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A stepping stone is indeed an excellent material for beautifying pathways. But the question here is, can you lay them on gravel? And if so, how? We will answer those questions in this post since we have already researched them for you.
Laying the stepping stones on gravel is indeed possible. And below is the process of applying them:
- Arrange the stepping stones in long steps.
- Pull out the gravel from the section of your first slab.
- Level out the mortar mix on a cleared gravel area.
- Tap the stepping stones down.
- Put mortar up and around the sides of the slab.
- Secure the line pins to connect a string line on the side of the two laid slabs.
- Place the remaining slabs in level with the string lines.
- Check the slabs and replace the gravel around them.
We enumerated above the most simple steps that you can grasp. But if you want to know them detail by detail, we encourage you to keep reading as we will discuss further on this topic.
8 Simple Steps In Laying The Stepping Stones On Gravel
Prepare the following tools and materials below before getting yourself sweaty.
- Stepping stones
- Line pins- you will need them for fastening the string lines.
- Shovel or a spade
- Grit sand or builder's sand
- Rubber hammer or wood-handled hammer
- Builder's line
- Spirit level or any straight-edged timber
- Portland cement
- Tape measure
1. Arrange the stepping stones in long steps
Decide on which direction you want your stepping stones path to be. Lay the stepping stones loosely on the ground to set a sample path. If you're going to keep an equal space between the stepping stones, you can measure its distance using the tape measure.
Check this Craftsman Tape Measure on Amazon.
The purpose of making this path is to walk from one place to another. It is advisable to use one stride rather than having an inconsistent distance. However, keep in mind that it is not just you who will use the stone slabs; other people such as the elderly and children may use them, too. So, it would be the best option to position the stepping stones closer to each other.
To improve the grip of the stepping stone slabs to the mortar, you can apply PVA glue to its reverse side. Using one will prevent the paving slab from loosening or sliding off the cement bed.
Check this Gorilla Glue on Amazon.
2. Pull out the gravel from the section of your first slab
After finishing the measurements and loosely laying the slabs, we highly suggest you begin the process with the first and the last stones on the path. Applying them first at both ends will aid you in achieving evenly installed stepping stones.
Begin the process by removing the gravel from the two stone slabs' location, then compress the area. You can use a metal tamper with this compressing step. However, if you don't have a metal tamper, you can use your feet as an alternative or any other tool that can help to compact it.
The importance of compacting the area is that it can solidify your paving and prevent the whole surface from sinking.
Check this Metal Tamper on Amazon.
3. Level out the mortar mix on a cleared gravel area
The third step will involve putting the cement or mortar mix into the cleared and compacted area using the shovel. Use a trowel to level out the cement mix to achieve a full and evenly distributed mortar bed for your slabs.
It would be best to put the stepping stones gently into the upper surface of the cement mix once you cover the entire area. Prepare a bit of mortar and the trowel on your side since you may need to add more or take away some to achieve the correct blend and finish.
After putting the stepping stones upon the mortar, gently and carefully fix it in the appropriate position with the measurement you did in step one.
4. Tap the stepping stones down
After setting the stone slabs in place, you will need to tap the surface down to level it up. Always try and make the slabs evenly positioned. Use the spirit level to even them out by tapping the surface.
You can use either a rubber mallet or a wood-handled hammer to tap down the stones. But the rubber mallet would be best to use. As much as possible, avoid tapping the edges of the stepping stones. If you accidentally tap its edges, it will result in continuous readjustments. So, keep in mind to tap just the center of the stepping stones.
Tapping the slabs down assists in spreading the mortar mix; although succeeding in the leveling process, you may need to fill up some gaps underneath the slabs.
5. Put mortar up and around the sides of the slab
It is now time to fill in some mortar mix around the sides of the stone slabs to secure them in place.
To make a small buttress and stop the slabs from slipping off the mortar, add no more than three quarters mortar mix from up the side of the slab. Once you finish, bring the level back on the slab to ensure that you don't have to tap it anymore.
6. Secure the line pins to connect a string line on the side of the two laid slabs
When both ends of the stepping stones are perfectly in place, you can begin positioning and installing the line pins and string lines for the rest of the path. Putting the string lines between the stones is the best way.
As much as possible, keep the line tight and in line with the stone slabs at both ends. You can hammer a metal line pin into the ground and ensure to lock the string lines to it.
Looking for a String Line? Check this out on Amazon!
7. Place the remaining slabs in level with the string lines
Once you finish putting the string lines correctly, you can place the remaining stepping stones in a row with it. Do the same process above for each.
After installing all the stepping stones in place, make sure again that they are all on the same level; use the spirit level for this step.
8. Check the slabs and replace the gravel around them
Lastly, after installing all the stepping stones properly, you will have to remove all the string lines and metal pins. And after it, replace the gravel around the slabs. Do this process as carefully as possible because the slabs still need 24 to 48 hours to dry thoroughly. You don't want to mess everything up for sure.
In addition, it would be best to secure the areas around the stepping stones you have just installed. It is to prevent anyone from stepping into them before they could even dry. You can use either tape or timber planks to secure the area. Keep in mind to wait at least 24 to 48 hours before taking off the timber planks and starting to walk on the surface.
Maintaining Your Stepping Stones
Are you finished achieving the stepping stones look you always wanted? Very well, let us share with you how to keep them appealing and make the most out of their advantages.
Regular Care and cleaning
Stepping stones don't need meticulous general cleaning, only minimal amounts. Although some circumstances may require additional cleaning and maintenance, your consistency with the minimal upkeeps will prevent the need for more care.
To avoid organic stains, sweep off the fallen leaves immediately. And if you see dirt on the surface of your stepping stones, it wouldn't hurt to hose them off for a few minutes.
The key to an appealing and well-maintained stepping stone is consistency.
Get Rid Of The Stains
Stains mean trouble. So, to get rid of them completely, follow these methods.
Food and Beverage Stains
If you don't want to do a complicated cleaning, rinse off the food or beverage stains immediately with water. Some stains will need liquid dish soap or detergent. You need to mix one of them with warm water and thoroughly brush the stains using a brush with soft bristles.
Grease or Oil Stains
If it is just a light oil stain, you can use liquid dish soap to remove it. Directly apply it to your stepping stones and let it sit for about 20 minutes, scrub it, and then rinse off with hot water.
However, if the stepping stone is heavily stained, you might need to buy a commercial cleaning solution or degreaser available at your local hardware store.
Check this Degreaser on Amazon.
Be Aware of the Products You Are Using
There are lots of cleaners available on the market today and are sold for different purposes. Nevertheless, use them appropriately; always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. As much as possible, avoid strong cleaning solutions such as muriatic and sulfuric acids since they are limited for professional use only.
Beautifying your garden or patios using stepping stones is a satisfactory idea since it doesn't require complicated steps but just hard work. Just like people, stepping stones also need care. And that means you should maintain them well to at least help them age like fine wine.
If you loved this post, you might want to check these articles, too!
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