addition to the appearance, the bricks will start to loose, water penetrate behind the wall and bees make their homes in the holes where it is not exciting anymore. If you neglect it, the problem will stay as it is and the deterioration process will be quickened. Ultimately your negligence will make you to face a much bigger fix on your hands. However, these joints can be mended by you with the process called tuck-pointing.
Generally, Tuck-pointing is not the most difficult task or the most expensive task you will come across. It is pretty simple and affordable if carried out in the correct way with some planning and correct materials. You can to this by yourself during your free time area by area.
Herewith mentioned are the steps that may work on any brick wall, chimneys and retaining walls. However, tuck-pointing is not supposed to fix issues like cracking or crumbling bricks, or cracks in walls caused by a shifting foundation. Those problems are severe cases that should be carried out with a different approach.
Pick up tools and materials
In terms of equipment, you need an angle grinder with a 4- or 4-1/4-in. In addition to that you need to get a brick trowel and a tuck pointer. If the joint type is concave mortar joints, you want to get a masonry jointer to match the width of your joints. If you have flat joints, you want to go for a joint rake. If there are only few areas that need work, you can use a hammer and cold chisel to remove the old. But, if the work is more extensive, you have to get a rotary hammer drill that is fitted with a flat chisel to make the work much easier.
You need to rely on a high quality joint mortar to fill the joints properly. A brand like Jointex will be fine. Select the color that matches the surface.
if it is a simple work with few joints, dive right in. But if it is a large wall, be sure to start with a small area. It will give you the perfect idea of the work you are about to carry out.
Prepare for dust
You will be experiencing loads of dusts during the process. In fact, be prepared for a dust storm, coupled with chunks of mortar covering the ground. You can place a cloth on the ground to catch the mortar. It will be easy to clean up the dust. Always make sure to close your house windows to keep your house hold equipment getting contaminated with dust.
Grind out the joints
You need to grind along the top and bottom parts of the horizontal joints. Make sure to get as close to the bricks as you can. In case of accidentally grinding against the bricks, you can see it as the dust will change into the brick’s color.
Hammer out the mortar
You need to move the rotary hammer drill through the joints as you chisel out the jointing mortar. Make it sure that the chisel is off the bricks. It makes sure you don’t knock them out of place
Sweep out the joints
Get a small broom and sweep debris and dust out of the joints of the structure. You should examine the joints to see if there is remaining stubborn parts and remove them out with the drill.
Whip up the mortar batch
Make sure that you wet the mix to the consistency of peanut butter with no dry spots or clumps. It is easy to identify the appropriate amount of water when this sticks to your trowel when you hold it even at a 45-degree angle. Allow the compound to sit for 10 minutes before using it.
Fill the joints
Now it is time to load your brick trowel and hold it closer to the joint. Gently work the jointing mortar into the joint using your tuck pointer. Be sure to pack the joint completely with jointing compound before moving on to the next stage.
Strike the mortar joints
Start dragging the jointer along the vertical joints and the horizontal joints of the wall. Do not push too hard, just a gentle pressure to tool would be fine. Move it along the ridges where the joints intersect. Always complete one joint before stepping into the next.
Wipe down the bricks
You should scrub the mortar off the bricks using a stiff brush to finish.
Here are the list of tools needed to carry out a successful tuck-point successfully. Be sure to have them with you before starting any work if you need to stay focused to work without any frustration.
- Angle grinder
- Cold chisel
- Dust mask
- Hearing protection
- Hammer drill
- Safety glasses
- Tuckpointing tool
In addition to the above mentioned tools it is better to be prepared with a brick trowel, a masonry jointer or joint rake, a small broom, rubber gloves, and a stiff bristle brush for a smooth operation.
Preparation is always the key to success. Make sure that you have all the required materials with you before start the work. It is crucial in avoiding last-minute shopping trips. Most of the times you need to have a mix and Muriatic acid. If you have decided to go with conventional mortar mix, you need to have a mortar dye too. But if you are going to use a RTU (Ready to Use) mix, you do not need to search for dye as these mixtures com with attractive colors to pick.
Please have a look at the jointex usage video also, this will really help understand further how to use.